Racism in Children’s Ministry

Kids in Ministry International Comments Racism in Children’s Ministry
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Let’s talk about race in children’s ministry. We are living in a critical time in American history where racism had captured our attention like it hasn’t done in decades. Our collective consciences have been shocked and rocked like never before.

We have to talk to each other. We have to listen to each other. And while I may not have influence in the nation at large, I do have influence in children’s ministry. So please listen to this conversation from my two friends who are highly qualified leaders in African American denominations, Ricardo Miller, and Angela Marks.

The heartbreaking reality is coming to the surface, that racism in the Church has been deep and wide in both Evangelical and Pentecostal circles for far too long. So we have to ask ourselves, “Is there racism in children’s ministry, and if there is what does it look like? And how do we overcome it?”

Please listen and take notes. Let’s finally get this right!

Racism in Children’s Ministry

Becky Fischer:  Today, we are going to discuss racism in the Christian church in children’s ministry.  This should be a topic that is of interest to all of us, particularly in the United States of America.  In this discussion today, I have two people that are going to join me that I have a great deal of respect for.  For those of you who are watching this on video, you can see plainly. But for those who are listening on audio only, let me just say that my two guests are African-American.  My first guest is Ricardo Miller.  He’s amazing.  And Ricardo, I just want to thank you for joining me.  And then, Angela Marks is actually a graduate of my School of Supernatural Children Ministry.  That’s how I met her.  Angela, I will introduce you in more detail in just a moment.

Ricardo Miller

So, Ricardo, I want to begin with you because I’ve known you longer.  You are the CEO and founder of Effective Living, which specializes in time management coaching and personal development and training.  Over the last twenty-four years you have traveled throughout the United States, been around the world evangelizing children and equipping children’s ministry workers, which is why you’re here and how I met you.  [You] are a coach, and you guide individuals with a serious passion, and are committed to improving their lives.  you were actually born in the Bahamas.  Is that correct?

Ricardo Miller:  Yes.  That’s correct.

Becky Fischer:  Okay.  And I have a lot of things about you.  Because, Ricardo, you’re black, with a Hispanic first name and a very American, white, last name.  So, we’ll have to have a conversation about that another time.  You’ve always been an enigma to me.  So, anyway, in 2016, Bahamian government proclaimed a National Children’s Ministry day in honor of you and bestowed you the highest honor of being inducted into your former high school Hall of Fame. That’s pretty impressive! That’s pretty impressive! You host a weekly radio show called, “Effective Living,” because the Holy Spirit is really leading you more now into personal growth and improvement, although you still have your foot in children’s ministry.  You’ve authored five books.  You’re a popular guest on national and international radio programs and TV programs. And you are the family and children’s minister of Pathway Life Church in Dallas, Texas.

So, hello Ricardo.

Ricardo Miller:  Becky, thank you very much for inviting me on with you during this conversation.  It’s always good to see you and get a chance to talk with you and my good children’s ministry friend, Angela.  It’s also good to see her, as well.  Hearing you share your heart blesses my soul at the core.  Because I believe it’s critical for a person, or people at large, to identify where you know and you don’t know.  And I thought for years that it is possible to not know that you don’t know.  And I tell people, don’t be confidently wrong.

Becky Fischer: (laughing) There you go!

Don’t be Confidently Wrong!

Ricardo Miller:  Don’t be confidently wrong.  In other words, don’t speak strongly to what you don’t know. Inquire.  And I think we’re in an hour–I think we’re in a season–where people just need to become aware.  Because it is possible for a person to exist for a long time and not know.  You know, and that’s what you just spoke to.  And I think, nationally, I think we’ve been dealing with this issue, with a lot of people not knowing and not taking the time to find out.

You mentioned a few things.  I definitely believe that we are going to get a chance to dive into it.  But the difference between what we see and out of how we treat children of African American descent in a[n] all-white environment, versus how we deal with an adult who is African-American in an all-white environment, varies. It’s a little bit different, in my opinion. 

Becky Fischer:  Yes, it does.

Ricardo Miller:  I think a lot of times, when people see children, they see “cute.”  They see “missions.”  They see, “Awwwww!”  And so, “let us suffer the little children to come unto Me.”  And it’s sort of, like, as long as you’re a child, you’re okay.  But once you start to go into teenage years, and you want to consider talking to my daughter.  When you start to move into a young adult years.  And now you say you would like to apply to become the director for the children’s ministry or you want to become the coordinator for the nursery in an all-white environment.  Well, maybe not.  So, we know you grew up in the church here.  And we, like, “You’re so precious!  You’re so amazing! You’ve been with us for a long time.”  However, some things don’t go, as far as, you know, it’s just never been that way.  So, maybe, as a child, “You’re so cute!  We’re so glad we’re connect with a few!  But, don’t pursue more!”  and I think it’s a different conversation, moving from that of ministering to children of African-American descent in a Caucasian-dominant environment, than that of working, living, marrying, partnering, “community-ing” with that of the different ethnicities.

Becky Fisher:   Wow! You are so right.   I just saw a lady post some pictures of a couple of black children on Facebook just a few days ago.  She was a white woman with two black children.   And I didn’t read the entire post, but I’m going to assume she either adopted them, or she married a black man–one of the two. And the children, of course, were absolutely adorable.  And she says, “Yes! You think my children are adorable now.  Will you still think that when they’re 16 and 18 years old?”

