It is June 19th. We just had Flag Day in the USA on June 14th and Father’s Day is this coming Sunday. But June 19th is a very significant day in the history of the USA. It was on June 19 1865 that General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston Texas and told the people that slavery had ended in the USA.
Slavery may had ended officially, but 100 more years of segregation, discrimination, and evil acts of violence were to follow for our Black brothers and sisters.
It feels significant to me that the 3rd part of my interview with my friend Pastor Kevin Pringle is being posted in June 19th considering the historical significance of the day.
In Part 1 Kevin shared about experiencing racism as a child. In Part 2 he shared about experiencing racism in the church. Today’s question also deals with racism in the church. It is my conviction that before our nation can be cleansed of the evil of racism, it needs to begin in the church.
Pastor Kevin is available to speak in churches. If you are interested, please leave a comment.
What are some things churches can do to address prejudice and racism?
This is such an important question to address! Especially since, last week I wanted to make a clear point that the Church holds culpability for the perpetuation of racist ideologies.
The very first thing we need to do as a church is acknowledge and confess. We, as the Body of Christ, must make it necessary to recognize the evil in front of us! We can no longer afford a passive response to the issue of race. Pretending that racism hasn’t been a defining element in our church culture is unacceptable. We must first admit and then confess that we have allowed it to propagate. At this state of our existence, silence is equally sinful!
Secondly, pastors must stop holding their pulpits hostage. If we want our congregants to change their view of racism then we must be “Exceedingly” intentional about reaching out to each other and allow those that occupy the pews to see unfamiliar faces. Every pastor understands the authority they hold as one responsible for sharing God’s Word. Thus, by providing room for someone of a different ethnicity to engage their followers from the pulpit could prove powerful! Not to mention, we must be adamant in our hiring processes. Church staffs’ need to stop being homogeneous.
Several years ago, I was asked to fill a pulpit for an all white, rural church. A friend offered me as a suitable candidate for that particular Sunday. This was long before the days of social media so the only reference they had for me was my friend’s endorsement and my name. Kevin Pringle is an ethnically neutral name and the church assumed I was white…that is until I showed up.
To their credit, after working through a very awkward moment, the church not only welcomed me but embraced my preaching and teaching. I was actually invited back on several occasions and even asked to consider becoming their lead pastor.
Lastly, we must be willing to get uncomfortable and endure the “Growing Pains”. I use that phrase intentionally because whenever there is growth there are tension points. Church leaders MUST initiate the conversation and the dialogue MUST be open and honest. We have to go way below the surface and be willing for the talk to get a little messy. God has strategically brought us into a great tension point culturally. HE has turned a mirror on us and is inviting us to look at our true reflection. “Do we like what we see or are we ready to admit it’s time to change?
I would also like to share a video Kevin posted on Youtube, The video has an important message for us in these times.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.