Senior Pastor of Concord Church in Dallas, TX
Two years ago, a white pastor friend, Jeff Warren, and I asked ourselves this question not long after the events in Ferguson: “What will happen when Ferguson comes to Dallas?”
This question prompted us to begin to explore the possibilities for our city. Dallas is a tale of two cities: the northern sector is predominantly white and known for its affluence and prosperity, the southern sector is predominantly minority with heavy pockets of poverty and inequalities.
Jeff’s church is located in north Dallas and my church is located in south Dallas. Despite Dallas’ great affluence, we have the fourth highest poverty rate in the country.
Jeff and I began building a relationship with the hope that we could help our city address the ongoing racial divide. Next, we decided to invite other pastors for candid conversations. He invited eight white pastors from north Dallas and I invited eight black pastors from south Dallas.
We then met monthly for lunch in order to get to know each other and discuss the racial climate in our city and nation. Our questions included:
- How are you feeling about the recent racial tensions in our country?
- What do you think the role of the church is in racial reconciliation?
- Do you ever preach on race relations?
- How has your church engaged in racial reconciliation?
- What’s your personal racial history or story?
- Have you experienced racism or ever confronted it?
- What books have you read that have helped your view of the church’s role?
We spent three meetings talking through these tough and sensitive matters.
We then began taking some action steps. Jeff and I decided to swap pulpits and choirs and spoke about racial reconciliation at our churches. This led to a growing and thriving relationship ...