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June 16, 2020

9 Steps Toward Growing in Ethnic Harmony

Kenny Stokes

Pastor for Church Planting

At the close of the Downtown/South livestream worship service on Sunday, June 14, I mentioned that I would post some suggested action steps from the Ethnic Harmony seminar that I have presented over the years.

The purpose of this post is to help you, the people of Bethlehem, to “more and more” move forward in love toward others (1 Thessalonians 4:9–10) as together we lock arms and also move forward in ethnic harmony. In short, we aim to see our “one another” love rise and transcend historic ethnic and racial bounds, and to more fully reflect the biblical reality that in Christ we are profoundly one as brothers and sisters.

I have heard from many of you a renewed impulse to grow. Toward that end, here is a list of action steps. I am very aware that everyone is not in the same place. For some of you, moving forward may mean focusing on one or two of the first steps. For others, it may mean continuing to press on in what you are already doing.

1. Ask the Lord for a Biblical Understanding
(2 Timothy 2:7, Ephesians 5:17)
Guard yourselves from being blown about in the prevailing winds of culture, social media, and television/movies, by instead building your biblical understanding verse by verse with God’s help and in consultation with fellow believers.

2. Study History and Current Affairs
(1 Chronicles 12:32)
Aim to be like the men of Issachar “who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” 

3. Ask God for Wisdom and Eyes to See the Manifestations and Dynamics of Prejudice and Racism
(James 1:5)
If you lack wisdom, admit it and pray to God for more understanding. 

4. Humbly Cultivate an Honest Self-Awareness
(Romans 12:3, Psalm 139:23)
Pray, “Search me, O God” and labor to think of yourself with sober judgment. 

5. Be Compassionate to Those Suffering
(Romans 12:15, Luke 6:36)
Listen to others and weep with them over their sufferings.

6. Build Authentic Relationships With Other Christians
(Romans 12:10, 15:7)
As God the Father has welcomed us into his family, so, too, aim to welcome one another into fellowship with you. 

7. Build an Appreciation of Cultural Differences
(Matthew 22:39)
As you enjoy sharing your culture with others, seek to enjoy participating in other cultures.

8. Do Justice
(Micah 6:8, Luke 11:42, 1 John 3:18)
Put love into action by overcoming evil with actions that work for righteousness and justice for all people. 

9. Pray in Hope
(2 Thessalonians 1:11–12, Romans 12:12)
Because this is spiritual work, always give yourselves to prayer, as Paul says to the Thessalonians, “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”