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Church History

The mission of the church matters. Learn church history and to be encouraged by those who have walked before us.

Will Someone Be St. Valentine?

The the love of St. Valentine points us all to the love of Christ.

The warm and fuzzy feelings of Valentine’s Day are met with eager anticipation by some and skeptical eye rolls by others.

Romantic love steps into the spotlight in mid-February, but is that the type of love behind the holiday? A closer look at history reveals that romance has nothing to do with the man behind the hearts and chocolates. Rather, the love of St. Valentine points us all to the love of Christ.

Who was St. Valentine?

The origin of Valentine’s Day traces back to the historical figure St. Valentine. However, the legend of this saint more closely resembles Paul Bunyan than George Washington. From what we know about church history, there were two significant men named Valentine in the third century—a priest in Rome and a bishop in Terni, Italy—with miraculous stories attached to their names. Because of the passage of time, historians aren’t sure which events should be attributed to whom and tend to combine the two figures into one man.

Some sources say Valentine secretly married couples against imperial military policy. Others comment that he healed a blind woman in front of the imperial court, evidencing the power of the gospel to skeptical eyes. Regardless of what is true about the life of the Valentines, there is one historically reliable event historians agree that they share: each was executed for his faith under intense Roman persecution. All we can really know about Valentine is that he served as a Christian leader who gave his life for his faith. That story doesn’t make for a cute Valentine’s Day card.

So, why should we care about St. Valentine?

The celebration of Valentine’s Day that we know today didn’t begin until one thousand years after Valentine died. English poet Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned in his poem Parliament of Foules that birds choose their mate “halfway through the second month of the year.” Since that moment, Valentine’s Day has been associated with passionate courtship rather than remembering the life of a saint in service to Jesus.

But some of you may be thinking: “Why should we care about remembering saints from the past at all?” Looking to faithful men and women of the past who’ve followed Jesus can renew our love for God and inspire us to emulate their devotion.

Saints from church history are part of our “great cloud of witnesses” the author of Hebrews writes about in Hebrews 11 and 12. The example of Christians both present and historic should motivate us to action, saying, “Therefore . . . let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us . . . keeping our eyes on Jesus.”

So, consider Valentine. If all we can know with certainty about his life is that he was a faithful pastor under intense persecution, yet so committed to Jesus that he didn’t renounce his faith when threatened with death, that alone should be celebrated and emulated.

How can we emulate St. Valentine?

This Valentine’s Day, as we focus on romantic love through food, chocolate, or cards (no matter how cheesy they may be), let’s also model Valentine’s self-sacrificial love for God and others as a leader and a martyr for the faith. While we probably won’t be called to die for our faith, we are called to heed Jesus’s martyr-like words in Matthew 16:24–25: “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.”

Valentine’s Day should remind us that true love does exist—“No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

We would do well to emulate Valentine’s self-sacrificial love to others in a world desperate to see and know the love of Christ.


How I Got Over: The Resilience of the Black Church

If there is any entity in the United States that has exemplified what it means to remain resilient in the face of obstacles, it is the Black Church.

Many of us would agree that enduring in the face of trials is one of the pillars of our Christian faith.

Scripture repeatedly tells us that God walks with us through the fire—strengthening and refining us—as opposed to yanking us from it. And if there is any entity in the United States that has exemplified what it means to remain resilient in the face of obstacles, it is the Black Church.

Resilience means having the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty—the ability to spring back into shape. And over the past 400 years, Black people have found ways to not only recover from the ramifications of slavery but thrive and keep the faith. Recently, I watched the AND Campaign’s How I Got Over, a five-part documentary series on the history of the Black Church. They highlight how the Black Church has shown resilience through a long history of obstacles. Let’s look at three examples from their series of ways the Black Church has exemplified what it means to never give up on God.

Origins of the Black Church

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”—Booker T. Washington

The documentary discusses the founding of The Black Church and its many denominations. The Black Church at its conception began because of longstanding racism and segregation—even within Christian institutions. The first Black denomination (AME) was created because white Christians refused to worship alongside Black Christians. And instead of using their rejection as a reason to give up on God, Black Christians showed resilience by clinging to their convictions and pursuing him further.

