This video features a conference call held on June 2, 2020 with LCN leadership and Local Center leaders about how pastors, leaders and followers of Christ should respond to racial justice issues. Special thanks to Jonathan Falwell, LCN Executive Chairman and pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, Jarret Hamilton, pastor of Generation Church in Clayton, NC, and the other leaders who shared their insights.
How should pastors, leaders, and followers of Christ respond when there is a social crisis?
1. Limit exposure to social and news media
- A little exposure is typically enough to get the picture
- Too much exposure can distort reality as many voices will be speaking
- The media typically does not represent a biblical world view on how to react and respond to a crisis
- Even good people, Christian leaders, and followers of Christ get sucked into a worldly narrative on how we should best respond to a crisis.
2. One or two online posts are typically enough. Actions speak louder than words.
- Try to keep any postings biblically based and Jesus focused. You can never go wrong by sticking to the truth of God’s word.
- Typically, the people who like your postings about a social crisis are the people who already agree with you. Online posts typically do not change someone’s mind. And when you overly post your opinions, people tend to start tuning you out.
- Real hope and real change do not typically come about by expressing your opinions online about a crisis. Real change comes about through action.
- Be very careful about what you say because online postings about a crisis can tend to feed arguments and disagreements on all sides of the spectrum.
- You can become a part of the problem instead of the solution by not being overly careful about what you say online. Again, actions speak louder than words.
- Even if you are 100% correct with your online opinion, those online posts will not “solve the problem” and in many cases, can create more division.
3. Gain perspective when a crisis occurs “Seek first to understand”
- Learn from someone who has been affected by the crisis. The principle of “seek first to understand before being understood” is a great place to start. Whatever the crisis is, seek out people who have been impacted by the crisis and spend time with them to better learn and understand their perspective.
- Use the scripture as your guide to gain perspective when there is a crisis.
- Search scripture to find all types of examples of various crises and how God’s people proactively (positively) responded to it AND how God’s people reactively (negatively) responded to it.
- Learn what are the root sources of various crises are in the Bible
- Compare a current crisis with a crisis found in the Bible. Draw correlations between the two and ask: “How does God want pastors, leaders, and followers of Christ to respond?”
4. Offer hope and solutions to the crisis
- Get quiet: The Holy Spirit becomes the source of direction, hope and center that a believer needs to know how to solve and respond to every crisis. But believers must be quiet and still in order to hear his voice, before responding to a crisis.
- Pray: Repent of your own sin. Sin is at the core of the human heart. But prayer can move the hand of God to intervene in your heart and in the life of others. Also, pray for others connected to the crisis (victims, those on the outside, leadership, influencers, etc.)
- Share: Jesus is the hope of the world and he can restore lives and make them pure. Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose again for you and the sin of the world. It is through Jesus that others will find a changed life and a new life. Keep that message at the forefront of your communication.
- Love: When someone becomes deeply connected to God, they are able to respond with love and hope as God would, and not as the world would.
5. Show action and practical solutions in a crisis
- Social media posts are not the ideal step for a pastor, leader, and follower of Christ to make real and lasting change. Practical action is the right response in a crisis. If there is a social media post, it should be to communicate to others how they can physically join you in the action you’re taking to solve the crisis. Ask as a leader: “What will I do to affect this situation with real and practical change?” 1 Cor. 11:1
- Practically share the love of Jesus to others who are living in a crisis. Take specific action steps. Mt. 28:19-20
- Personally model the love of Jesus to solve a crisis. People won’t listen to what you say until they can see how much you love. Mt. 22:39
- Live out the love of Jesus to those in the middle of a crisis. Again, action is the real key to loving others who are in the middle of a crisis. James 1:22-27
- Help others “be the Church” that Christ intended when others are looking how to respond to a crisis (DO something). Be a leader by taking others along with you to practically solve the problem and make sacrifices to help those who are in need. Acts 2:42-47