During a time when racial tensions are on the minds of many, Bethel Bible Church Hope Campus is providing a place for members to build relationships and to talk about a biblical view of race relations. “Be the Bridge” is a class hosted by the church that promotes and teaches racial reconciliation.
“Our vision is to be a multiethnic, multigenerational church that gathers together around the gospel to impact our community in a diverse way,” Campus Pastor Ricky Garner said.
The class uses the book “Be the Bridge” by Latasha Morrison as a curriculum. Through the book, Morrison has launched her own non-profit organization.
“Our intent is to equip one another to become interracial bridge builders, or ambassadors of racial reconciliation, within our respective communities,” the church’s website states.
The book’s subtitle relays the theme: “Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation.”
“The book goes into different steps for the curriculum,” said Be the Bridge class facilitator Ashley Choice. “So, we start with awareness, and it goes through forgiveness, repentance — and you go through all those stages with the gospel, knowing Jesus Christ repenting of your sins, asking for forgiveness of your sins. It goes all the way until we get to unity.“
Garner believes that the church has a responsibility in the community to be a place of unity. He says that after people go through the steps of forgiveness, repentance, and relationship building, racial reconciliation will be a by-product.
“We believe that our community cannot be whole if there is division in any sense,” Garner said.
Classroom facilitator Brittany Black said that racial reconciliation is promoted in scripture, and she references the scripture Galatians 3:28.
“One of the things that Paul talks about a lot in the New Testament is that once we’re in the gospel, there’s neither man nor woman; slave, nor free,” Black said. “So, he talks about when we’re in unity with Christ, there should be no people against other people simply because of the color of their skin, or where they grew up, or what their culture is.”
Garner says that teaching race relations here on earth makes sense, because heaven will be full of different cultures and people groups.
“We have this large group of people in Revelation 7:9 gathered around the throne. Scripture says they’re from all nations, tribes and tongues. The picture is this diverse group of people, from all over the world and many nations, but they have one single solitary purpose and goal and that is to glorify God.”