Godhead leadership (Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost) being Christ-like is what Christendom is all about. Thank God, as Christians, we do not have to ask the question that was asked by the Scribe: “Which is the first commandment of all?” “And Jesus answered him, the first of all commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strengthen: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31). Without a doubt, this is the only way Christians can help build the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven (The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6: 9-13). Kingdom building is about making God the center of one’s life, loving and serving each other, in Jesus’s name, and to God be the glory.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and pastoral leaders are called to be good under-shepherds, men of valor, moral character, and intellectual integrity. But, above all, men who know how to love, serve, protect and feed the flock with the unadulterated Word of God (2 Peter 3:18). Men of valor have been sanctified in the Truth of God; therefore, Lord “help” pastoral leaders to grow in grace, and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17). Therefore, if any man is determined to be Godly who can stop him, because: “What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8: 31). I personally know a pastoral leader who was determined to be Godly: Dr. William Phillip Diggs of Florence, South Carolina. Dr. Diggs taught me introductory sociology for two semesters at Friendship College, and was the inspirational “spirit” of the Friendship Nine (Rock Hill, South Carolina Civil Rights Leaders: 1961). The Friendship Nine was nine college students during the Civil Rights Movement who chose to remain in jail rather than post bail after a sit-in demonstration at McCrory’s restaurant in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Dr. Diggs through his college experiences in Atlanta, Georgia at Morehouse College and Atlanta University met and married the effervescent, delightful, charming, and congenial Clotilda Daniels a powerful woman of God. Without a doubt, Godly men know; especially pastoral leaders that: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” (Proverbs 18: 22). To this matrimonial union was born two godly children William Phillip Jr., and Mary Lynne.
Recently, my wife and I visited Dr. Diggs and his family in Florence, South Carolina, and discovered that God plus William Phillip Diggs, equals success in Jesus’s name, and the glory belongs to God. Here’s what my wife and I witnessed: A congregation with approximately 800 individuals on the church rolls, no congregational confusion, and approximately 300 in attendance each Sunday: Gideon’s Three Hundred (The Lord’s Three Hundred). We all know; especially Christians, and pastoral leaders: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Under the pastoral leader of Dr. Diggs, Trinity Baptist Church owns an entire city block, no financial debts, cash assets that exceeds several millions of dollars for benevolence and mission work, and a church-owned credit union with millions of dollars that was established in 1978 for church members (people of God), and their relatives, which provides them with low interest rate loans on home mortgages and cars. Now that is a blessing!
Dr. Diggs recently retired after fifty years of under-shepherding Trinity Baptist Church, and the power of the following scripture was the cornerstone principle of his leadership: “Verily, verily I say unto to you. He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5: 24). Pastoral leaders, a word to the wise is sufficient: “Let the Church Be the Church”, and God will be glorified, the name Jesus will be lifted-up above all names, and the Christian church will be the light of the world. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2: 5-6).
It was spiritually refreshing to see at least one pastoral leader keeping faith with the historic tradition of church and community working together to improve socio-economic conditions in a local community. The Black community needs more pastoral leaders like Dr. Diggs who make a real difference in the lives of families, because we all know, that Christianity is a central feature of the Black experience in American society. In the past, the Black church served as the mainstay and the center of all community development; especially the Baptist church. Unfortunately, in the twenty-first century seemingly this is no longer the case. The question is what happened? When did the socio-economic paradigm change? Did Blacks become too obsessed with “VANITY”, spiritually confused concerning the things of this world, and immorally intoxicated with the pleasure principle (drinking the world’s Kool Aid)? But, more importantly, Blacks abandoned the “Spiritual Moral Order” of God, and forgot to: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5: 8-9).
Simply put, godly pastoral leadership breed’s godly followership, because a godly under-shepherd knows how to shepherd God’s people in the midst of suffering (redemptive suffering): Trials and tribulations. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6). Therefore, in truth render under Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and unto God that which belongs to God. Just a reminder to all; you belong to God: “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20). Selah!