4 Takeaways from Dr. John Perkins for Pursuing Unity

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In a year of pivots, Exponential remains committed to two principals:

  1. We are activists for multiplication, and…
  2. Our theme for 2020 is “Together: Pursuing the Great Collaboration” from John 17.

With those foundational commitments, Exponential leaders Todd Wilson and Efrem Smith hosted social justice activist and church leader Dr. John Perkins for a candid conversation on unity. Perkins’ book, One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love, serves the church as a powerful resource on pursuing racial reconciliation in the shadow of Jesus’ life and work.

In this conversation, Dr. Perkins boldly addressed pastors, “We’ve got to be intentional in being ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’” He warned them, “We’ve got to come to the end of ourselves and ask God, ‘What are you saying that I need to obey right now?’”

Perkins recognized the difficulties of pursuing unity, pointing out challenges that surround us and challenges that come from within us. Reflecting on the need for humility, Dr. Perkins lamented, “Oh, I struggle with this! I want to make myself God.”

Additionally, Perkins highlighted the simplicity of Jesus’ commandment to “love each other.”

Perkins took listeners to theological seminary, “Know that the thought of reconciliation was the thought before creation. Reconciliation started with God. It was always with God. It was part of the DNA of his mission.”

With a heart to make God known, Perkins preached, “We’ve got to preach a whole gospel and we’ve got to take a whole gospel on a whole mission to the whole world.”

Yes, this is the heartbeat of Exponential.

So, Christian leader, what can you do? Here are four takeaways:

  1. Make a commitment to pursue unity
    Perkins called Christians to a commitment. And a long term commitment at that. The Christian life, and the pursuit of justice for all, is a marathon not a sprint. Are you resolved in your commitment to pursue unity?
  2. Embrace humility as you pursue unity
    Dr. Perkins models humility. We will never pursue unity with another person as long as we are full of ourselves. But when we embrace humility, then we are free to pursue unity.
  3. Keep it simple as you pursue unity
    Perkins warned listeners of the temptation to complicate obedience to Jesus’ commandment. As we pursue unity, let us avoid the complications which Satan would love for us to pursue. Let us instead seek to keep it simple as we pursue unity.
  4. Lift up the Kingdom of God above all as you pursue unity
    Perkins repeatedly recalled his mission to “know God and make him known.” In a world that is constantly lifting up political figures or social figures, the pursuit of unity demands Christians lift up the Kingdom of God above all else as they pursue unity.

Click here to watch Episode 1 of Candid Conversations, featuring Dr. John Perkins.

We are better together!

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:22-23

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