The trend towards the prosperity ministries is running up against a global economic crisis, with African-Americans in the crosshairs of the difficulties.
In thriving exurbs, megachurches implicitly linked the new homes and cars of their members to their fealty to the congregation.
Obviously, there is a line between faith and huckersterism. Whether churches crossed that line or not, all congregations in the black community have to deal with the loss of $100 billion in family wealth, as noted in the current blackmoney.com.
Despite the images of teleevangelists, most black churches were just getting by, through the stewardship of their members.
That slim margin between the needs of their parishioners and the contributions now is squeezed by growing needs and declining receipts.
Churches which have borrowed heavily for building projects or other reasons are in the most distress.
Congregations which have wisely created endowments or reserves are those which have learned the lessons of the black experience.
The struggle of overcoming a society hostile to our existence causes them to temper hope with a healthy skepticism.
Although the nation has elected a black president, we have not yet overcome. In fact, this historic event is occurring at the same time as the most devastating economic crisis of the past 50 years for African-Americans.
Yet, the black church is rich is faith, wealthy in resilience and overflowing with demand for its services. Buildings might be foreclosed on, or sold. Pastors might have to downsize their vehicles.
But the institution shall meet this challenge, just as it has adjusted to dramatic change in the past.
The congregations which study the successful models of the past, such as cooperative training, empowerment and sustainment, will be best positioned for the future.