A Pipeline for Diverse Leadership
The winds of change are blowing around us. During the past year, we’ve experienced racial unrest, political division, financial uncertainty, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The events of 2020 will continue to shape our world in the new year and beyond. But there are other changes happening as well — developments that are far less noisy but no less impactful. Among them are the racial and ethnic shift our nation is making toward a majority-less society.
In 2019, 40% of Americans identified as a race or ethnicity other than “white alone, not Hispanic or Latino,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That share will increase to more than 50% by 2044, the Census Bureau projects. Our nation is experiencing an increase in diversity that will continue to climb. This trend is reflected in the Assemblies of God USA, with non-white adherents making up 44% of our Fellowship.
How do we capitalize on this moment with proactive initiatives that glorify the Lord? As an African American leading a diverse congregation, I recognize the opportunity before us. But it’s not just an opportunity for some of us. It’s an opportunity for the entire Church to pursue Christ’s vision of preaching the good news to all nations (Mark 13:10).
Dr. Darnell K. Williams, Sr
Beginnings. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Darnell grew up in a single parent home. With an incredible support system, lots of determination, and the grace of God, he was able to push beyond the pains of his childhood and pursue God’s plan for his life. Dr. Darnell accepted Christ at sixteen years old and began ministry at nineteen.
—Rev. Charles E. Blake, Sr.
Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ International
“The relationship of the Church of God in Christ and the Assemblies of God reaches beyond 100 years ago. The story of the historic meeting in 1913 in Hot Springs, Arkansas is known to any leader of either denomination. However, in the years following 1913, the story of the Black churches and ministers within the Assemblies of God Church is not widely known. I look forward to learning more about the subject through this tremendous book by Bishop Darnell K. Williams. It is my pleasure to give this endorsement.”
“The ‘moment’ resulting from the George Floyd tragedy has reopened a long-standing wound in our nation. Anger, shrill rhetoric, and upheaval may be a predictable part of this season. However, a hope-filled way forward for the Assemblies of God has been provided by Dr. Darnell Williams. Biblical foundations, cultural acuity, and practical strategies are joined to yield path-ways for healing, reconciliation, and enduring empowerment for all God’s people. Wings to Rise is a gift to the Assemblies of God that can strengthen our efforts to represent Christ’s Kingdom rule in powerful and visible ways.”
—Rev. Dr. Byron D. Klaus
President, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (1999-2015)
—Dr. Don Brawley III
President, Influencers Global
“As a leadership strategist, I consult both ministry and marketplace leaders, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, and they too are wrestling with the very same question examined in this prophetic work—how do we create more space for diversity in leadership? While Dr. Williams has written a timely primer around blacks and leadership in the Assemblies of God, he may have inadvertently authored a must-read book for Christian leaders across denominations. He proves biblically why both space and pathways to leadership roles must be created for blacks for the sake of the gospel, the witness of the Church, and the winning of younger generations. Fortunately, Dr. Williams not only proves why but show us how to do so. Read this book, follow its principles, and generations from now your work will be remembered.”
“In this book, Dr. Darnell Williams has not only named the issues facing the Assemblies of God regarding race, but he has outlined specific steps that every pastor and district leader should embrace and implement immediately. If the strategies in this book are implemented throughout the AG USA, it will accelerate the healing of the wounds of racism that have hindered the full move of God within the fellowship.”r work will be remembered.”