It would have been easy for any of them to give up—to decide that choosing a different God or a different faith would be more liberating. But when they decided to form their own denominations to continue their worship, they not only displayed God’s impact in their lives, but also revealed a conviction in their hearts that kept them moving toward the cross instead of running from it. They created and sang Negro Spirituals. They formed new churches. They embraced the stories of deliverance, justice, and freedom found in Scripture.

They kept going.

The Public Witness of the Black Church

“When the Black Church at its best is the public face of the witness of love and justice, it will be targeted.” —Cornel West

In How I Got Over, we also learn about the significance of the Black Church in the civil rights movement and how Black leaders used their faith in Christ to influence the secular world. Justin Giboney says in this episode, “For Black Church leaders, the gospel was more than a call to action—it was the theme music of the civil rights movement.”

The civil rights movement not only depended on the Black Church but also made huge progress because of it. The church served as a launching pad for many leaders, groups, and rallies. Going to church wasn’t just for spiritual nourishment in this era—political meetings happened at church, resources were mobilized there, and rallies and marches set their meeting points at churches. In addition, Black clergy and church leaders were some of the first Black people to hold positions in government. Black preachers served as politicians, and Black Christians, like Fannie Lou Hamer, fought against voter suppression motivated by strong biblical convictions.

Even though the public witness of Black Christians sparked more obstacles—like the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama in 1963 and many others like it—they harnessed their righteous anger to remain resilient, which eventually resulted in successes like the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Black Christian leaders knew that there was no need to separate the message of the gospel from the fight for justice and equality because taking the gospel seriously and standing on authoritative, biblical ideals meant standing against oppression and racism.

Education and the Black Church

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

How I Got Over highlights a few of the different ways that the Black Church opened doors for educational opportunities in the Black community. I don’t know about you but I love school. And being a Black woman, I frequently find myself thanking God for the opportunity to learn from prestigious institutions because I know that it’s due to the determination of those who came before me. Education for Black people was illegal and dangerous for most of American history. And yet, despite being pushed out of opportunities left and right, they prevailed.

One of the main priorities that Black people pursued after emancipation was their education. And during this time, the Black Church provided opportunities for the Black community to learn in a safe and familiar environment. Over time, they were able to advance through the educational system and take advantage of vocational schools, colleges, and graduate schools.

Black people had the determination to take back their dignity and become educated members of society. They used the forced segregation from schools and educational systems to their advantage, creating and funding their own schools, universities, and carving out ways to educate themselves and prove those in power wrong.

All in all, the Black Church has contributed to the faith in many ways, but more than anything, the Black Church is an example of resilience despite the odds set against it. As believers, we know that God has called us to endure, and for the Black Church, endurance is at the foundation of its existence and the reason why it continues to thrive.

As we celebrate Black History Month, consider watching The AND Campaign’s How I Got Over, a documentary exploring the history and resilience of the Black Church and the impact it’s made in the public square and the education system. The series has five episodes full of information, history, and inspiring stories. You can also click here to learn more about the AND Campaign.

The Christian Calendar

Over the centuries, the church developed a year-long pattern of celebrating touchstone moments in our faith.

Birthday gifts.

Anniversary dinners.

Graduation parties.

Christmas gatherings.

Independence Day fireworks.

We love celebrating past victories and significant moments. The church is no different.

Over the centuries, the church developed a year-long pattern of celebrating touchstone moments in our faith. Many churches follow this liturgical calendar in their Sunday worship.

What Is the Christian Calendar?

The church calendar is a yearly cycle that starts in late November or early December and follows the life of Jesus, celebrating his resurrection in spring, and remembering the lives of saints for the remainder of the year. Three major holy days circle the season of Christ’s Incarnation and three occur during the Resurrection season, while Ordinary Time marks the other six months with regular Feast Days.

The Season of Incarnation


The church year begins with Advent, celebrated during the four Sundays leading up to December 25. During Advent, the church spends time reflecting on the birth of Jesus and his promised return. We acknowledge that we live in a world full of pain and confusion and that we are waiting for him to make all things new. It is a time of anticipation waiting for Christ’s return and the fulfillment of his kingdom.