Ricardo Miller:  Yeah.  Yes.  Yes.

Angela Marks

Becky Fischer:  Whoa!  That me that hit me! So, Angela, let me introduce you, so you get to say something, okay? Angela is a passionate children’s minister, with 11 years of experience serving in various churches and ministries.  You live in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  And I have something to say about North Carolina, because I lived there for two and a half years.  Okay?   But I won’t say it right now.  Anyway, you serve as the Director of children for the Dunn- Linnington District of the AME Zion Church.   And for those who don’t know (and I had to look it up), that’s the American Methodist Episcopalian denomination which is basically exclusively black.

Angela Marks:  African.

Becky Fischer:  African.

Angela Marks:  I’m a part of a very historic denomination.  It is where God led me, and so I’m here.  And it’s the African Methodist Episcopal Denomination

Becky Fischer:   Okay, so that’s where the African came in.  Sorry!  I should have written it down.  Go ahead.

Angela Marks: Out of our church historically comes Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists and civil rights activists that have come up through this denomination.  And so, it’s very rich in history, when it comes to, you know, slavery.  Our mother church is located in New York.  It’s called Mother Zion.  It is actually one of the locations in of the Underground Railroad that she brought people through.  And so, being in this denomination, it’s very historic. And it speaks to, you know, the history of what blacks have been through in slavery and after.  And so, what you will find in our denomination is you will find out history.  And you will find that the majority of our churches are fully African American.  But you will also find that there are churches, depending on location, that do have different ethnicities and, you know, white people. I know we have churches in California.  And in California, we do have, I think, he’s a Hispanic pastor, in our denomination.

Becky Fischer:  Wow!

Angela Marks:  And so, you’ll see that we also have white ministers in our denomination, as well.

Becky Fischer:  Whoa!

Angela Marks:  In my local church, we have a white minister.  And so, our denomination is not closed off to, you know, diversity.   It’s just that, I don’t know, if sometimes that the “African” weirds people out, but it’s just because it’s historic.  And when you go back and you read about the Methodist church in general.  And, in the beginning of, you know, Methodism, and how the blacks were made to either sit in a different location in the church.  Because they worshipped together, the slaves and the slave owners, and the white and the black.  But they had to sit in a different location, or they had to sit in the balcony of the church.  And so, we have all these things that really, historically, you know, we know have happened.  And it’s caused some type of division.  But, nevertheless, our heart is inclusive when it comes to God’s word and his people. And I think what I find in children’s ministry, in my denomination, is not so much anything that’s racial.  It’s just the fact that we have not–this denomination, and I think I would also speak for some other African American denominations– have not been exposed to children’s ministry in a way that white churches have.  We can go back and see.  When you look at the history of what we would consider children’s ministry in the black church, we have Sunday school.  Or you went to Sunday school, or morning worship was with your family. I remember getting filled with the Holy Ghost, not in a children’s church, because we didn’t have that.   I got filled with the Holy Ghost sitting on a pew with my parents.

Becky Fischer:  Wow!

Children’s Church vs. Sunday School

Angela Marks:  And so, it’s different dynamics.  And so, I think maybe until the early 90’s, children’s church began to be introduced into the black church.  And so, trying to maneuver that and understand what that structure is, has been challenging because we have a Sunday-school type mentality.  And a lot of the teachers that were black teachers in the local community, they assume the roles of teaching in the Sunday school.  And so that was common in our churches.

Becky Fischer:  Hmmmm.

Angela Marks:  And so, when we talk about children’s ministry, now you’re making a switch.  Because a lot of churches are learning, “What is children’s ministry, and how do we do it?”  Because Sunday school is what we used to.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.

Angela Marks:  And that’s why you see the way our kids are being taught.  Because Sunday school is always what we’ve known.  But I believe that when we look at children’s ministry, I believe that we have to begin to see children…We talk about seeing children, not after the flesh, but after the spirit.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.

Angela Marks:  And I think we’re going to have to continue that when we look at the color of our skin.  We’re not looking at if you are light, dark, black, white or whatever.  We have to see them after their spirit and not after their flesh.

Becky Fischer:   Yeah.  I don’t want to leave out the rest of your bio, Angela, because it really is impressive and is part of who you are.  And I want to pick up this part about African-American church is not having children’s church. Let’s get back to that in just a minute, okay. 

Writing Curriculum

But I want the listeners and our viewers to know that you are a co-writer in the AME Church school literature department for the beginner and primary curriculum.  Kudos! I give you full permission to steal anything you want to from the curriculums.  Alright?  You founded a ministry  called “With His Hands Puppets” in 2009, which produces Christian, educational, and themed puppet shows. In 2015 you partnered with Kid Grow Quest Missionary Ministry to serve as a team leader in North Carolina, ministering to children and their local communities.  You’re also one of my graduates from the School of Supernatural Children’s Ministry, and you travel across the United States and denominations, training children’s ministry leaders and youth leaders on how to disciple and equip this generation.  You do children’s revivals.  You speak in churches.  You’ve done youth conferences, and you’re on multiple virtual platforms. Right now you’re working with Ryan Lestrange doing some more.

Angela Marks:  Yes.

Becky Fischer:  I watched your message the other day.  It was really awesome again.  You’re partnering with parents (That’s another conversation we can have), and teaching children the word of God and experiencing His presence.

