At the end of the Bible, in the book of Revelation, we get an amazing glimpse of God’s plan for race: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). The end of our story is a beautiful picture of a diverse group of people all worshiping together before God. This is where the church will end up one day.
But this is not necessarily how the church looks today. In fact, odds are that if you walk into a random church, it will look more like one single tribe, tongue, and nation. Multiracial churches are not certainly the norm. But we believe—with a lot of hard work and honest conversations—we can get there together. The change may not happen overnight, but if we all devote ourselves to discussions and commit to learning how to learn from one another through healthy dialogue, we can work together to build houses that look like heaven.
This is the purpose of the God and Race small-group study. Often, we in the church feel that the words God and race don’t go together. They feel like unrelated topics. But nothing could be further from the truth! Diversity and unity are pivotal pieces of God’s plan. For this reason, we want to give you a guide for understanding the issues of race and faith from both a black and white perspective. We also want to equip you with the tools you need to enter into open, honest, and fruitful conversations about God and race with confidence.
God and Race is meant to guide you and your fellow church members to move beyond black fists and white knuckles. We want to help you open your hands to the truth of the gospel and explore what it really has to say about race and how we interact with one another. We’ll talk about allowing God to search our hearts to get us ready to engage in these conversations. We will then shift our focus externally and talk about your household—helping you to invite diversity into your home and your social circle. Finally, we’ll talk about inviting diversity into the house of God and lay out some strategies for making that happen.
If you are brand new to the race conversation and scared to death that you are going to say the wrong thing . . . this study is for you.
If you are frustrated with the lack of attention your church is giving race relations and you’re interested in being a part of the solution for positive change . . . this study is for you.
If you are a church leader unsure of how to take the next step to help your congregation get it . . . this study is for you.
If you are unsure what to believe about the current state of racial tension in our country . . . this study is for you.
If a friend handed you this book and you are only reading it to do them a favor . . . guess what? This study is for you.
The truth is, that as a nation, we are divided. We may not have created this division, but we are living in it. So, if you still have a pulse, you have a responsibility to be the answer and help push us forward toward the future God designed. Let this study be a guide along the way, because unless we make a solid and intentional choice to connect, understand, reach, and love one another, we will remain divided—and we can’t afford to stay divided.
Let’s loosen our grips, unclench our fists, open our hands, and come together.
—John Siebeling and Wayne Francis
In God and Race, John Siebeling and Wayne Francis provide a non-threatening means for pastors, church leaders, and churchgoers to start to dialogue about this important issue. God and Race probes the meaning of racial reconciliation and reveals how the church can be a positive and effective leader to move us forward, beyond hate and injustice, to equality and love.