Honoring the Black Church in America

Blessing of the Elders

Blessing of the Elders is an initiative of Museum of the Bible to honor the rich history of the Black church in America by telling the inspiring and faith-filled story of the remarkable impact it has had on our spiritual life and our culture. Finally, and most importantly, we desire to give honor where honor is overdue. 

This vision emerged from a discussion between several Black pastors and Jon Sharpe, Museum of the Bible’s chief relations officer, who has long believed that spiritual renewal for America could come through the Black church. However, this initiative could not take place without the strong and active participation of a steering committee of African American pastors and leaders who are driven by a love for the Bible and its impact on their lives and the lives of the people they pastor and lead. 

The steering committee’s vision statement for this initiative is: “We seek to honor Black pastors across the United States who have been committed to their call of preaching the gospel and caring for the souls of humankind. We acknowledge and appreciate their exceptional contribution as vitally important to the development of America’s biblical values.” 

Blessing of the Elders is comprised of three pillar initiatives:  

1.      February 24, 2022, Event: The event will feature a video montage of the legacy of the Black church in America, highlighting those whose legacy was foundational to America’s faith. In addition, there will be live music and preaching. In preparation, we are producing a “sizzle video” to share this vision and conducting nationwide outreach and meetings with denominational heads and pastors to build support for this vision throughout the country. You may pre-register for the event by clicking here.

2.      Proposal for Exhibits: This proposal is twofold. It includes a proposal to expand the exhibit on Museum of the Bible's Impact of the Bible Floor to tell the true and inspiring story of the history, narrative, and impact of the African American church, and it proposes to create a traveling exhibit to bring this story to cities across the country. 

3.      Proposal for a Feature Documentary/Movie: This proposal regards the creation of a film or a series of short films to be used in diverse ways. A feature-length film would be released in theaters, as well as media outlets and/or digital platforms, while shorter films or segments of the feature-length movie would be included in the expanded exhibit on the Impact Floor at the museum. This documentary will demonstrate the transformative power of the Bible, even in the face of human failure and pain.   


Call to Action

We invite you to be a part of Blessing of the Elders by supporting this vision and spreading the word among your churches and organizations. You are also invited to nominate a faithful elder to receive recognition at the multimedia event on February 24, 2022, at Museum of the Bible.


Meet the Steering Committee

The steering committee consists of Rev. A. R. Bernard Sr., Bishop Dale Bronner, Dr. Tony Evans, Tony Lowden, Jon Ponder, Dimas Salaberrios, James Ward, and Roland Warren. You can read more about them here. 



Elders nominated for recognition must be elder pastors or Christian leaders in accord with the steering committee’s vision described above. Elders who are chosen will be recognized and honored at the Blessing of the Elders event on February 24, 2022, at Museum of the Bible. Click here to nominate a pastor or leader.