Angela, I had asked you some questions before we got on here, in the last week or so, about this whole thing.  If you say that the African-American churches are not accustomed to children’s ministry, but only Sunday school.  This could speak to the issue of why I never seen any blacks in children’s ministry conference.  It’s because it’s not even a part of your consciousness, not even a part of their thinking.  But I also asked you, “Well, in that case, do they have their own conferences?”  To which you said, “No.”  So, you have a big job cut out for you!

Children’s Ministry Conferences

Angela Marks:  Yeah!  Not that I know of.  I know, in our denomination, we do have conferences.  But we don’t have conferences specifically for children’s ministry.  We may have workshops, we have webinars, and different things like that.  We may have breakout sessions in one of our major conferences we do.  Because our structure is more a structured around Christian education.  And this is what you’ll find in black churches.  You’ll find a Christian education component.  And out of that Christian education structure, will be broken into adults, young adults, youth, and children. And so, that’s what you’ll find. So, you have a Christian education director.  And then you have directors of those different areas.  And these are more so in the traditional black church.  And when you get into the contemporary black churches, you’ll find the children’s ministry and stuff, because they’re evolving.  But, in a more traditional church like mine, we have that structure.  You have a Christian education department, and out of that Christian education department, you have a children’s department.  And you do not have a children’s pastor.  That’s why you will never hear anybody call me that.  They call me “Angela, Director of Children.  And titles, I don’t care!

Becky Fischer:  Good!  Good!

Angela Marks:  You know, I know my call, so titles, I don’t care.  But that’s the structure that we have.  And so, when it comes to these conferences, those are kind of hard to maneuver, because of our structure, in the way our Christian education department is structured.  Not just in our local churches, but it’s structure from a connection or large aspect in our church.  And you may find that in other denominations that are traditional.

Becky Fischer:  Let me jump over to you again, Ricardo, because, from what I know about you, and we’ve known each other for a number of years, but we never really get to have any heart-to-heart conversations. We went out for BBQ Beef one time when I was in Dallas, and that was fun.  But Angela is exclusively in a black African-American environment in what she’s doing.  That’s where God has called her.  But you, my brother, you go in and out of white churches and black churches.  And I think the church you’re in is a multicultural church.  And you are invited to speak into the children’s ministry conferences that I go to, which is pretty much 95% white. Speak to this.  You probably have a more insight on the racial aspect.

Multi-Cultural Churches

Ricardo Miller:  Definitely.  In my years in children’s ministry, I originally started off in the Bahamas.  And it was primarily 100% would be children’s ministry with black kids.  Then I moved to Dallas and realized I was in a very diverse community.  But my expertise was not a strong one, that of children’s ministry in that of, like Angela mentioned, in the African American dominated church. That means the congregation there was more just black people.  So I knew that there was a difference immediately.  So, I felt as though I had an assignment, a responsibility, to do a crossover, to connect.  Because I saw I had worked for a long time, prior to coming here, doing a lot of stuff in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras, and so forth.  The Hispanic, the Spanish-speaking community.   I was already in the African American black community I came up in.  And so, when I came to Texas–I’ve been here now almost 20 years– I made it a mandate to sort of connect, in that sense.  And what I discovered is that the Anglo church has captured a correct model of structuring the element of children’s ministry, has grown that whole concept in a very, very progressive way.  The challenge is, there are a lot of progressive African-American churches, but whenever a children’s ministry leader, whose passion tries to introduce the concept of children’s ministry, moving them from Christian education and Sunday School into children’s ministry…

Angela Marks:  Yes!  (laughs)

Ricardo Miller:  Whenever they have to introduce the concept, they have to introduce the concept as 100% white.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Ricardo Miller:  And so, most pastors, most bishops, from the African American church will not somewhat push that element in the bigger body of the congregation.  And so, it goes back to the struggle of slavery, and “Okay. We’re now coming together as a people, feeling good as a people, to grow in Christ.  And we want to make sure that our children are growing in Christ.  But we don’t know this thing.  And we do know is Sunday School has been there for us.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Traditional Sunday School

Ricardo Miller:  Sunday School has been there for us, and it’s worked for us. And a lot of pastors, especially in the African American churches, say, “I grew up on Sunday school.  It worked for me. It worked for my children.  And it’s going to work for these kids.”  Whereas, things have changed. Okay?  Things have changed.  A few years ago, I did a book called, “The Remaking of Sunday School” with Group Publishing.  And it was supposed to be the book that helped to take it to the next level.  However, the struggle is still real when it comes to the understanding of what children’s ministry is, and the white church vs. what children’s ministry is in the black church.  And I think, we need more children’s ministry leaders who have learned the  understanding on both sides, to become greater influences of those at the top.  That’s where the challenge is. 

We have that in both segments.  In children’s ministry, I believe that, in the white church, I believe that most of the children’s leaders–every children’s pastor that I become friends with– who I, over the years, who have a diverse setting of kids or have a few African American children within the congregation, they genuinely love those kids.

Becky Fischer:  Yes! Yes!

