Dear Church, What is Your Why?
What is your why? Why do you exist? … As a Jesus lover and follower and founder of Mission Reconcile, I sometimes wonder if the churches of today are executing their purpose and their reason for existence. Are the churches of today functioning like the beginning churches in the book of Acts? To answer that question, I have to ask the church “What is your why?”
Why do you exist on every street corner in the Deep South?
Why do some of you have congregations of over 100,000 people?
Why do some of you have large budgets?
Why do some of you use your resources to care for the poor among your community and tackle social justice issues and others don’t?
Why do some of you only use your resources for your ministries and for those that belong to your church?
Why do some of you send people and money to missions across the world to address a cause and don’t address the causes in your local community?
The church exists for the sole purpose of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations. Nations are the people of the world. We are a world filled with many different people; and if the purpose of the church is to reach all nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ, then as a church, specifically the American church- we have work to do. We have work to do, because the bodies of Christ, you, the church are not unified. There is disunity in the Christian church- racial disunity. Thankfully, along with spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and reconciling the nations to Christ Jesus; God has given us the ministry of reconciliation – a ministry that empowers us to be reconcilers of one another.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 NIV
On today, January 15, 2018 the day we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and also celebrate his birthday I am reminded of one of his very challenging and inspiring quotes that I believe was directed at the church and still is relevant today.
“We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. We must capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.”
In order for the church to be unified there must be a re-commitment to the cause of Christ; a re-commitment to its purpose of spreading the Gospel and “commitment to the message of reconciliation.” But as the church how do we make these commitments …
Why create Mission Reconcile?
The short answer is God said. Mission Reconcile was created to bring together and connect one race/culture churches to talk about race, racism and create organic relationships. Mission Reconcile is an organization with the vision to see churches committed to reconciliation. As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated “it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.” If there is racial disunity among people of faith, especially Jesus lovers and followers, we can’t expect the world to have racial unity. So Mission Reconcile was created; to be the solution to our divided world and bridge the racial divide in America- starting with the church. By connecting predominately white and predominately black churches, Mission Reconcile seeks to bridge the racial disunity and achieve racial reconciliation through facilitated events led in truth and love and led by the Holy Spirit. We are on a mission to uphold the ministry of reconciliation.
Why start Mission Reconcile in New Orleans, Louisiana?
I frequently get the question, why New Orleans? The short answer is God said. I personally have a couple connections to New Orleans. My first visit to New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina relief where I distinctly recall staying in a church. Also, New Orleans is the only Deep South city where I have friends. Although, you don’t need to visit somewhere before you move there or know anyone- it helps. But the more intentional reason that I believe that God said to start Mission Reconcile in New Orleans is because of First Grace United Methodist Church. First Grace has a faith in action history of racial reconciliation and racial/social justice advocacy – all under the name of the church. After Hurricane Katrina, First Grace combined First United Methodist Church, a predominately white church and Grace United Methodist Church, a predominately black church to form one church, First Grace United Methodist Church. First Grace is an active church that does not sleep; providing its space to support numerous social justice programs. First Grace epitomizes the heart of Mission Reconcile’s vision and most importantly, God’s vision.
New Orleans is also home to great racial reconciliation work through local government, communities and organizations. I believe New Orleans churches and faith community are ready to walk the “Path to Reconciliation” and Mission Reconcile is here to support by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Kahlida Nicole Lloyd
Kahlida is the Founder of Mission Reconcile and has an overwhelming desire for harmony. She serves as an attorney, teacher, and facilitator of Mission Reconcile’s “Path to Reconciliation” events. Kahlida has led and facilitated programs on privilege, race, and social/racial justice advocacy. Above all, she is a reconciler. You can find and follow Kahlida on Instagram and LinkedIn or contact her here.
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