I couldn’t be more proud of Teresa Royall, our Baptist campus minister at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta. She ministers in the midst of one of our most culturally-diverse BCMs and recently shared with our staff a series of experiences that impacted her and motivated her to minister more effectively. This is written from a campus perspective, but please don’t underestimate the potential for these words within your church congregation as well.
Teresa and her husband, Bob, are members of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, where a recent sermon included a time of dialogue between Pastor James Merritt and an African-American church member. The discussion was eye-opening for Teresa and led her to initiate text conversations with some of her African American students. She learned even more through the replies from her students. Amazingly, everyone she texted replied to her.
She began the text by expressing concern for them and asking, “How are you in the midst of all the protests and racial issues?” It’s important to realize that the replies below are not from random-on-the-street people. They are from young Christians who are active in the BCM and are seriously trying to process what is going on around them. Please resist the urge to interact with their comments. Focus on listening well to what they are saying. The texts are listed with minimal editing for clarity.
“Thank You for reaching out Ms. Teresa, it means a lot me. Honestly, I don't know how to feel. I knew this country hated my people, but these recent events are extremely heartbreaking. I was having a discussion with a family member of mine and we were talking about how we're not sure if we even want to bring kids into this toxic world.
... if we come together we can be a great influence and example ...
“I think one thing we can do is to come together as a ministry. We are lucky to have diversity within our BCM. I believe if we come together we can be a great influence and example in not only the entirety of the Board and BCMs everywhere, but the world as well. I could really use encouragement in prayer and knowing that I as well as my brothers and sisters have a safe space in you and the BCM. Knowing that we have y'all's support would mean a lot.
“This is heavy topic, but it is extremely real and affects a lot of our own. It’s very numbing and can make you lose faith in society. It really hurts Ms. Teresa and I am trying to stay positive.”
“Wow. Wow, wow, wow. One of my friends told me that I and one other person were the only ones to reach out to her thus far, and just a few minutes ago, I replied by saying that not a soul had texted me/reached out to me yet (besides the ones I initiated conversation with).
... some people I know were more willing to speak against the riots than the reason for which people are rioting in the first place.
“Your second question answered itself. Thank you
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