Undivided: Your church and racial reconciliation

July 16, 2018

In a time of much division and hostility within our churches, the North American Mission Board has provided a free resource titled “Undivided” that aims to move congregations from low points of ignorance and struggle, to genuine gospel community. Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta and J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh and newly elected president of the SBC, come together to talk about division along party lines, poverty lines and, especially, racial lines.

“I think it is one of the tragedies of our nation, one of the shameful tragedies that 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours—if not the most segregated hours—in Christian America” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Unfortunately, little has changed in the more than five decades since Martin Luther King, Jr. made this statement. Our homes and our places of worship are still largely segregated. Is this merely a reflection of our context, or is it a reflection of our faith?

Race and reconciliation is a conversation that can be hostile and extremely polarizing. Emotions range from fear and frustration to fatigue and indifference—or even anger. But we are the Church, and God’s people are called to be peacemakers and ministers of reconciliation.

We should want to see God’s image bearers redeemed and God’s family united.
As we get started, we must all confess we come to the conversation with our prejudices and personal experiences with race, and God’s Word may not currently be the primary source shaping our view on race and reconciliation, but it should be, and it can be.

The gospel message has never ignored racial issues.
The greatest commandments compel us to love God and our neighbors, and the Great Commission compels us to share the gospel and build lasting relationships with other ethnicities. So this is bigger than a race issue—it’s a discipleship obstacle. John Piper said that “missions exists because worship doesn’t.” We can also say racial dysfunction exists where discipleship doesn’t.

Our vertical reconciliation to God should directly impact our horizontal relationship with one another.
The Church possesses the ability to demonstrate this unity, but we can only live this out by the power of the Holy Spirit and through discipleship.

Discipleship only happens in relationships.
If concerts, conferences and even church services don’t produce meaningful, discipling relationships, they’re just short-term experiences. The beauty of the gospel is not sameness, but oneness. God has called us to unity, not uniformity, and mutual discipleship produces this type of oneness.

Every nation, tribe, people and language exists in heaven.
Even in heaven, we see a multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural people united. This means we’ll eternally exist the way God created us ethnically and culturally. Just as on earth, we will not look the same in heaven; but, together, we will worship the same Savior and proclaim the same message. Ethnicity is valuable to Jesus on earth and in heaven, so it should be valuable to us on earth and in heaven. We should worship God now across various cultures, languages and ethnicities as a beautiful way of picturing and practicing how we will worship Him later with believers for eternity.

A community of people centered in the gospel enables the multiethnic body of Christ to weep, mourn, rejoice, laugh, play, eat, love, confess and repent together.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The content of this article was retrieved from the introductory session of the Undivided curriculum at the permission of the North American Mission Board. For more information and further study please visit NAMB.net/undivided.


by North American Mission Board 

People of the Book resource now available

We, Baptists, are known as people of the Book. What book is it? It is the Word of God, the Bible. What a wonderful nickname we have! By God’s grace, we have lived, and will continue to live, up to our nickname. Southern Baptists have been proactive in preaching the gospel and...

Is neglect stealing your joy?

“Pay Attention!” These are the words that stop us in our tracks — children, athletes, students and employees alike heed these infamous words. In the letter to the Hebrews, the author calls the recipients to “pay much closer attention to what [they had] heard” because they were in...

5 ways to serve guests this Easter

You probably have heard the fact that more guests attend church on Easter than any other Sunday of the year. There is a related fact that you may not have heard: More churches miss the opportunity to connect intentionally with guests on Easter than any other Sunday of the year....

3 ways to be a good neighbor

A few years ago, my family moved into a suburban neighborhood in central North Carolina. We loved the tree-lined streets, the warmth of the old homes and the idea that our kids would grow up in a picturesque neighborhood. However, the real reason we moved to our neighborhood was...

Easter offers opportunity to share hope of Christ

As we approach Easter and turn our thoughts and attention to the celebration of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, let us also remember that we have an incredible opportunity during this time of the year to share the love of Jesus with those who have not yet come to know...

12 traits of a disciple-maker

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples.” So to be obedient to the Great Commission, we need to ask ourselves a question — “During the disciple-making process, what traits should a disciple have?” Here are 12 traits of a growing disciple with accompanying...

How to equip teens and young adults for evangelism

The generation of teenagers and young adults we are trying to reach today is the most rapidly changing generation yet. It’s also the most tech-savvy generation to date, presenting to us a population that has never known a world without cell phones or digital media. Ministry...

5 key elements of effective disciple-making

The task of making and equipping disciples is the central task of the local church, and yet, we often rely on organic processes to make and equip disciples. An “organic process” in the local church is one that is undeveloped, lacks definition and has no true measures. Organic is...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the N.C. Baptist newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!