Hierarchy in Children’s Ministry

Ricardo Miller:  I think, once again, when they shift into teenage years going into the young adult years, into that of a job, into that of a position, it goes into a hierarchy. We’re now, “Okay, we know that you are the director or work with children’s ministry.  You may like all kids, but we don’t work with all people the same.”  There’s a difference.  We like all kids, but we don’t work with all people the same.  As long as all the children in the room are children, they are so precious and they all can come and hug us, greet us.  We love them.  When they start to grow into young adulthood, we start to marginalize them.  We start to categorize them.  We start to label them.  And that’s what’s been happening a lot.

And so, what’s happening in our society today is there is an acceptance.  Diversity is the future.   Diversity is the future, and this elephant in the room concept,  this “put our head in the sand and ignore” is going away, because there’s a generation coming up–that’s that millennial generation,  and I’m–There some of the things, they’ve kicked the baby out with the bathwater, but some of the things, let me tell you something, and they say, “We just don’t like the water and whatever comes with the water gotta go.”

Becky Fischer:  Awesome.  You know, you brought up several different things here.  But I have a question which I find very interesting.  You say that the black pastors are saying we’ve always had Sunday School.  It worked for me.  That’s the way I was raised, my children were raised.  It worked for that.  And that’s what we’re going to stick with.

Personal Testimony

Let me tell you my experience.  I was invited into a congregation, an African-American congregation.   I don’t know what denomination they were.  Doctrinally we were on board with each other, as far as the baptism in the Holy Spirit, healing, prophetic, salvation, the whole thing.  But they brought me into their church at 3–this is Baltimore, Maryland.  And for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the pastor.  But he actually had some notoriety in the years that he invited me in.  They had a church of 3,000 people, and they were bringing me in.  They had Sunday school.  They brought me in because they out of a Congregation of 3000 they had less than a hundred kids that were ever going to their Sunday school.  So, they brought me in to speak, and they actually loved what I had to say.  But, to my knowledge, they made no changes whatsoever.  So, when you say it’s working, you know, what exactly does that mean? Because, from what I can see…and Angela, you might be able to speak to this, because I’m very interested in what you have to say about black churches keeping their kids in the congregation with them.  That’s how you learned, and all the rest, which is something you won’t find in white churches anymore.  We have completely segregated the age groups, with very few exceptions in your smaller communities. So…

Ricardo Miller:  Let me answer that first.  I think they say it’s working, but it’s not working.  The numbers don’t lie. 

Angela Marks: No!

Ricardo Miller:  It’s ignoring.  It’s denial.

Becky Fischer:  Okay.

Ricardo Miller:  And a lot of times, it’s just that their children are doing okay.

Becky Fischer:  Ahhh!  Okay.

A New Concept?

Ricardo Miller:  You know?  But, to the bigger community, going back to the numbers you just mentioned.  I was invited to Cincinnati, Ohio, this megachurch, 2500-seater.  They built a model that was to accommodate 2500 people.  And the design that they built the church with was not a  design that they were accustomed to.  But when they built it, it had a children’s wing, because they just basically copied the model.  They copied a megachurch model because they could pay for it and they wanted to build it.  So, they built it.  Well, after the church was being built, the deacon board was walking through it, and they said, “Oh! What are we going to do over here?”   They said, “Oh, we’re going to put in a childcare center, obviously.  We’re going to have a daycare on the property because this whole thing is children.  This is where we can have a preschool during the week.”  And one of the newer members said, “You know, that’s where you would have children’s ministry.  The whole thing was built incorrectly.  The building was built correctly.  They said, “What do you mean, ‘children’s ministry’?”  And so, like you, Becky, I was invited in.  And they said, you meet with the Elder board, you meet with the deacons board, and talk to the congregation on why we should invest in children’s ministry.  Put a proposal together about what that would look like for us.  And I had to come in and do that.  That was 2016.  So, that’s one of the situations.  So, there’s a lot of denial there.  So, we’re having to address that.  We’re having to speak about it.  So, it’s a very big message that needs to be looked at. 

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.  And they probably won’t invite me in to talk on that subject.  Not after I found out what you guys are saying.  But, wow!  So, where do we go from here, you guys?   Where do we go?  What is the answer?  Ricardo, you get invited into both realms.

Ricardo Miller:  Mmm, hmm.

Becky Fischer:   Obviously, us whites can’t do anything to help you.  So, you guys are basically on your own, huh?

Ricardo Miller:  No!   Let me tell you what I think you can do.  And I think you are leading the way in such a unique and fresh way.  I must say, I’ve spoken to a lot of people.   I’ve never heard anybody express what they said like you just did, okay?  So, I must give huge kudos.  Because a lot of people don’t know, but there are white people who really don’t know.

Angela Marks: Right!

Continue the Conversation

Ricardo Miller:  And just totally oblivious of the fact of, this is how it is.  Sometimes you can sense something, but you’re working and living in such a world that is loaded with so much distraction.  Man, I got to go to the airport, I got to do it…  And so, you know, a lot of times we don’t stop to think and engage in the appropriate way to assess.

What I think we can do, the conversation has to continue.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Ricardo Miller:    And I think we need to become aware. I think all parties need to become aware.  And at least get to a place where it doesn’t feel awkward.

Becky Fischer:  Yes!

Ricardo Miller:  And, as long as there’s a feeling that there is awkwardness, with that of race and ethnicity, we still have a problem.  When we can see some time, that of someone being discriminated upon, someone being mistreated or not being dealt with correctly, we need to speak up for that.  Once again, I’m going to go to this.   I believe it’s the dominant group that’s calling this thing out more than anybody else–and I’m going to go back to them–which I believe again, is the Millennials.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.

