If you’re like me, a white youth pastor, you are probably still trying to unpack everything that’s going on.
I don’t want to be silent anymore. I also don’t want to put my foot in my mouth or make things worse.
In a season where anything can you post can be scrutinized and torn apart, I wanted to think about ways I can educate myself like Theo Davis talked about and his post last week. There’s so much more to do than the shortlist, but I’m planning on starting here.
Offer to take someone out to lunch
There’s probably someone in your circle who is black. If not, invite them into your circle. Offer to take them out for lunch. Pay for it. Ask him if they have experienced discrimination or acts of racism in your community. Ask him what you individually can do. Ask him how they are feeling about everything that’s going on right now. Don’t push back. Just listen.
Ask your students how they are doing
If you have black students in your ministry parentheses and I really hope you do parentheses, ask him how they are doing. What are their thoughts on the situation nationally? Have they experienced discrimination locally? Again, just listen.
Ask your students how you are doing
This one will be tough. Ask your black students if they feel like you are an advocate for them. Ask them if you have done something that unintentionally made them feel discriminated against. Ask them if you did something that made them intentionally felt discriminated against. Listen. Learn.
Reach out to parents
If you have parents who are black and your church, set up a meeting. Maybe take them out for coffee. Ask him how they feel their students are doing. Ask them how they feel about the ministry of your church. Is there anything your church can do better? Listen.
Get senior leadership’s blessing
Now that you’ve had lots of conversations, make a couple notes. Did anything stick out? Was there anything students or parents or community members mentioned several times? It might be as easy as teaching A Series on racism and inviting a pastor from a local black church to speak to your students. Or get a panel of black students to answer questions During youth group. It might be planning to attend the Martin Luther King JR march in your town this year. Whatever it is, let your senior leadership know what you’re doing. Hopefully, you’ll get their blessing.
Think Long Term
Set a reminder on your phone for a year from now. What do you want to be thinking about when it comes to diversity in your context? What about racism? What goals do you wish you could see come to fruition? What change can you might right now while tragedy is still fresh that will still be in place long term?
I don’t feel like I’m going to do this 100% right.
But I 100% know I can’t do nothing.