“Building Bridges” — A Worship Service at Mother Emanuel AME Church

It was my honor to participate in a multi-denominational worship night themed “Building Bridges” at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.  This gathering was hosted by the South Carolina Baptist Convention on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.


Click Here to Watch


Order of Service (note the times that each element appears in the recording)

  • Invocation (46:00)
  • Choral Anthem – Hear My Prayer* (49:20)
  • Welcome to Worship – Marshal Blalock – President of SCBC & Pastor at First Baptist Charleston (52:45)
  • Congregational Hymn 
  • Welcome to Mother Emanuel – Rev. Eric S. C. Manning – Pastor of Mother Emanuel (1:03:04)
  • Testimony – Rev. Anthony Thompson (whose wife is one of the “Emanuel 9”) (1:09:00)
  • Choral Anthem – Order my Steps
  • Sermon – Dr. Ronny Floyd (1:35:20)
  • Congregational Hymn
  • Sermon – Dr. Walter R. Strickland II (2:06:40)
  • Choral Anthem Total Praise*
  • Prayer – Dr. D. E. Green, president – National Baptist and Missionary Convention of South Carolina (2:38:10)
  • Congregational Hymn
  • Presentation of Thanks to Mother Emanuel (2:46:58)
  • Congregational Hymn
  • Benediction

* Choir composed of members from Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church & First Baptist Church Charleston


Five Short Videos on Diversity and Multiculturalism in the Church

During the 2018 annual North Carolina Baptist State Convention disciple-making conference we shot 5 short (nearly one-minute) videos capturing my thoughts on diversity and multiculturalism in the church.  Follow the links below:

No culture has a monopoly on the Gospel.

Embracing the difficulty of multiculturalism.

The Bible and cultural differences.

Being “colorblind” is harmful to the church.

Learning to celebrate other cultures.

#SBC17, Alt-Right White Supremacy, & Racial Reconciliation: A Reflection

At the risk of not “striking while the iron is hot,” I’ve decided to reflect on the Alt-Right developments at #SBC17.  The annual gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) never fails to generate attention—this year was no exception.  The media buzzed with developments leading to the adoption of Resolution 10 On the Anti-Gospel of Alt Right White Supremacy .

On Tuesday the messengers (or representatives) of SBC churches elected not to take a stand on Alt-Right white nationalism before arriving at a unanimous decision to denounce it on Wednesday afternoon.  As I reflect on the ups and downs of the process between Tuesday and Wednesday, I’ve concluded that, in a perfect world, the resolution would have been and adopted in some form on Tuesday afternoon, but the conversation would have ended without consequence.

Because we live in an imperfect world, the process of engaging race and racism is not going to be executed flawlessly.  But this is not a total loss, in fact, I think something is gained in the process of working toward understanding.  The rigors of the process occasioned conversation that generated understanding, empathy, and healing that would have been missed if the resolution was adopted without a hitch.

If the work of racial unity is messy, we have to fight against the cultural current that is quick to cast judgment and dismiss people even for earnest missteps.  Brothers and sisters in Christ must be longsuffering with each other as we fumble our way toward racial unity.  This admonition does not mean that flawed thinking is never confronted. It means that in moments of confusion Christians must act like a family who loves one another enough to spur each other toward redemptive thought and action.

In an era that is characterized by broken relationships, we must commit to not give up on those who are earnest in the faith and trust that we have each other’s best interests in mind.  This is most important in the midst of the emotional strain and misunderstandings.  Let us not grow weary in well doing (Gal. 6:9) because we could miss the blessing that the Lord has for us around the corner.

Let #SBC17 be a lesson to us all, if messengers did not fight through the emotional difficulty and resolve to work together, we’d be left with Tuesday night’s headlines and missed the redemption that took place on Wednesday afternoon.  #SBC17 is an example of the difficult yet rewarding work that needs to be done throughout the SBC.  May this be a teachable moment to encourage each of us to stay the course because the process generates the character qualities and understanding necessary to achieve new depths of racial reconciliation than we could have never imagined.