In The Gospel and Race Part One I addressed why Christians should pursue racial harmony and understanding. God – the wise creator and redeemer of all mankind – has deemed it an essential element to His plan to reconcile all things broken by sin unto Himself. In Part Two I addressed how we might personally go about pursuing racial harmony and understanding. I gave 4 practical steps you can and should take in seeking genuine Christ centered unity with people of different races and cultures.
In closing I want to address what the local church can do to pursue racial harmony and unity for the glory of God. Before I delve into a list I want you to stop for a moment and think with me…
What if the demographic of our church reflected the demographic of our community? What if White, Black, Asian, Hispanic and other races could worship and serve together bound by the unity and love? What if God chose to bring healing in a community by using my church to reflect the grace of Jesus in our race relations? What if our staff wasn’t all white? What if our staff wasn’t all black? What if we didn’t expect tastes in music, fashion, food and entertainment to be homogenous? What if we pursued what is described in Ephesians 2 and 3?
What if? is a decent question. It makes you think. I think there is a better question though.
There are 100 excuses, rationalizations, explanations and reasons we can come up with to get ourselves off the hook. To keep blindly walking and not seeing the explicit call from God to be Christo-centered and not Ethno-centered. To keep the status quo. To blame someone else. To just chalk it up to the way it is.
But that’s not the way of the leader. That’s not the way of a people who believe in Resurrection. So man up. Woman up. Get courageous. Be brave and do something.
Here are 5 things you can do as a leader to lead your church or organization to pursue racial harmony to God’s glory.
1) Talk about it from the pulpit.
Preach the truth about racial equality in the family of God. Talk about injustice that exists and how our God loves justice. Be honest and vulnerable enough to address hard subjects. Call out the sinfulness of prejudice and racism.
2) Reach into the diverse parts of your community.
Where in your city are people different than they are in your pews? GO THERE. Love, serve, show mercy, befriend and put into action the call of God to all peoples. Adopt a school that is heavily populated with minorities and do more than give money and resources. Give people and time. Mentor and coach the children at those schools. If you’re located in a racially diverse community and are homogenous on Sunday morning – ask why? Find out what the challenges are and formulate a plan to address them. Instead of fleeing the community for more people like you – get out of your comfort zone and embrace those placed around you.
3) Engage the culture and arts of different people groups.
Consider how you might broaden the scope of your cultural horizons. Use music you may not particularly care for, but others love in corporate worship services. Don’t be so afraid of cranky white folks that you don’t let your youth group do a hip hop worship song. Be brave. Don’t limit your ministry to Christian entities. Get involved in community organizations that aren’t necessarily Christian.
4) Colorize your stage.
If all the leaders of your organization look a certain way – all the followers will to.
5) Educate yourself.
Talk with other leaders in your city, denomination or network who are experiencing and leading a multi-cultural church. Read books such as these:
What if? Why not do something?