Ricardo Miller:  Because, in years past… I did an interview in the Bahamas this past week, and I said 25 years ago I was talking to the person who was interviewing me.  And I said, “You’re a professional guy, one of the most affluent professionals in our country.”  Everybody knows this name.  And I said, “If 25 years ago, you walked into a Starbucks (if we had something like that), into a store, and you said something that was derogatory.  You said something that was just outright wrong, people would just look at him and say, ‘Wow!  I can’t believe Mister so-and-so said that!’  They just said that in their hearts, they said that in mind.”  I said, “In 2020, you go in Starbucks, I don’t care which ethnicity you are.  If you say something wrong about somebody, somebody’s going to call you up.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.

Ricardo Miller:  We’re living in that day now.  Where people are saying, “Hey, man!  That’s not nice!  “Hey, man!  That’s not right.  Hey, man, don’t do that!”

Becky Fischer:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:  You get what I’m saying?

Becky Fischer:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:  We’re living in a day where there’s a generation is coming up that’s saying that’s not right.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah! 

God’s Kingdom is Diverse

Ricardo Miller:  That’s wrong.  So, when a general, a children’s minister like you, Becky (I believe that is what you are).  When you show up at a church, you say why is it that there are three hundred people here and there’s no black people?

Becky Fischer:  Yeah!

Angela Marks:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:  What’s going on? Don’t you know it’s gotta be a diverse kingdom?  You know what I’m saying?  When you can say that—you can say that and get away with it–and really push the conversation, helping a congregation to be like, “You know, we never thought about that before!”

Angela Marks:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:  And a lotta times, groups gather—and blacks do it, as well, they gather and don’t know that there are a lot of things that they are doing to separate.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:  You know.  Sometimes they’re not doing it intentionally, but they’re continuing to do something that needs to stop.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.

Ricardo Miller:  Woo-hoo! You know, it’s…

Things are Changing

Becky Fischer:    I’m just going to throw an anecdotal story  and it really has nothing to do with the conversation).  But, you know, I have traveled to over 30 nations.  And we have established leaders in 12 Nations.  About 20 leaders within those nations, and multiple–I would say, not lower-level.  They just aren’t in positions of speaking into the leadership of the ministry.  But we’ve got PowerClub leaders.  You guys both have heard me talk about PowerClubs.  Those are children’s ministries.  And we have thousands of them all over the world.  And we’re in 9 African nations.  And we have a very strong leadership and a group in India.  We have a very strong, aggressive group in the Philippines.  I have a strong group of leaders in Mexico and all the rest.  And so, I go into all these other nations, and I speak, and I get to know these people.   And I come back to North Dakota and I look around and go, “Oh, my goodness!  We’re so white here!”

Angela Marks and Richard Miller: (Laughter)

Becky Fischer:   The difference is like night and day.  And honestly, I have in the last couple years, and I have been looking, because of the migration of immigrants.  You know, when an immigrant comes into, whatever their nationality is, when an immigrant coming to the United States.  I don’t know how the system works.  But what I am told is that the government sends them to different parts.  They send the send a certain number of Hispanics, or Africans, or whoever, to different places in the United States.  I don’t know if that’s when they don’t know where to go, but they just want to come.  But they sent them, and in the last few years North Dakota has had, I don’t know, 50,000 to 100,000 immigrants from other nations coming.  And so, we’re suddenly starting to see people of color.  And yet, you still won’t see them in our churches.  And I began to notice how many blacks there are at Walmart.  I go to Walmart to lot.  The clerks there.  And I have literally started walking up to those people and say, “Hey, do you go to church?  Is there a African-American church here in Bismarck, you know that I could go to?”  And the people that I’ve talked about said no.  Well, I discovered by accident on my way to the Dairy Queen that there is an African church in Bismarck of a people from Liberia, the whole congregation.  I don’t suppose there’s more than 50 people there, but I discovered them.  And  when I went back on Facebook, I found out there’s a church of Ghanians over in the other side.   So, there’s two African churches, and I don’t think they’re very integrated.  I think there are just immigrants who all have a commonality.  So, we have at least two and I know I have trained some Hispanic leaders.  There’s a little Nazarene Church of about 100 people that are all Hispanics from every Spanish nation you want to name, about 20 different nations. So, we’re starting to have more people of color.  But I just had to throw that in.  I’m sorry.  Because I’m excited, because I’m going to start visiting those churches, okay?  Just to make friends. So that’s just my story.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Ricardo Miller: That’s where the difference lies.  It’s making a decision to go where you’re not normally the welcome person or group.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Ricardo Miller:  See, it’s the crossing over.  Not having a problem… When I came here to the States, I have no problem walking into a convention, and I was the only guy that was of color.

Angela Marks:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:  I sat down, and I was like, “Okay.  When am I ready to speak?”  I’m ready to greet, meet, and so forth.  But I have no problem crossing over into a lot of different groups.   Even so, just as what you’re saying, being willing to go to an African church, going to a Hispanic Church.  You know what I’m saying?  And then I am asking the question.  And you’re invited to our church, as well.  Come be my guest.  You know what I’m saying?

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Becky Fischer:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:  Come be a part!  At the adult age.  Not only for children!

Becky Fischer:  Yes!

