I’m pained and cringing at the blunders and blindness of people who say the wrong things, hurtful words, because they don’t understand the plight of black lives amidst the protests that are all around us. Especially white pastors and church leaders, who you’d think would know better, but some don’t, yet.
The fact is, injustices against the black population has lasted for all of American history, along with other non-white minorities. For people with highly individualistic mindsets and in positions of power, it’s obviously difficult to see their blind spots, that’s why they’re called blind spots, where all other ethnic groups recognize the meaning of a collective identity.
1. Listen and Learn
Listen and learn from black pastors to care and empathize, become educated. You don’t have to do a ton of reading and homework like you’re studying for an African American studies degree, but you do have to take time to learn so you can be conversant. For a quick start, watch this 17-minute explainer video from Phil Vischer about Race in America. Listen, not many people want to be the tutor to educate you when there are so many resources already produced and available.
2. Hire a Consultant and Do the Work
Here’s a short list, for starters, of Christian church consultants who’ve worked on matters of diversity and black lives. If churches pay consultants for marketing and strategic planning and hiring, surely, with the complexity and nuances of cross-cultural matters, it’d be a worthwhile investment to work on this urgent issue of our day.
- Mosaix Global Network – multiethic church consulting, learning cohorts & labs, staffing, and resources
- Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeal (pastor and author of Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0)
- Dr. Efrem Smith (pastor and author of The Post-Black and Post-White Church)
- Latasha Morrison (Be the Bridge) and author of Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation — New York Times Bestseller
- Dr. David Anderson (pastor of Bridgeway and author of Gracism: The Art of Inclusion)
- Robyn Afrik (author in Becoming Like Creoles: Living and Leading at the Intersections of Injustice, Culture, and Religion)
- Nikki Lerner (worship leader & culture coach)
- Carlos Whittaker (speaker and author)
- Kyle J. Howard (trauma-informed soul care provider)
- Christopher J. Harris (executive pastor at Crossover Church in Tampa)
- Natasha S. Robinson (author of A Sojourner’s Truth: Choosing Freedom and Courage in a Divided World)
- Freedom Road Consulting (Lisa Sharon Harper and team)
- Dr. Art Satterwhite III satterwhiteco.com
- José Humphreys (pastor of Metro Hope Covenant Church and author of Seeing Jesus in East Harlem)
How to Choose a Diversity Consultant
When it comes to choosing a consultant, you’d need to know what kind of services you’d need. If you have no idea, then any will do, if they’re willing to spend the time to assess if they’re a good fit. Different consultants have different skills and services: some are great at speaking, some at training, some at coaching, some at strategic planning, some at reconciliation, some at restructuring, some at educating, some at exploring options, some at organizational change management, some at community outreach, some at teambuilding, etc etc etc.
Key takeaway: get started and get unstuck. Invest in your future and in the good of all humanity. Don’t be on the wrong side of history.