What Role Does Your Church Plan in Racial Reconciliation?
by Aron Earls, Facts & Trends, 8/16/17.
Racial reconciliation seems to be an issue many have decided is too difficult. According to LifeWay Research, more than 8 in 10 Americans say we have “so far to go on racial relations.”
Yet a separate LifeWay Research study found almost 67 percent of Protestant churchgoers say their church is “doing enough to be ethnically diverse.”
Meanwhile, in a 2010 study, Rice University sociologist Michael Emerson found that while diversity in churches is increasing, most churches are still 10 times more segregated than their neighborhoods, and 20 times more segregated than nearby public schools.
Nine in 10 pastors say their congregation would welcome a sermon on racial reconciliation, according to LifeWay Research, but only 45 percent have preached on it in the last three months.
Most churchgoers and pastors recognize a need to do more on issues of race, but fewer seem committed to actually doing more than they already are.
So what can local churches do to serve as a unifying force in a fragmented culture?
Recognize reconciliation is a gospel issue.
Reconciliation is at the very heart of the gospel, says author and church planter D.A. Horton. “The reality of the gospel message found in Christ is to bring those who were separated from God near to God,” he says. “That’s reconciliation.”
Reconciliation is then extended to Jesus’ disciples in the Great Commission, “the work boots of the gospel message,” according to Horton. “Christ was very specific,” he says. “We make disciples of all ethnicities. Christ’s death and resurrection expiates the sins of every sinner regardless of ethnicity, gender, or former sinful orientation.”