Also known as the Incarnation, Christmas celebrates when God became a vulnerable baby, marking a seismic shift in the cosmos. God. Became. A human being. Pause and reflect on that glorious truth. As the hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem” goes: “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. For Christ is born of Mary . . .” But, unlike our cultural celebration, Christmas Day is only the start of the Christmas celebration on the church calendar. The celebration continues through the new year and, for the western church, up to January 6.


The season of Epiphany begins on January 6, the Day of Epiphany, at the end of the traditional twelve days of Christmas. Epiphany means “manifestation” and refers to Jesus being made known to Gentiles—first privately to the three Magi who traveled to find him after his birth, then publicly through his baptism and first miracle. The season “has a narrative arc beginning with the Magi and ending with the Transfiguration. The overall emphasis is the manifestation (showing forth) of the glory of Jesus Christ,” says Rev. Fleming Rutledge, Episcopal priest and author. Our Bible readings progress through the childhood of Jesus into his early days of ministry.

The Season of Resurrection


Forty days before Easter, the church inaugurates the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday, a holy day on which believers are encouraged to fast and pray. Lent is traditionally a time of self-denial and repentance, with churches swathed in dark colors. Special church services are held where ashes are smudged on the hands or foreheads of attendees. The traditional phrase pastors speak over congregations is, “From dust you came, to dust you will return,” though some offer an urgent “Believe the gospel!”


The pinnacle of the church year celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the one who defeated death and brings hope to all who call him Lord. He is risen! we tell one another. He is risen, indeed! we respond.

The Easter season lasts fifty days, as we follow Jesus's post-resurrection life to his Ascension forty days later and end with the feast of Pentecost.


Pentecost celebrates the new body of Christ, his church sent and empowered to share his love with the world, and falls fifty days after Easter. On this day, we celebrate him sending his Holy Spirit to indwell, fill, and empower his disciples. Churches focus on texts that highlight the Spirit and decorate their sanctuaries in red and white, symbolizing “the tongues like flames of fire” through which the Spirit descended upon the disciples (Acts 2:1–4).

The Season of Ordinary Time

The first half of the church year focuses on Christ while the rest of the year broadens its scope to the entire family of God. Ordinary Time focuses on the lives of biblical characters, telling us that our daily, ordinary lives matter to God and should matter to us as well.

Major Feast Days

Each day of the year is a feast day dedicated to the memory of a particular saint whose life offers us inspiration. Feast days tend to memorialize martyrs on the day of their death, which early Christians considered to be graduation from life to life. The feasts of Patrick and Valentine remain cultural touchstones even today.

Why Observe the Christian Calendar?

For those who worship in non-liturgical churches, consider some benefits you could gain from observing the church calendar. You don’t have to become fully liturgical, but you may end up adding a few elements common to other denominations to your habit of worship. So, why should you bother?

We reorient our view of the world.

The church calendar helps us to see the world through the life of Jesus our King. We live in an era where political messiahs come and go. One way to de-emphasize the politics of people is to proclaim the politics of heaven.

It offers a comprehensive exposure to the life of Christ.

We need to walk through Jesus’s whole life and emphasize different events so that God’s people can know the whole story. Easter is not complete without an Ascension Sunday. Celebrating the church calendar helps us understand the total Christ and his total life.

It is a tool for discipling children.

The church calendar gives parents, grandparents, and teachers beautiful ways to catechize, or teach, children about Jesus. It offers a structured way for kids to learn about the life of Christ, the hope of his second coming, and the rhythms of expecting what comes next in the Christian life.

It is a tool for discipling adults.

The church calendar helps us grow in our understanding of significant doctrines. Regularly remembering God’s work through Christ and other Christians will encourage us in our own faith.

It is a tool for evangelism.

Our neighbors and friends will see us giving something up for Lent or regularly attending church and they will ask, “Why?” Each feast day or new season gives us an opportunity to talk about Jesus and why he matters so much to us. And sharing those regular observances reminds us that we are part of something larger than ourselves. We love and follow a God bigger than the troubles of this world. That’s good news for us—and our neighbors.


St. Patrick: The Myth and the Man

What can modern Christians learn from St. Patrick?