Ricardo Miller:  Not only for children!  Cuz, remember now, there is a difference.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Becky Fischer:  Yup!

Ricardo Miller:  It’s how we deal with the adults.

Breaking Through the Barriers

Becky Fischer:  Yes!  Absolutely!  And my hope is that visit perhaps I can get to know them and they’ll start asking… I introduced myself to the Pastor today.  Because they were all coming out and just standing around on the outside.  And I said, “Would I be welcomed in your church?”  He said, “Of course!”  I mean, what’s he going to say?  So, I introduced myself as a children’s minister who travels around the world and all.  And my hope is–because there was a ton of kids at that church– what I saw. there was a ton of them– and they have a Sunday school.  They let me know about that Sunday school.  So, it’s apparently a small enough community where Sunday school still the thing.  I saw a lot of teenagers there, too.  And as I looked at the teenagers–now you can speak into this, Angela, both of you guys have teenagers right now–I looked at those teenagers, and I thought, “Wow!  Have they Americanized quickly!”  And that’s one the messages that I take to what I call “immigrant” churches.  Quite frankly, I don’t get invited into white churches in the United States anymore.  The last 3 or 4 years, when I get invited to speak in the United States, it’s to what I call, for lack of a better term, “immigrant churches.”   I’m invited into Russian churches, Korean churches, Chinese churches, Hispanic churches–no black churches.  But I guess they don’t know about me, right?  So, they need to find you.

Angela Marks:  Yeah.

Becky Fischer:  But, you know, it’s all immigrant churches. Indonesian churches.  When I speak in United States anymore, I speak through an interpreter, no matter where I go.  And so, I don’t know why I brought that up.  That’s just a part of my world, I guess.  Maybe that’s why I’m a little sensitive to suddenly realizing, “Wait a minute!  What are we doing here?”  You know, because I’m concerned about these black children who are growing up.  You’re talking about them transferring into adulthood.  And now the stigma comes.  And I’ll look at that, and I’m not even thinking about the stigma.  I’m thinking about, “Oh, God!  The world is capturing their hearts within the coming generation, within the coming country.

Ricardo Miller:   Let me…I need Angela to help me with this, because I’m International to some degree.  And so, you keep saying something.  I want to make sure to help you, for those of you guys that are watching.  Because, as you say, there are some people who will try to take a snippet of what you say, “those black children.”  The term “black” spoken from a white person oftentimes is misunderstood or mislabeled.

Angela Marks:  Yeah!

What Should I Say?

Ricardo Miller:   So, a lot of times, you may just want to go ahead and say “African-American.” 

Becky Fischer:  Okay.  You said that correction earlier.

Ricardo Miller:  Versus…I don’t see “black” people.  I went to Walmart.  I saw some “black” people.  There are some African Americans that will take offense. Did she just say “black people”? 

Angela Marks:  Right!

Ricardo Miller: That’s what they are, but you saying it, as a white person…It’s almost politically correct—Angela, you can help me with this—to be able to say, “I was at Walmart, and I saw more African Americans.”

Becky Fischer:  Okay.  But they’re not African Americans!  I don’t know how to distinguish the “African” Africans!  From the African Americans!  That’s where I’m at right now!  So, is “black” the new “N-word”?

Angela Marks:  Nooooooo, I think it has a lot to do with the hearer. 

Ricardo Miller:  Yeah, it does.

Angela Marks:  And that’s where you have to tread lightly. So, to say “black” to me doesn’t bother me.  That depends on the who the listener is.  And so, to say “black” to me does not offend me.  To say “African American” to me does not offend me.  But there are other people that it may offend.  Especially in the realm of where we are right now.

Ricardo Miller:  Yes!

Becky Fischer:  Okay.

Angela Marks:  It will be very offensive to some people.  Ricardo’s right.

Becky Fischer:  Okay.

Ricardo Miller:  I agree.  So, I think it’s rooted out of the pain of the past.

Angela Marks:  Yes.

Becky Fischer:  Okay.

Ricardo Miller:  And the language being expressed from the person in the present, via that of a white person, how they’re saying what they’re saying is just sort of like a shock.  What did you just say?  Did she say “black”?  Come on!  Right?  And there’s some people, once again, they’re carrying the pain.  You know the Bible says, “Guard your heart with all diligence.”

Becky Fischer:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:   And I believe that there are people who take on the offense.  That is not their offense, but they continue to carry it, because it was offensive.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.

Ricardo Miller:    It’s not that it’s your current offense.  When I came into this country, I met a lot of people who have just chosen to learn how, like Angela said, to walk into a space and say, “No, I’m not going to be that type of person.”  Now there are there a lot of people who have not chosen to take the time out to identify that not everyone who speaking in a certain way is speaking derogatory or trying to say something in a way that’s degrading.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Ricardo Miller:  And so, once again, like me.  I get introduced a lot as African American because I’m a person of color.  I’m a black man.  But, I understand where I’m at, okay?  I understand, so I just leave it as is. And so I think.  I have a senior pastor who’s white, our executive pastor’s white.  And I tell them…My senior pastor asked me a couple of weeks ago, “What is preferred to say?”  I said, “I think it’s just safe to say, especially in times like this, African American.” 

Becky Fischer:  Okay.

Ricardo Miller: You don’t want to say “a few of my black members.” 

Becky Fischer:  Okay.  Okay.

