In the United States, my wife and I do unity and reconciliation work in a 320,000-member city called Lexington, KY, the second-largest city in Kentucky. According to the US Census Bureau, the demographics of racial identity are statistically parallel to national data, except for its lower Hispanic population which directs our missional focus. Our ministry’s vision is to be a catalyst of ethnic unity in Lexington, KY. This can be summarized as “The Offended Restores the Offender.” In other words, through Jesus, God bore the weight of broken humanity, knowing that the cross of Christ is the only catalyst to produce true unity. In our relationships, we believe the offended party can also restore the offender relationally. Thus, in our unity and reconciliation work, we are constantly reminded that the work of the cross is the only true catalyst to bring authentic unity and reconciliation.
We created a seven-conversational model walking Christian communities through biblical conversations that lead toward unity and reconciliation (http://bereconciledlexington.com). The model was initially birthed in 2016; however, during the 2020 ethnic tensions in the US, we noticed many of our brethren in the Lord Jesus still struggling to live by what Isaiah 11 said about Jesus. The culture encouraged judgment based on what our eyes saw. The culture encouraged making decisions based on what our ears heard. Even in our city specifically, churches adopted the culture’s vocabulary of how to address injustices.
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” — Ephesians 4:3
Therefore, we knew something was wrong. Our brothers and sisters in the Lord were having the wrong types of conversations together. The culture had hijacked our mandate to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
“He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness, he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth…” — Isaiah 11:3-4
If Jesus is our standard, many of us have missed the mark by judging life based on what our eyes see or deciding disputes based on what our ears hear. If we are to emulate Jesus, we all have missed this mark in some way or another, including me. We must all remember that Jesus judged, decided, and spoke differently than the culture.
We further created conversations around language use, the human heart, worldview, historical context, character, etc. We took the Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:1-6 as our guide. We learned that the human heart and its complexity are essential to consider. We soberly embraced that the only way to change is to let our hearts encounter God and His word. Thus, we prayed and examined the scriptures for insightful case studies for unity and reconciliation. Lastly, we reprocessed our model with other brethren and published BE Reconciled: A Journey Towards Unity and Reconciliation, The Process Guide in December 2021. Currently, we run weekend conferences. We have “dinner table” conversations and are developing online resources for believers to learn how to converse about these topics biblically. It’s a journey, and we believe that Lexington, KY, along with many other cities, will be catalyzed to establish ethnic unity and reconciliation.
Of our seven conversations, one of them is about our calling. A person’s calling is to learn about God’s invitation to become His chosen character in His story. Life is not about us but about Him. However, most of us have no framework supporting the pursuit or understanding of our calling and its significance. As brothers and sisters, we all need assistance and support to work out what we are called to do with the Lord. One helpful resource is my newest book, Wrestling with Your Calling: Unleash Potential at Your Burning Bush.
May the Lord help us to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and may He help us walk worthy of the calling which we have received.