The Baker Blog
Pastor Mike Baker Of Eastview Christian Church 2017
A preacher’s response to this injustice

It’s been a bad stretch for our society. Remember how stunned everyone was over the Orlando shootings just three weeks ago? Or the fear that emerged after yet another bombing in the Istanbul airportlast week? Here we are again, the tragic deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police, followed by the shocking sniper attacks on Dallas police in the last three days. Everyone seems to have an opinion and are broadly posting these opinions on social media. I’ve noticed that many of these posts are from preachers, some of these pastors are friends of mine and some I know only from a distance. I’ve also noticed that some of these preacher posts have been useful and others have been more divisive than helpful.    So, as I thought about how I, as a preacher should (and shouldn’t) respond, I thought through a list of rules that will guide my response to this seemingly endless string of violence and social upheaval. Humbly, I share these with my pastor friends in hopes that they along with me will represent Jesus well in times like these.

1. Digitally disconnect. Before I allow the images and emotion of the constant replay of violence and injustice to bombard my mind and soul, I need to disconnect and spend time with God. I need to take my emotions, thoughts, pleas, concerns, and fears to the One with all the answers. Preacher, don’t just shoot off some reactionary tweet. Give God time and space to mold your response.

2. Get beyond your situational bias. Here’s what people sometimes don’t understand. Preachers are people: we’re black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, poor, rich, ex-cons, ex-jocks, ex-gangsters, city, country, doctorates and drop-outs, blue collar, white collar and no collar. But whoever we are, whatever we have experienced, and wherever we come from – preachers can not represent only our point of view. Our calling demands that we represent all humans because our message has no color, no social standing and no prejudice. Remember Jonah’s big fail? Arguably, the best revival preacher in history argued with God because he couldn’t get past his Jewishness. To preach in Ninevah we need to love all Ninevites, without bias for our own tribe.

3. Be biblical. As you respond make sure that every thing you say is scriptural. If you have something to say that you can’t immediately think of in context of a Bible verse, don’t post it. As many of my preacher friends do, it’s probably best just to simply post an appropriate verse with no commentary. The Bible is relevant, living, and true. As preachers, let’s allow God’s word do the heavy lifting needed in these times.

4. Point to Jesus. The answer to all of this is Jesus. He faced every injustice of every sin of every person in his life and then carried it with him to the cross. Only when America turns back to Jesus will the heart’s of people truly change. You’re a preacher and are called to point people to this life-changing savior! Proclaim the good news that Jesus understands and that he is also the solution.

5. Be confident in the hope you have. As preachers, one of our main jobs is to encourage people that Jesus has overcome all of this. He’s not surprised the by the ugliness and pain of this world’s sin, but he was confident that he had overcome. He said, “In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” ( John 16:33). There is a kingdom that is not shaken by racism, fear, violence, injustice, and all the other things sin brings our way. Jesus overcame all of this on the cross. This is the hope we should promote.

6. Don’t retweet people you don’t know. Happily, in times like these, a preacher’s voice is often magnified. This means that the people who follow us also trust the people we retweet, quote, favorite and like. Make sure the person you quote is a Christ follower, otherwise you may unwittingly push your audience to some unChristian thinking and reasoning. I checked out a Twitter account that one of my preacher friends had re-tweeted and found it to be profanity laced and hateful. Don’t give someone else your voice, especially one you wouldn’t agree with!

7. Steward your flock. As preachers, God has entrusted to each of us a certain number of people that we get to influence, inspire, and instruct. This Sunday, you have a chance to preach to those people. Some of us have dozens and some of us have thousands, but the people we do have in our congregations are the ones that God has allowed us to speak to. So speak. Point them to Jesus, preach the word. Influence who you can when you can.

Live it. You’ve heard it said a million times, “practice what you preach”. This truism is most important for preachers. You may not change the world, but you can love people of every race in your daily life. You may not start a revival, but you can show extreme faith when everyone else is afraid. You may not spark a movement, but you can move in your community with the love of Jesus flowing through you. Love. Listen. Pray. Cry. Preach.

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