Saint Patrick—the cheerful bearer of shamrocks and chaser of snakes—is America’s favorite, and quite possibly only, Irish saint.

From Chicago to New York to New Orleans, and in dozens more cities across the country, Irish Americans and those happy to pretend they are flock to parade routes to enjoy the annual exception to the church’s Lenten fast—St. Paddy’s Day.

Patrick himself would likely be somewhat mystified at the legend that has sprung up around his memory. He wasn’t even Irish. Born in Britain around 387, he was sixteen when he was stolen and enslaved by Irish marauders. While working for his master herding sheep, Patrick was drawn back to the faith of his family—his father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest—and became a devoted follower of God. He wrote in his Confession, “More and more the love of God increased, and my sense of awe before God. Faith grew, and my spirit was moved . . .”

Patrick credited God with coming to him in a dream to point him to a ship that would enable his return home. Though the coast was two hundred miles away, he traveled to the port and found a ship ready to take him. When they arrived in Britain only three days later, they embarked on a twenty-eight-day journey by land. They grew hungry as their food ran out, and the sailors turned on Patrick: “What about this, Christian? You tell us that your God is great and all-powerful—why can’t you pray for us, since we’re in a bad state with hunger?” Patrick answered by proclaiming God’s ability to provide, and a herd of pigs walked across their path.

St. Patrick’s Calling

Back in Britain, Patrick was reunited with his family and began his studies anew. Sometime later (records are sketchy—we don’t know how much later), he dreamed that a man brought him letters from Ireland, in which the people he had left “called out as it were with one voice: ‘We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us.’” From then on, he determined to return to Ireland to share the gospel of Christ with them.

His parents and friends, however, opposed his plan to return to Ireland. “Why does he put himself in danger among hostile people who do not know God?” they wondered. Patrick understood that they feared for him and wondered himself how qualified he could be. “I was just an unlearned country person,” he admitted.

But his call from God proved greater than family pressure, insecurity, and lack of training.

When the time was right, he returned to Ireland where he spent the rest of his life. He wrote, “I testify in truth and in great joy of heart before God and his holy angels that I never had any other reason for returning to that nation from which I had earlier escaped, except the gospel and God’s promises.”

Shamrocks and Snakes

The feeding of the sailors during Patrick’s return to England is the only miracle-turned-legend based on his own words. We learn this story straight from his pen. So where did the idea originate that Patrick used shamrocks, the common three-leaf clover, to illustrate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to local pagans? We don’t know who started that rumor, but we do know that Patrick was profoundly shaped by his trinitarian faith. In his Confession, he wrote:

There is no other God, nor will there ever be, nor was there ever, except God the Father . . . And his son, Jesus Christ . . . Let every tongue confess that Jesus Christ, in whom we believe and whom we await to come back to us in the near future, is Lord and God . . . He has generously poured on us the Holy Spirit, the gift and promise of immortality . . . This is the one we acknowledge and adore—one God in a Trinity of the sacred name.

And those snakes? Ireland has never had snakes—yet another reason we love the Emerald Isle—but they were sacred to the local Druids. The closest explanation for the legend we can get is to see it as an allegory: When Patrick brought faith in Christ, he drove out the Druids and their pagan influence.

St. Patrick’s Legacy

For decades, Patrick taught the pagan peoples of Ireland about the one true God. In the two documents still in existence written by his hand, we discover a humble man who remained grateful for God’s grace in his life. He was resilient, standing firm amid suffering, adversity, false accusations, betrayals, and more. Strengthened by his robust trust in God, Patrick the pastor loved his flock loyally. Writing his Confession late in life, he addressed a wide audience:

You all know, and God knows, how I have lived among you since my youth, in true faith and in sincerity of heart. Towards the pagan people too among whom I live, I have lived in good faith, and will continue to do so . . . I have cast myself into the hands of almighty God, who is the ruler of all places.

Patrick died March 17, 461. Saints of the church are historically celebrated on the anniversary of their death, rather than their birth, an acknowledgment that death was the “birthday” of their eternal life. Patrick graduated from life to life.

