Kevin pastors a white church in the Louisville area and took a lot of heat from other black friends both when he became a Southern Baptist and when he went to a white church.
He was driven by his grandmother’s bad hermeneutics. “At least make sure you know the red letters.”
Reading red letters, he saw Jesus’ prayer in John 17 “that they be one – so that the world may know that you have sent me.”
The lack of oneness in the Body in America undercuts our missiological thrusts. Our racial divisions ruin our ministry and evangelism.
He realizes this is who he is and doesn’t believe his path is for everyone. Went to a white Catholic high school (Dematha in DC area). He’s comfortable in different cultures. He believes in sovereignty. “I am made for this.” By God’s grace he was funded by the Tennessee Convention at a Chattanooga church planter where interracial partnerships. Built friendships. Actually fellowshipped between churches. Black guys going out in the woods with white guys at night to go camping!
Youth groups went to camps together. Black parents and white parents sending their kids on a bus together to Florida! Real unity was being built.
The denominational level matters. The church level matters. But it is the personal relational level that matters. (This is true in blogging. The most obnoxious bloggers are often NICE people in person.)
We need to realize this is a work of God. But we must be of one accord. When we pray from discord it doesn’t work.
He simply wanted to build a model that worked.
He also thought it would be a great model to see white people submitting to the leadership of a black man (can you imagine that 50 years ago?)
Issue. In Black churches, the pastor is “the man.” Roots in the post slavery reality of culture. So, putting a black preacher in a white church has been a challenge and blessing.
Businesses executives and politically powerful feel they know more than the pastor.
Heart language of worship. Not just music, but how people listen to the sermon. (He did a hilarious section on the differences between the way black and white churches listen to sermons).
Great joy – having some old white lady say I grew up in a racist church but hearing you preach I realize the gospel is the same!