The call for racial reconciliation is louder than ever. It’s impossible to turn on the news or scroll through social media and not be confronted with the results of racism, prejudice, and division. As a church, we know we need to speak up and do something about this brokenness. But the question remains: How do we get beyond our own biases to begin the process of moving toward healing and unification?
On Episode 71 of The Think Orange Podcast, LaTasha Morrison and Lana Jeffrey join us to share their own experiences with breaking beyond biases and give practical advice for church leaders seeking to promote true diversity in their own ministries.
LaTasha Morrison talks about leading a diverse student ministry (12:15)
LaTasha shares about her background growing up as a black student in a predominantly white community (14:07)
Racial reconciliation is different than diversity—diversity drives reconciliation (17:33)
In your social media follows or contact list, how many of the people in your circle look just like you? (18:02)
The church should be a distinct, transformative voice for racial healing (18:56)
A “spirit of oneness” is not a spirit of sameness (21:42)
Racism is the misuse of power of systems and institutions along with racial prejudices (22:46)
If you desire diversity in your youth group . . .
- you must understand the culture of your community (26:28)
- you have to create safe places for all your students (27:53)
- you have to lead from a place of conviction (30:22)
Guest host Sarah Bragg interviews Lana Jeffrey (31:25)
What it looks like to have bias in ministry (34:11)
Exposure builds empathy (35:38)
Inviting God and others to help us recognize our own biases (38:02)
Helping kids and students break down biases they’ve inherited from family influence (41:18)
Strategies for leaders to break down barriers (47:07)
- Exposure to other ministries, conferences, and environments outside your comfort zone
- Ask yourself what kind of message things like your marketing, social media, blogs, and website communicate to those you want to reach
- Show people where they can belong
- Invite people in your community into your church outside of Sunday
Lana shares her heart for volunteers (55:01)
Dave and Ashley’s final thoughts (59:31)
People, Places & Helpful Resources
LaTasha is a fellow abolitionist, bridge-builder, engager and a leading voice in the fight against human trafficking. Having worked with youth and serving as a Children’s & the NextGen Director, she’s developed an untamed passion for social justice issues across the globe. Tasha has challenged others to tap into their God-given gifts by finding confidence in how God has wired them.
Lana Jeffrey has been dedicated to full-time Children’s Ministry for over 11 years. Her passion for children started at an early age while she traveled along with her parents Bishop Joby and Pastor Sheryl Brady. While the Brady’s would be ministering to the adults Lana would also find a way to meet the children’s pastor and gather info on how they were ministering to the children.
Her desire to lead children has resulted in several positions in children’s ministry and childcare over the years. She currently serves as the Director of Children’s Ministry for The Potter’s House of North Dallas.
Known for her innovative, out of the box methods of teaching, she is also an expert in children’s ministry structure and team building. She serves as Vice President for Legacy Consulting Group founded by her and her husband Marc. She is also a sought-after consultant who helps equip churches with the necessary tools to take their children’s ministry to the next level.
Quotes from This Episode
Ideas to Influence the Next Generation
Exposure builds empathy.
Understanding rarely happens in a vacuum. True learning comes through interaction with new people, places, and ideas. Seek out opportunities to meet, learn from, and shadow people who live, think, and do ministry differently than you.
Excuses don’t promote healing.
When confronted with information that feels new or foreign to us, it can be tempting to try to explain away our ignorance. When it comes to racial tensions, statements like, “I had no idea,” and, “That happened before I was even born,” just aren’t good enough.
Conversations increase understanding.
Admitting an area in which you are biased can be embarrassing. But if you want to unpack that bias and lean into racial reconciliation, you have to be willing to open up and engage in vulnerable conversations.
Conversation Starters For Your Church
What’s something I used to believe about another person or group of people that I no longer believe?
Who is someone I’ve invited to regularly speak into my life that doesn’t look like, live like, or think like me?
What does diversity look like within our ministry’s leadership team?
What does our church’s online presence (via our website, social media, etc.) communicate about the kinds of people we desire to reach?
When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at daveadamson.tv.
Ashley serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange and the USA Director of Carry 117. She has worked with students in public education, athletic and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating on stage, developing leaders, working with students and world missions. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.
Join Us Next Week
Thank you for listening to the Think Orange Podcast.
We hope you’ll join us again in two weeks for episode 72: Mentorship in Ministry, with Jeff Henderson and Nick Salyers. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.