African American Leadership Conference

The purpose of the African American Leadership Conference (AALC) is to provide our African American students with a safe space to discuss different issues that are burdening their hearts and find biblical solutions to those issues including Black Lives Matter, police brutality, racism, etc. And in putting on this conference, the AALC's leadership believes the conference will point our minority students back to Christ and encourage them to step up and be leaders within their Chi Alpha community. The goal is to encourage students to not only live out 2 Corinthians 5:20 and become Christ Ambassadors, but also to take the charge in living out 2 Corinthians 1:4 as well where Paul says he believes that he suffers so that he can go out and comfort others with the way the Holy Spirit has comforted him. 


And in a time, where racial tension is amplified, we encourage other ethnicities to attend the conference as well because they may find that they identify with what African American students go through. We also challenge others to come to hear what their fellow African American brothers and sisters may be going through so that they may learn how to empathize with their struggles and further learn how to be a part of the solution to racial reconciliation within the body of Christ.



While the AALC began with the Great Lakes Chi Alpha back in December 2011, the first AALC for the Southeast Chi Alpha's took place two years ago on December 29, 2017. 


AALC's Theme for 2017: PERSPECTIVES

We wanted to encourage students to seek out God's perspective on how to handle the racial injustices in the world, and to understand God's perspective on the African American's place in the kingdom of God. #KingdomCulture



AALC's theme for 2018: EMBRACE

We wanted to encourage our students to embrace the truth about God, themselves, and others! 

AALC's theme for 2019: HANDCRAFTED

For this year's conference we want to create an atmosphere for students to come and realize their God-given identity and learn how to replace lies from the enemy with God’s truths.

Donate to help us put on this year's AALC Conference!! 

This year's conference is estimated to cost around  $5,500 to put on! Would you prayerfully consider giving a one-time donation today to help us put on this conference! 

You can write a check and mail it to me at the address seen below. Please include AALC on the memo line of your check.

Mary Lyons

6315 Linkside Trace

Riverdale, GA 30274


Or you can use a card to give via cash app. Just download the app and search for $MaryLyonsXA


Philosophy behind the African American Leadership Conference

Chi Alpha is a mission movement. This means that we go to university campus, get to know it, and create ministry strategies to enable us to make life-long disciples from the students we meet there. The AALC is an expression of our mission philosophy. It recognizes that there are students on our campuses with needs that require unique strategies to meet them. The philosophy behind the AALC is as follows:


Affirmation

Chi Alpha has, throughout most of its history been a ministry made up of predominately majority students (Caucasian/European descent), though there has been some change over the last 20 years or so. Unlike other national campus ministries, we have chosen an integrated approach to the question of how to reach ethnic minorities on our campuses. This does not mean that we do not recognize the struggle it is for many of these students to choose Chi Alpha over an ethnic specific ministry or group. For a minority student to join our ranks can sometimes put them in a difficult situation with other students of their same ethnic group. One of the primary purposes of the AALC is to affirm African American students who have chosen to join Chi Alpha by preparing a conference that meets their culturally-specific needs.




Mission Involvement

Historically African Americans have been underrepresented in both giving to missionary work and becoming missionaries themselves. It is difficult to bring about a change in this tradition from outside the culture. We must contextualize these important challenges in ways that will African Americans can embrace without feeling like they are abandoning their own culture.



Hospitality 

It is simple hospitality to ensure that the needs of everyone in a group are being met. The reality is that in not addressing both external (music style, art elements, and lingo) and internal needs, (deep heart issues, culturally specific concerns, etc.) we are often not showing hospitality to ethnic minority students groups in general and African American students specifically. While we should endeavor to address both these internal and external needs in our majority gatherings, the logistics of doing so thoroughly is simply not feasible.




Uniqueness 

The truth is that African Americans are a unique cultural group in our country with a unique history, the vast majority of which is so terrible and awful that many of us would rather not discuss it. It is this history of enslavement, oppression, disenfranchisement, and segregation that produces the “Is this segregation?” question from many. Yet, the gospel is good news for all people. It does not avoid ugly truths but confronts them with humility, love, repentance, forgiveness, and grace.



Empowerment

As the title of the AALC shows, another major focus of this event is raising up leaders. The name alone tells attendees of all ethnicities that Chi Alpha is committed to African American leadership: something with which the majority culture in the US is often not comfortable. In the Great Lakes we have worked at solidifying the leadership aspect of this event by making it increasingly more and more African American led, including an African American director and student leadership team.



Precedent

It is not a new thing for Chi Alpha to host and event for a specific culture for the reasons listed above. All Nations (previously called Christian International Student Conference) is one such example.


Elements of Successful AALC:


Indigenous Leadership

One goal of all mission’s efforts should be raising up leaders from within the culture group. This is especially true in this context were so much of what we don’t know…we don’t know. At first, this may prove challenging, but if this event becomes an annual gathering, indigenous leadership can be developed.

Culturally Specific Ministry

It is vital that everything from the music to the messages and everything in between be culturally specific and appropriate. In other words, both what is in the box (the real content of the conference) and the box itself (how things are done) should be culturally appropriate.  

Kingdom Minded and Culturally 

Relevant Speakers

Our goal with the AALC is to show that the kingdom of God is among us and that you don’t have to be or become a certain ethnicity to receive it. In order for that message to be truly communicated, it’s important that the speakers be people who live the kingdom within and through their culture. They must be able to address the hard issues with honesty, integrity, and a true gospel perspective. Their life experience needs to be relevant to the students that attend.

What Chi Alpha Leaders are Saying





"The AALC addresses some of the problems that African Americans face as students that SALT sometimes are not addressed among our students. It gives our African American students a sense of purpose and belonging in Chi Alpha. This conference gives African American students a sense of I'm a part of this movement too. 

Raydon Haskins, Terre Haute Chi Alpha

I really had no idea all the obstacles African Americans faced just because of their race. As a white American coming to the AALC my eyes were opened. There are many more situations of racism the African American community faces in restaurants, walking down the street and much more. I have a very diverse community of friends that are from all over the world. I have learned so much from them. I feel that the AALC allows an open atmosphere of all different ethnic backgrounds to share openly about their experiences and help others learn how to be more united. I really enjoyed AALC and I know it helps students to be able to learn more from one another. I specially feel the African American Community needs to be able to talk openly about what they face and the AALC allows this.

Jessica Sussex, Fort Wayne Chi Alpha

The AALC has been an informative conference that has challenged my thinking on different topics. I've learned how to handle the injustice in America a Godly way, I've learn how to be proud of who God has made me even if America doesn't see my culture as something to be proud of. Because of this knowledge I've been able to help my students who have had some of the same questions and wonders I had.

Devon Brown, Columbus State XA 

I think AALC is important because in most XA communities in the Southeast the black person's voice and their perspective isn't often heard or understood. I believe the AALC bring the black person's voice and their perspective into full focus. In attending the conference, the heart is to learn and grow together as brothers and sisters in bringing God's heart to an ethnic group of people who are marginalized in society at times. This isn't a conference which is geared at playing the blame game or to single out one ethnic group against another; but to see that God uses all people and elevates all people for His kingdom purposes. And because this is heart of AALC, I support it as a conference and it's purposes.

Khumbo Banda, Columbus State XA