Page 15 | Volume 1 | The Leadership Journal of Dallas Baptist University

15 the hope is to stir those in pastoral ministry to appropriate their homiletic influence for the purpose of leading their congregations toward a commitment to racial unity and equality.3 Though it has been five decades since the end of the Civil Rights Movement in America, challenges related to racism continue to persist, particularly the relationship between Black and White Americans.4 Remarkably, Black people have demonstrated incredible resilience. This is due, in part, to a strong sense of faith in God and a strong connection to the church. Scholars recognize that in the face of challenges stemming from racism, historically, the church in the Black community has been a haven of hope and source of fortitude for Black people.5 According to the literature, from every major era in Black American history from slavery to Civil Rights, the Black church emerged as the primary institution enabling Black people to maintain a sense of humanity and dignity amid severe oppression and deliberate dehumanization.6 At the helm of the Black church was the Black preacher. Authors such as Du Bois, Frazier, Raboteau and others confirm that, while formal authority over Blacks resided in White power structures, Black people conferred informal authority upon their own clergy.7 According to Costen, since the time of the “invisible church” the Black preacher was recognized by the community as the “leader, priest, pastor, and prophet for the community.”8 With a hermeneutical lens comprised of key biblical narratives highlighting God’s intimate involvement in human affairs, a high view of a suffering and victorious Savior, coupled with a lived experience, the Black preacher helped to develop an accessible theology that spoke clearly to the plight of Black people.9 Furthermore, over time, the Black preacher cultivated and employed a unique homiletic tradition that provided a conduit for communicating biblical and theological truth contextualized to the Black experience in America. The result was a preached word that not only produced in Black people a will to endure, but an unquenchable thirst for liberation. Gardner Calvin Taylor hailed from that tradition. This article draws attention to four aspects of Taylor’s preaching that contributed to his effectiveness as a leader in the work of racial unity LEARNING FROM THE PULPIT LEADERSHIP OF GARDNER CALVIN TAYLOR