As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, let’s remember the man behind the myth, a humble and caring pastor whose faith in God and love for people impacted a nation for generations.

*All quotes are taken from Saint Patrick’s Confession.

Questions for Reflection:
  • How well do you know God? What’s stopping you from diving into the Bible to better learn about the immensity of his majesty and the power of his sacrificial love?
  • What kinds of obstacles have you faced in your quest to obey God’s call on your life? How can Patrick’s example inspire you to persevere?


Lift Every Voice: Why We Need the Black Church

Due to our history of racism, longstanding segregation, and cultural differences, there are many misconceptions surrounding the Black church.

While in seminary, I remember a young woman telling our theology professor why she felt confused about the existence of the Black church and how she didn’t understand why every church in America wasn’t diverse if we’re all supposed to believe in unity. As the only Black woman in the room, I waited to see if anyone would answer her. When no one did, not only did I feel misunderstood, but I also felt frustrated that I was the only one able to provide her with an answer.

Like the woman in my class, many people outside the Black community often misunderstand it. Some hear the term “Black church” and only think of a building filled with Black people. They raise questions about why we even need a Black church or wonder why Black churches aren’t considered problematic. We’re all supposed to be one, right?

Due to our history of racism, longstanding segregation, and cultural differences, there are many misconceptions surrounding the Black church, which ultimately cause further division among Black and white Christians.

It is possible and necessary for us to be unified, but we have to start by understanding each other.

For those outside the Black church, seeking a proper understanding of the full scope of Christian history and listening to Black voices is a great place to start.

What is the Black church?

The Black church was born out of racism and segregation. Its existence solidified in Philadelphia during the 1700s when Black Christians Absalom Jones and Richard Allen were prevented from worshipping with other members of a predominantly white congregation. In response, Allen formed the first fully independent Black denomination called the African Methodist Episcopal (or AME) Church.

Freestanding Black churches were built as segregation in the United States continued, and many historically Black churches are still in operation. When we use the term “Black Church” today, we can apply it broadly to not only the historically Black denominations like the AME, CME, and COGIC churches, but to any Christian denomination that reflects the traditions and history of the African American experience.

As much as the Black church is rooted in history, it’s also deeply cultural. As Black church communities came together, they became places of refuge. Places of simultaneous freedom and privacy. The church made a way for Black people to raise money, fight for equality together, support Black businesses, and put children through school. The Black church helped Black people not only survive through life, but experience life.

Black Christians maintained a sub-culture that was partially expressed in their church experience. This is what makes the Black church so unique and beautiful—it’s filled with its own traditions, stories, music, and preaching styles that you won’t find anywhere else.

The Black church, therefore, is not merely a religious institution, but its own entity. A culture all on its own with historical roots. It is a lesson in how racism has long-lasting consequences and serves as a reflection of life in the Black community over the course of hundreds of years.

Why We Need Black Voices

Author and historian Tiffany Gill says the Black church is one of the strongest apologetics for the power and faithfulness of the true gospel. It has survived against all odds and remained a beacon of hope for millions of people. But, the forced segregation of Black people within the Christian faith has cut us off from important Black voices. And because of this history, the voices, teachings, and leadership of white theologians have been the preferred voices of authority within our faith.

But if Christianity consists of all nations, tribes, and tongues, then white voices cannot be the standard or sole perspective for Christianity.

Who better to turn to for a theology of survival, lament, or joy in the midst of sorrow than the Black preacher? What better example of faithful endurance than those who were oppressed for centuries? How much more should we appreciate the Black church and its example of how to remain steadfast in your Christ-given identity despite the constant tearing down of your physical identity?

If we believe that God has unified us, making us all equally valuable, then we have to remain diligent in highlighting the ways that African men and women have largely shaped our theological orthodoxy and intentionally emphasize Black teachers in our books, papers, and media platforms.

So, what should we do?

Black church history is a part of Christian history. We all share the same faith and, therefore, should know and learn from the full story of how the church has experienced Christian living throughout the centuries. My hope is that one day, Black Christians will not have to carry the burden of informing others why there’s a Black church by themselves.

