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 

Celebrate ‘God’s Great Work’

It’s hard to believe, but this year’s annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) is only three months away. Planning for this year’s meeting has actually been going on for many months as a group of North Carolina Baptists who make up our Committee on...

Is your Christianity compelling or cliche?

I grew up in a traditional Southern Baptist church. I “walked the aisle” at the age of eight, prayed a prayer asking Jesus into my heart and was baptized shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, I lived a degenerate rather than regenerate lifestyle for the next 16 years. At the age of 24, I was newly...

3 Circles: A guide for a five-touch, follow-up discovery Bible study with unbelievers

In Acts 17, Paul communicates the gospel in a contextually appropriate way and the response is pretty typical: some mock, some believe and join with other disciples, and some want to hear more (Acts 17:32-34). My experience has been that many fruitful disciples come from this...

Coming soon: ‘Who’s Your One?’ tour

During this year’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., former SBC President Johnny Hunt shared a statistic that caught my attention. Hunt said that if just 10 percent of SBC church attenders would pray for and lead one person to Christ in the next...

3 Circles: A versatile tool for ministering the gospel to a variety of cultural contexts

The 3 Circles is a versatile tool to communicate the gospel in a variety of cultural contexts. The reason for its inherent flexibility is due to a variety of factors. To begin with, it’s a framework, not a method. Previously, many Western evangelistic trainings taught step-by-step...

Nationwide ‘Who’s Your One?’ tour to kick off in NC

North Carolina will be the first stop on a nationwide “Who’s Your One?” tour sponsored by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) designed to equip and encourage churches in their evangelistic efforts. Temple Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., will host the first event on...

Who’s Your One?

I was listening in our local church’s equivalent of a Sunday School class this past Sunday to people telling their stories. One man made a profound, yet simple comment. He said, “I heard the gospel because I had a neighbor who befriended me, prayed for me and shared the gospel...

When ‘Who’s Your One?’ becomes two

What difference can one year make? For Dan and Misty Matthews, one year literally made an eternal difference. Dan and Misty attended our church for the first time on Easter Sunday 2018. One year later, on Easter Sunday of this year, they were both baptized after publicly...

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!