Today we are talking about pastor views and feedback on racial reconciliation.
Why Discuss Racial Reconciliation
We live in a world that’s stirred up. There are a lot of discussions that are going on. What puts them in the conversation today is that we don’t all agree. I think, in the church, we’ve got to be aware of those conversations. We have to be, in many cases, involved in those conversations and imparting truth inside those conversations.
Learning from Acts 6
Our bible study was on Acts 6 last week. I thought that spoke to a lot of these issues with the Hellenistic Jews and the Hebraic Jews. Hellenistic Jews saying that they weren’t being taken care of and having their needs provided for.
The intentional action that the 12 took, adding leadership positions for that group that had a potential to be marginalized and making sure their needs were provided for. The follow up of that was the Word of God continued to spread.
This was actually an issue that had the potential to harm their witness of the church in the same way that Ananias and Sapphira did the chapter before. To me, that’s what stands out, saying this is a really important issue that we need to address. It’s part of what could harm the witness of the church if we’re not doing it right.
Concentric Circles – Relationships
To speak to those concentric circles or broadening out circles, we asked a few questions that were in that space of how broad is your social circle. How diverse is your social circle?
One of those questions was, “When was the last time you had a meal with less than 10 people that included someone of another race?” I think, to some extent, we saw some positive feedback there where 44 percent said they had that in the last week and 73 percent in the last month.
We drew the line at 10 because that would allow you to include one-on-one lunches you might have with somebody but also if your family gets together with another family. The 10 would also exclude gatherings where it may be a group at church.
It may be a group from the community where there happens to be somebody from another race there but that wasn’t part of the intention or the main part of who was gathering.
Preaching on Racial Reconciliation
We found that 7 out of 10 pastors have not had leaders in their church urge them to preach about racial reconciliation.
9 out of 10 pastors said that their congregations would welcome a sermon on racial reconciliation. I guess the report of feedback not necessarily being that church leaders are saying, “Yeah, you’ve got to go do this,” but that they’re at least open to hearing about racial reconciliation from the pulpit.
In the last three months about half that many, 45 percent of pastors, have actually preached on racial reconciliation. I think there’s a lot of ways to reinforce the fact that we’re all equal before God in many sermons, but to actually focus a sermon on racial reconciliation and seeking to be peacemakers, I think, takes some intentionality.
(See the full transcript for the episode –with links–on next page)