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Dr. J. Owens Smith is a professor of Afro-Ethnic Studies and Political Science at California State University at Fullerton. He received his B.A. in Journalism at California State University at Los Angeles, and his MA and Ph.D. in political science at the University of Chicago.

His primary area of research is studying (1) why African Americans have not been able to escape the slums like other groups, and (2) what can be done to help them to escape the slums?

His secondary area of research is in the area of community development. Before the African Americans community can be developed, he argues, leaders must first focus on developing the individual personality in a way to stimulate community development. The institution that is best suited to carry out this function is the church. Dr. Smith argues that the Black churches can significantly contribute to community development simply by encouraging their congregations to embrace the principles of tithing and saving as a tool for both spiritual growth and development. The failure to adopt this principle, he argues, lies at the core of the deterioration of the African American community.

The task for the Black church in the 21st Century will be to focus on developing the whole person, i.e., addressing both the spiritual well-being and material well-being of their congregations. Unless both sides are addressed, the material well-being will cancel the efforts put forth to develop the congregation's spiritual well-being.

He conducts seminars and workshops to demonstrate to church leaders how to place their churches on a solid financial foundation by (1) converting their congregations into cheerful tithers and givers, (2) conducting capital stewardship programs, and (3) establishing partnership for the future.