Ricardo Miller:  Somebody’s going to take offense to that.  Somebody’s going to take offense.  That is so unfortunate.  Once again, when you get to meet somebody, and you hear their heart. When you really get to build a relationship.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Ricardo Miller:  That’s what we need.  We need to cross the boundaries where we not connect.    I know that’s not who she is!  That’s not who he is!  And so forth.

Bridging the Gap

Becky Fischer:  So, what else do we need to know in the white community?  How do we bridge this gap, when we’re at we’re not going to churches?  North Dakota.  You know, we’re a very small population here.  We have grown.  When I moved here 35 years ago, there was only 500,000 people in the whole state.  I was told recently that it–because we have an oil boom going on up here.  So, a lot of people moved up here for the oil, for jobs.  It was at a time when jobs are hard to come by, and then with the new immigrants that are coming in–I have heard that we are now around 750,000 people.  So, we’re three quarters of a million people.  That’s a small city in most states, you know.  And so, like I said, there’s no churches that are mixing.  And so, I don’t know how I can help this myself.  So, anyway, speak to us what can we do?  And I’m troubled about this thing when they transition to adulthood and teenage years.  Attitudes.  I’m not aware of attitudes because I’m not exposed to it.   So I’m so concerned this is going on in the church.

Relationships

Angela Marks: Well, I think it’s a couple of things. One thing that Ricardo said…Ricardo said a whole bunch of stuff that was so good.  And this last thing that he just mentioned is so imperative.  And he said the word “relationship.”

Becky Fischer:  Okay.

Angela Marks:  And this is where it all begins.  It always starts and begins in relationship.   Relationships when we are genuinely to take the time to learn about each other, and to learn. Because somebody can look at you and judge you, and don’t anything about you.  I know, being African-American, and I have walked into a predominantly white church and been the only one, I know people judge me.

They didn’t know me, but they saw the color of my skin, and they prejudge me.  But then, those same people, after I kept mingling and interacting, seeing me more and more, they begin to develop a relationship with me and having conversation.  And I saw that they begin to change towards me.

Becky Fischer:  Hmmm.

Angela Marks:  And I think that is one of the things.  I truly have to say, and I really believe this, that when it comes to me being even known, even 0.2% known, in the children’s ministry realm,  it had a lot to do with KidMin Charlie.  It did!

Becky Fischer:  Really!

Angela Marks:   Other than that, I definitely believe that.  Not taking anything from God, because I know God was involved in it.

Becky Fischer:  Right!  Right!  Because He uses people!

Angela Marks:  But I have to say, if it had not been for me and him being able to take a photo together, that I would not have had the same response that I have now. I would also say, as well as you, being in a relationship with you.  I would not have had the same response from the white community as I do now.

Becky Fischer:  Wow!

Angela Marks:  It is all about relationships.  And I believe when people see us, as the children’s ministry leaders, been being able to cross over into each other’s areas, and love on each other, and support each other and build each other up, and become a team. Because our entire goal is to see this generation on fire for God.  That’s our goal!

Becky Fischer:  That’s it!

Angela Marks:  And we want to see not only they’re on fire for God in the spirit, we want to see their lives–in every area–and when they go to school, when they’re at home.  You know–when they progress in careers.  When they go and be kingdom creators.    

Becky Fischer:  Yes! Yes!

Angela Marks:  Creating things.  We want to see God in all of it. And when we decide to have the same… when we recognize that we have one common goal, and it doesn’t matter where we’re placed.  That we have relationship.  Then we can move together as a force.   I know recently, I have a friend–she’s amazing, and she kind of double-booked herself on a Sunday.  So, she called, and she said, “Angela!  Okay. I need your help.  Can you go teach my children’s church while I go do this over here.”  Now, she’s Hispanic.

Becky Fischer:  Wow!

Angela Marks:  She’s one of my closest friends, too.  She’s Hispanic, and she is Church of God.  And I said, “Yeah.  Well, I’m not teaching or anything.”  So, I go over there.  Now, before I went, I think the day before, I went to the church.  White pastor.  Awesome guy.  He allowed me to tour the facility, and he took me anything I needed. I mean, they hooked me up.  They showed me where everything was.  So, Sunday comes.  Me and my son goes, and we come into the church and everybody’s in there.  And no, they don’t look like me.  When I get to the children’s church facility, none of the kids look like me!  But you could not tell any different.  Those kids loved me, played with me, laughed with me, hugged me as if I was her.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah!!

Angela Marks: And it’s because, I believe, those that had that ministry, before she got there, fostered that type of thing.  I really believe that. And I think when we begin to not show partiality and we begin to make up.  Because it starts with the leader, I truly believe.  One thing we have to do as leaders is we have to look into ourselves and say, “Okay.  Is there any prejudice in me?”  My son brought this to my attention.  Because he went he went to a Catholic School in the eighth grade—actually, a middle school.

Becky Fischer:  Okay.

Angela Marks:  And then, ended up going to a high school at a multi-cultural church, Umatilla Christian High School.  And we were talking and we were sharing all this stuff because he has been in both areas.  He said, “Mom, as a leader you have to be able to look within yourself and find out if there are any prejudices.  Why?  Because if you do have other kids coming in, that that prejudice going to rise up somewhere, sometime or another.”  And so, before you can begin to cross over and have children in your children’s ministry, or as a leader going out into other ministries, you’ve got to dig deep and say, “Is there anything in me that when I see a person I’m going to judge them?”

