Dear New City friends,
I know we are all sickened by the recent, evil outbursts of racism in our country. I would like to offer a few thoughts about what this means for us. Let me begin by saying that racism is more, but not less than a cowardly way of looking for significance or acceptance; a cowardly way to find escape from personal insecurities and fears. It is evil and it destroys human life. The human heart was not made to absorb violence, rejection and insults against one’s own God created race.
We have an incredible challenge and an incredible opportunity here at New City. One of the main reasons we decided on Royal Oak for the first church plant of the Detroit Project was the social and racial and political and spiritual diversity within about a 5 mile radius. I don’t want us to ever forget we’re just a few miles from the riches of the rich and the poorest of the poor, from 90% black to 90% white, split right down the middle socially and politically.
The opportunities to see the glory of God on display are endless. However, if ever we become chiefly identified with anything besides the gospel, our ministry is over. If we don’t proclaim it, articulate it and live it (individually and corporately), then our ministry is a colossal failure. Racial reconciliation cannot be manufactured. We can’t teach enough on it (important as this is), market it, make a program for it or guilt people into it.
What could possibly bring racial reconciliation about? The starting point is for us and others to see the glory of the gospel and to be overwhelmed by the love of Christ in such a way that our hearts would be melted together because of it. What could possibly bring healing to a person who has been on the receiving end of racist hate and rejection? Nothing short of the glory of the gospel pressing down on their heart in real way. What could possibly give a racist person the power to overcome a life of fear, bitterness and hatefulness? Nothing short of the glory of the gospel pressing down on their heart in a real way.
When we’re strengthened in the gospel and see afresh the beauty of who Christ is and what he’s done for us and what we have in him, then he (Jesus) becomes the heaviest, most beautiful thing in our life, and there is deep heart level repentance of the ways we’ve exchanged the glory of Christ for the glory of our racial identity. And, by God’s grace, there will be deep heart level healing and transformation.
I really believe this is the answer to the very practical things I would love to see in and through New City:
- A racially, ethnically, politically, socio-economically diverse church.
- To see continual transformation take place within this diverse context – transformation that is manifest in deep personal and corporate repentance, and to see this lead us to a greater self-awareness of our sin and dividing walls.
- To see continual transformation that is manifest in a greater love for Christ and his Word.
- To see continual transformation that is manifest in a greater love for each other. For healing in our relationships, marriages and families.
- To see a continual transformation that is manifest in a greater love for the spiritually lost. That we would always leverage what we have and who we are for the sake of reaching people for Christ. That we would see people converted to faith in Christ.
- To display our heart for diversity and for all the people living throughout the Detroit region by planting gospel-centered churches in all of the various cultural contexts and communities.
Therefore, New City, let us continue faithfully in our gospel ministry!