So in the pursuit of highlighting, listening to, and learning from the Black church and Black voices, start by recommending Black pastors, preachers, and theologians when friends or congregations ask for resources on any topic—not just race relations. Be intentional about reading books written by Black authors. Pray that God would make the pursuit of racial reconciliation evident not just in our lifestyles, but in who we listen to. Ask for grace as you check for prejudices when you naturally trust white voices over Black ones.

In your own personal study, listen to teaching from Black voices on RightNow Media, like . . .

The consequences of racism and segregation don’t have to define us—we can learn how to simultaneously appreciate what the Black church has done and collectively mourn the reason for its existence. And we can trust that understanding each other can come once we take the uncomfortable step of not choosing what is comfortable.


The RightNow Media Story

RightNow Media exists to work with the global church to inspire people to love others before self and Christ above all.

Before RightNow Media was an international organization with hundreds of employees, it was a father-son team filming documentaries in remote locations about the work of Christian missionaries. While much has changed over the past few decades, our motivation has stayed the same: we exist to work with the global church to inspire people to love others before self and Christ above all.

Where Our Story Begins

RightNow Media began as Priority One International. In 1977, our founder and his son began filming documentaries of Christian missionaries around the world, bringing them back to the U.S. to share with local churches. Over time, the ministry transitioned to producing small group video curriculum. As the demand for small group curriculum and church resources grew, Priority One began a new chapter as BluefishTV.


In 2009, our ministry became RightNow Media. And two years later, the Beta version of the RightNow Media online streaming platform was launched to serve church leaders and equip congregations. 

Our Present Story

Today, RightNow Media serves the global Christian church with a mission to provide high-quality, Bible-based video content for the purpose of discipling people on their faith journey. To show you how this is happening at RightNow Media, we want to tell you about three important parts of our ministry: our content, our platform, and our team

Our Content

The RightNow Media online video streaming library serves more than 30,000 organizations—churches, schools, and businesses—with more than 3,900 video series in our library. Here are key ways we've grown since the early days of RightNow Media:

  • The RightNow Media library has built our library from less than one thousand video series in 2011 to more than 3,900 video series—over 25,000 individual videos—today.
  • In the early 2010s, RightNow Media produced an average of 8 original video Bible studies per year. Today, RightNow Media produces more than 75 original video Bible studies each year worldwide.
  • In addition to original productions, RightNow Media licenses more than 200 new video Bible studies each year from various Christian publishers.


We are working to grow and diversify our content to serve as many people as possible. Some of our recent releases include The Book of Job with Francis Chan, The Cost of Control with Sharon Hodde Miller, The Book of Nehemiah with Eric Mason, and a new season of our original kids’ show, The Creators. Explore the RightNow Media Library to see more video content from trusted Christian pastors and leaders.

Our Platform

At RightNow Media, we exist first and foremost to serve church leaders and disciple congregations. As technology and trends progress, we want our offerings to stay relevant so we can reach as many people as possible. Over the past several years, we have significantly increased our investment in our app, adding new features like:

  • Virtual Groups for families and small groups to watch and discuss studies remotely.
  • Language options for the app and video content.
  • Downloadable videos to watch content on an airplane or in other out-of-service areas.
  • Audio-only mode so you can listen to content while driving or exercising.

We’re always working to improve our platform, so be on the lookout for new features! You can learn more about our current platform features here

Our Team

The RightNow Media team is a diverse and dedicated group of people who share one core belief: the mission of the church matters.  

  • Our U.S. team has grown from 80 people to more than 180 over the past 10 years. This growth includes 26 content team members responsible for creating Bible studies and 24 software team members responsible for developing our apps.
  • Team members are dedicated to our international partnerships and to our video library for businesses, RightNow Media @ Work.
  • We also have team members hard at work on our annual RightNow Conference—an experience created to equip and inspire pastors and church leaders. 

We’re so grateful for the hardworking, kingdom-minded people behind RightNow Media. You can learn more about our team here. (Or, consider joining our team here.)

Our Story Continues

Our passion to serve the church extends across the globe. In 2018, we began investing significant resources to reach and serve churches around the world. Today, RightNow Media has partners working on the ground in Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the United Kingdom, India, South Korea, and Brazil.

