Lutz Campus

18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd.
Lutz, FL 33548

Idlewild at The Springs

8209 N 19th St
Tampa, FL 33604

Iglesia Bautista Idlewild

Main Campus, Student Building, Hall 2
 

IBC Women’s Ministry Blog – October 29, 2020

IBC Women’s Ministry Blog – October 29, 2020

Undivided: More Than a Hashtag, I’m Grateful

By Jodie Montgomery

 

I admitted in an earlier blog that I was ignorant regarding racism in the church, over history and today, and that I was purposing to become more aware about the injustices suffered by minorities in the church. Since that blog, I have engaged in numerous conversations, read a number of great books by black authors, and attended/led Undivided. I’ve been in Undivided with Idlewild at The Springs and with women’s groups from our Lutz campus. I’ve been greatly blessed by the persevering love of minorities in the Body. I’ve been blessed on this journey for increased awareness and hope.

 

During this time, I’ve prayed for myself. I’ve prayed that I would take an honest look at myself and my community and that I would be humbly teachable. I’ve discovered that uncomfortable conversations can connect us in Christ on a much deeper level than when I resist people really knowing me or me them. Vulnerability is key to relationship. I’ve discovered confronting my long-held assumptions and issues that seemed beyond me can be hard and tiresome but I need to keep going. I’ve gained a new appreciation of the early church leaders and their tenacity in stating the same truth over and over again to cultures that were colliding. Unity as His Light is worth the struggle. We may even shine brighter due to the overcoming.

 

There are racial tensions in the culture including in the church. It is right to want to eliminate obstacles to the Gospel so that it isn’t hard for any to come to Christ. Whiteness is not normative for Christianity. His Body is Jesus and the redeemed nations. The love His Body has for one another and their affirmation of the dignity God gives all is foundational to His Body being a glorious witness to all. It is right to pursue unity, not just some middle ground compromise, but unity, unified ground. This is in answer to Christ’s prayer in John 17. Make His Body one. 

 

I was not prepared for how much my black sisters in Christ felt unheard and belittled. I was overwhelmed by their gratitude for my hosting these groups as I knew that this is not sacrificial on my part and this was long overdue. I learned from their forbearance what it means to be longsuffering. I witnessed minority fatigue (extreme tiredness from feeling like the perpetual foreigner, a sense of having to stay conscious of your skin color every moment). I discovered that some black pastors feel called to be in white congregations so that white believers may grow in their application of gospel truth. I read many Scriptures with a greater understanding of how the divide between cultures, Jewish and Gentile, slave and free, men and women, must be overcome for there to be revival of His glory. The apostles had years of contending for love among the brethren, an understanding of equality and worth. Racism is a failure in discipleship within the church. May we get to know one another better, may we see one another clearer, may we love one another in Christ, may we help one another.

 

I hope that the Undivided groups will multiply (the free resources are at https://www.namb.net/undivided/, let me know your thoughts after hosting a group).

I hope that the conversations will draw us into one another’s concerns.

I hope that all who read this blog will be a part of the answer to the prayer that through the gospel may it be possible for the church to be whole, for divisions to be healed.

 

Philippians 2:1-4 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.