If Jesus’ followers are to fulfill our missions as ambassadors of reconciliation and enlarge the Kingdom of Justice, we must focus on breaking down walls of ethnic and racial hostility, in our communities and, even more importantly, among ourselves.
One group making remarkable strides in that area is an old-school missional network, the Southern Baptist Convention. Fred Luter‘s 2012 election as the first African American to lead the 167-year-old national association was a milestone on a journey of reconciliation that had seen the number of African-American congregations in the SBC grow by a whopping 82.7 percent between 1998 and 2011. Some 1 million African Americans in about 3,400 churches affiliate with the denomination.
That splash of reconciliation is rippling out into communities around the world, as a Black History Month package of features on CommissionStories.com illustrates. From W.W. Colley‘s 1875 service in Nigeria to Joseph Lyles‘ short-term work in Thailand, to Marie Edwards‘ work in the IMB‘s NAME region, to Isaac Adams‘ ministry in Brazil, God is using a rock-ribbed, historically Anglo denomination to help a lost world understand that, in Christ, the unity of God’s family is abolishing all the distinctions and oppressions people insist on erecting against each other — “no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.”
View the “Celebrating African Americans on mission” package of stories, photos, and video by clicking here.