John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
As followers of Christ, we are called to love one another. By doing so, we show those around us that we are believers and are His! From the beginning of Unite!, we have said that this movement is all about relationships. Relationships are at the foundation of all the collaboration that takes place. These relationships are not just with churches and leaders that are of the same denomination or even with just those who look like us. One of the unique aspects of Unite! is that relationships and collaboration are happening between church leaders of different races and ethnicities.
Relationships with those that are different than us expand our horizons and take us to a deeper level and understanding of the gospel. We can only begin to understand another ethnicity and race by building a deep enough friendship with someone where we can talk honestly about our experiences and challenges. Otherwise, we only understand our perspective, our culture, and only see the world though one lens. We believe that the foundation of racial reconciliation is deep relationships. As we better understand one another and learn from one another, we will go to another level of loving one another. Our desire is for these love relationships to spread like wildfire across metro Atlanta!
Below are three videos from Atlanta area pastors from a recent Unite! event. It was truly a rich conversation among those that come from various denominations as well as ethnicities. This is a time in our nation where the Body of Christ can really shine brightly as we live out unity and relationship. The word that was heard over and over was relationship! As we do this with our brothers of another color, we tear down the walls that can divide us.
Crawford Loritts - pastor of Fellowship Bible Church
Darryl Ford - pastor of Ikon Community Church
Billy Park - pastor of Grace Community Church
As we grieve and mourn about so much racial tension that exists in our country, we are encouraged by some very practical ways that we can make a difference. We want to make you aware of these opportunities, as well as some helpful resources:
- The AND Campaign
The AND Campaign is an urban coalition that promotes the voice of human flourishing in the socio-political arena. It seeks to assert biblical wisdom and restore the true narrative of humankind to its rightful prominence which is justice for all. The AND Campaign gives followers of Christ very practical ways to make a difference by improving our criminal justice system and providing better educational opportunities in our community.
- Be the Bridge
This group and movement was started by Latasha Morrison and hosts events in which you can be a part. Her blog is also a great resource and you can find them on Facebook here.
MEDIA RESOURCES (Audio/Video):
- This Foot Washing by Pastor Dennis Rouse at Victory World Church
- All Souls Fellowship and IKON Community Church came together and hosted an open forum "Engage: The Gospel, Race, and Justice." The following video clips were taken from the event and are impactful:
- Shayne Wheeler (Why Cross-Culture Engagement is Hard for Us)
- Darryl Ford (Why Cross-Culture Engagement is Good for Us)
- Justin Giboney (Why Engaging the Socio-Political Arena Matters)
- Amena Brown (A spoken word performance)
- Joanne Brown (A Story from the Heart)
- Tony Evans has put together a series of six video segments (10-12 minutes each) called Oneness Embraced that can be used by churches to equip people and facilitate dialogue on the importance of oneness across race and ethnicity. These are very well done, and we are encouraging their use within churches as well as for small groups from different churches to use them for dialogue and understanding. If you need access to the videos then email us back at Heidih@perimeter.org.
- James Choung, Intervarsity - ETHNICITY MATTERS - n this video, InterVarsity's Evangelism Director James Choung looks at God’s plan for our ethnic identities, especially in relation to our ministries.
- Shayne Wheeler from All Souls Fellowship preached regarding this area, as well as a larger issue after the election - "That They May Be One".
- Abraham Cho and Duke Kwon share this audio recording via The Reconciliation and Justice Network - “Beyond Black and White: Why Repentance for Racism Matters to Other Communities of Color”
- An audio recording of Mika Edmondson speaking to the Gospel Coalition’s Council Members in May 2016. Is Black Lives Matter the New Civil Rights Movement?
- “13th” - A documentary on Netflix that explains the history behind the injustice of the criminal justice system.
- Grace Fellowship's Dan Miller preached in the summer of 2016 in response to the unrest across the nation: "Connect the Dots: Gospel Living in a Diverse Culture"
READING RESOURCES (Books/Articles):
- Great Books:
“Many Colors” by Soong Chan Rah
“Under Our Skin” by Benjamin Watson
“White Flight” by Kevin Kruse (focused on Atlanta)
- “Multiethnic Conversations” by Mark Deymaz - This 8-week study is a great church resource that will work well in small group settings.
- "God's Love Story and Redemptive Unity" - Chip Sweney has written a paper that connects the Gospel and Scripture to the importance of unity and oneness (Redemptive Unity). It is important for us to get our foundation on these issues from the Word.
We are looking to hear how Unite! churches and pastors are working out the current events and the call to reconciliation in their churches. Here is an example of a recent sermon from Central Church in Charlotte. Please send us links to your church sermons on this topic or other resources that we can list on the Unite! website so that we can be learning from each other as Unite churches. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with these resources.