NEIF…Who are You?

Wanda OutlawWhen I started NE Imani Fellowship (NEIF) the development of it came from my spiritual and religious experiences. I started out as a Roman Catholic and then went into the African-American Catholic Congregation which is a Catholic alternative to the Christian Faith; spending 25 years in this move of God. My pastor told his clergy to “start something…do something” so under God, with my pastor’s encouragement, I started NE Imani Fellowship, a non-denominational environment, fellowship, church; ultimately a place where you come to learn the word so that you become the word in your everyday living.

Religion is man-made. I believe that God gave man and woman the genius to create religion in order to lead people back to God. Unfortunately man/woman have bastardized religion, some using it for their own gain. The sense of community, working together, has been lost in some cases. In the Acts of the Apostles, Paul was all about community, each one helping the other and learning about the works of Jesus. There is more to our existence than calling on the name of Jesus rather we are to walk the walk and talk the talk of Jesus.

NEIF is more concerned with showing people Jesus in our giving, loving, laughing; it is about having compassion for one another. We hear ministers say, “God looks beyond our faults and sees our needs”, we are to do the same for one another. There are too many young adults who have turned away from the church because of the hypocrisy that they witness. They are bashed for their clothes, their styles, and their choices. It is our responsibility to bring them into the church community and love them up teaching them the true word of God; not the word as taught by those who are fearful of life but by those who embrace the trust of being in relationship with our Lord. Jesus did not bash anyone but he did teach all who would listen that we are one with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. There is so much in the bible that has not been taught because it makes some uncomfortable and it actually takes us to a higher responsibility as spiritual beings. Too many rely on their natural sight versus their spiritual sight. The supernatural realm is more real than the natural realm of existence. It is the supernatural realm that guides us to be holy.

I wonder how many people know that the followers of the “Way”, the Jesus followers, did not hold up the cross as a banner because it was a tool of pain and hate. When the followers were going to their meetings to talk about the teachings of Jesus they drew along the trail, in the sand, the picture of a fish so that the meeting places could be found. Remember Jesus said that he would make them fishers of men? Most Christians would choke reading this because for them, it is all about the cross. Yes, Jesus died on the cross for ALL, regardless of race, creed, color, gender, age; he shed serious blood on Mount Calvary and died a horrific death just for us, but we negate the power in the resurrection preferring to stop at the cross. Have you ever seen the pictures of men and women hanging from a tree with a noose around their necks? How come we do not glorify the noose? It reminds us of injustice, terror, and pain; the cross is the same thing to those who followed Christ.

NEIF is a ministry that shows the love of Jesus, his sacrificial act as well as the power in the resurrection. We want the downtrodden to know that they too can resurrect from their pain and the terror they face daily. NEIF wants to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give care and compassion to those in need.

We can have religious and theological duals day in and day out or we can go out and serve the least of these just like Jesus taught us to. This is the core of NE Imani Fellowship.