In addition to localized versions of RightNow Media’s current content library, these international teams produce their own RightNow Media Originals. Churches in nearly 100 countries are now using RightNow Media, and we pray that number continues to grow so more people can hear the truth of the gospel. 

In the U.S., we’re focused on making RightNow Media more accessible through our partnerships with local African American, Spanish-speaking, and Chinese churches. We’ve learned so much from collaborating with new speakers, partnering with church associations, and listening to stories from the pastors in these communities.

RightNow Media as we know it today is truly a worldwide team effort. We’ve seen God guide us throughout every step of RightNow Media’s journey, and the current state of our ministry can only be attributed to God’s power, guidance, and goodness. 

We’ve loved hearing the countless testimonies of how God is using RightNow Media in your churches, schools, businesses, homes, and beyond. Thank you for being part of the RightNow Media story. 

Black History Month

As believers, Black History Month is a time to promote God’s heart for reconciliation, unity, and treating all people with dignity.

Every February, we are reminded of the influence that Black Americans have had on our nation’s history through the celebration of Black History Month.

This month is not only a time to learn about what Black people have contributed to this nation through art, culture, politics, and inventions, but how we have been able to accomplish so much and remain resilient, considering that the grim reality of slavery defined our origin story in the United States and Caribbean. As believers, this month can be especially beneficial as a time to promote God’s heart for reconciliation, unity, and treating people as the dignity-filled image bearers that they are.

We’ve all heard the names of some of the more prominent figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Harriet Tubman. But to truly celebrate Black History Month means commemorating the heroic efforts of a man named Carter G. Woodson who is known as the father of Black history—and the eventual creator of Black History Month.

Woodson’s story is unique in that it mirrors the collective African American experience. He overcame his own set of difficulties that could have left him stagnant and hopeless but pushed through those hardships and made a huge impact on the world. Born in 1875 to enslaved and illiterate parents in Virginia, he grew up autodidactic since he couldn’t attend primary school regularly. 

Despite being poor and lacking consistent schooling as a young boy, Woodson earned a bachelor’s degree, became the second Black person in history to earn a doctorate from Harvard University, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and wrote numerous books and publications. 

Early on in his career, he soon realized that the contributions of African Americans were being seriously overlooked, and it showed in the active suppression of their accomplishments in school textbooks and other media outlets. This realization was soon solidified after he was rejected from attending any of the American Historical Association conferences because he was Black—even though he was a faithful, due-paying member of the organization. This frustration fueled him to dedicate his time to doing historical research and collecting thousands of African American artifacts and publications. Then, in 1926 his idea for Negro History Week was born. 

Woodson’s goal was to showcase Black contributions, and he launched what he called Negro History Week (which later became Black History Month) for every second week of February. He summed up the purpose of the week this way:

It is not so much a Negro History Week as it is a History Week. We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in History. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hatred and religious prejudice.

Woodson’s idea to put Black accomplishments on display would soon expand, becoming an annual observance for the entire month of February in the United States. 

With the racial tensions we’re still dealing with today, many people have often asked why we need a Black history month, saying that it keeps us locked in the past and fuels more division when we should be trying to unite. But for Black people, there is no celebration of the present or the future without acknowledging the past. Our desire and ability to celebrate each other is not only about uplifting our dignity but about encouraging each other through the advancements we’ve made. 

When we look back on our nation’s history, we’re brought face to face with the reality that the church has had many opportunities to fight against racism but, unfortunately, has not been seen as the champion of anti-racism that it should have been. But today, the church can use Black History Month to lift its voice against the sin of racism and toward the unique livelihoods of Black lives. The church can use this month to promote Black dignity and accomplishment and to remind the world that, even through an awful history, Black people have always been made in the image of God.

Black History Month is a time to celebrate every triumph that Black people have made despite our horrid origins in the United States. Even while being stripped of our unique African and indigenous cultures, languages, families, and dignity, Black people have made a unique and significant mark on our nation’s history. With Black History Month, we have a concentrated time to reflect on pioneers of the past and current history-makers. Let’s continue to remember the past so that we can continue to influence the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can pursue racial unity in your community, check out Oneness Embraced with Dr. Tony Evans.

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