In today’s episode, we’re catching up with Hykeng Paul, the Director of Unity and Diversity at Newspring Church here in South Carolina. As a black man who grew up in the AME church and then began attending a predominantly white church, Hykeng has a unique perspective on racial separation in congregations. He’s a wealth of knowledge about the history of the black church and what led us to where we are today.
During our conversation, Hykeng brings a welcome perspective to the table about why tackling this issue should be a priority in our churches and what we can do about it. He gives some practical first steps for pursuing unity—the first being just simply to start praying about it. Our open and honest conversation was a blessing to me, and I hope it will be to you.
Links to Resources Mentioned or Related
1) Prayer should come first when it comes to bridging the gap between races. To pursue unity in our church, we need first to surround the issue in prayer and then follow that with intentional daily habits.
2) The hearts of your leaders will be the catalyst for change. In your church, lasting change starts with the leadership. Identify your values and create a vision for what you want to see in the future.
3) Many churches try to bridge the gap too fast. Often, we try to tackle the issues of race and division by jumping into outreach opportunities without having authentic relationships. Seek out intentional and consistent relationships with people of different races and cultures first, and then let the outreach opportunities come.
4) Understanding and honesty are key components in diverse relationships. As you pursue a relationship with someone of a minority, communicate what you want to learn and be honest about it in your conversations.
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