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.

Angela Marks:  Because that’s where it all starts, right?   

Exposing Our Hearts

Becky Fischer:  You know, you bring up an interesting point.  Because it’s whole thing that’s being exposed in the church right now has really brought some things to light in my own heart. And I am not aware of any prejudice because of the color of somebody’s skin , but I have begun to realize prejudice runs very deep in me in areas I had never thought about before. Let me share an example.  We talked about Jim Crow, and that was in the 50s and the 60s, and all of that.  I don’t have any exposure to that.  But, as a child in the fifties, I’ll tell you who I have grown up struggling with prejudice against.  And that’s the Russians, because I was a little girl, Nikita Khrushchev beat his shoe on the table of the United Nations and said to the Americans, “We’re going to bury you!”  And we used to have bomb drills where the school children would have– like we have fire drills now, so you know your way of escape if your school starts on fire.  They would have bomb drills where the children would have to learn how to get underneath their tables in case we got bombed by the Russians.  And all of that.  And so, to this day ,when I’m listening to the news, –and I will hear something and it should be no surprise that I’m probably–not probably– I am ultra-conservative on almost any issue you want to name—( which is also interesting running with the African American communities because we have differences there) and man, you gotta lay that down.  Because what I recognize when the news comes on, it’s not just the Russians.  Let’s talk about Hispanic immigration.  I will hear things.  And I have begun to realize that I have second-hand offense over at a number of different nationalities.  It has nothing to do with their skin color, but has to do with political issues.  It has to do with news.  I have had to cut back on listening to news like you can’t believe.

Angela Marks:   Yeah.

Becky Fischer:  Because I am picking up second-hand offense.  And when I listen to the news and they’ll say something about this people group or that people group.  Or right now it’s the Chinese.  Oh, they gave us this covid-19, didn’t they?  You know, just look at what that terrible leader’s doing over there!  And I will just sit there. I’m sitting here quietly in my home, and they’ll say something, and I’ll feel this rising up on the inside, you know. 

Angela Marks:  Hmm-mm.

Becky Fischer:  And I didn’t even know it was there.  But the Holy Spirit is putting His big fat finger on all kinds of areas where I have been walking in prejudice.  Not color of the skin prejudice, but prejudice on all levels.  So, this thing is really waking me up.

Ricardo Miller:  Wow!  It’s amazing you said that!  Earlier this year I took –I don’t have any tv in my home, okay– in the morning I do 30 minutes of use, and then what I will do is I’ll Google different, pull up some news reports, and read during my study time. I’m sitting on my patio. I’m deciding to pull in the information of this or that.  I’m not doing 24-hour news.   I’m not doing this because what you just said is so right. 

Angela Marks:  Yeah.

Ricardo Miller:   There are a lot of believers who–your heart is to please God,–but your conditioning has been built around the offenses of this world.

Becky Fischer:  Yup!

Flesh vs. Spirit

Ricardo Miller:  And so, the Bible says we are in this world but not of this world.  So, it’s very important for us to stay sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit to understand that everything that is being created, has been created to feed your flesh.

Angela Marks:  Mmmmm!

Ricardo Miller:  Your flesh is your opinion.  The flesh is your own desire.  How I like it.  And so we have a lot more “how I like it,” “how I see things,” “I’m going to be me,” and all of that.  And where that’s coming from is less of Him and it’s more of us. 

Becky:  Yeah.

Ricardo Miller:  And it’s because, like the food factor.  Pleasure food is not good for you.  But pleasure food is delightful!

Angela Marks:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:  I mean, c’mon!  If you look under the list of all pleasure foods, they are addictive.  They are literally.  You can eat fries constantly, pizza constantly, fried chicken constantly, cupcakes constantly, K-Cups.  And watch this.  And then you just yearn for them. But they built those for longing.  When the flesh has an element that literally has constructed itself in our world that allows us to have a yearning for those things that are of the world.  Then, what happens is we say, “I love God,” but we’ve been overtaken by the cares of this world.  So, my love for God is genuine in my expression to say it, but not in my application to construct for discipline on a daily basis.  To make sure that I am in the world, but not of the world.  So, watch this. I can go in a Starbucks, and I hear what’s happening, and I don’t take offense.  Like you said just now, Becky, on that of how people are dealing with this particular group and all that stuff.  Because, you’re like, that’s not the heart of God.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.

Ricardo Miller:  So, with you, I think you’re speaking from your sensitivity of God’s speaking to you.

Angela Marks:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:  And you’re saying, “I’m just going to take the lid off!”  I heard your opening, and I thought, “She is just going straight for it!”  And I think that’s the God in you, not caring about the opinion of the masses when it comes to their feelings and their selfish position.  Because, if we look at the text, if we look at kingdom of Christendom, the truth of the matter is the cares of this world has taken us and made it personal.

Angela Marks:  Yeah!

Becky Fischer:  You know what’s so surprising as I’m digging into this.   I never really thought of it in terms.  But, you know, I don’t know if “racial” is the right word.  But there is “ethnos prejudice” all the way back to the beginning of the Bible.  You think about, you know, even when Jesus died and was resurrected, and the church was founded on the day of Pentecost and all the rest.  I mean, Peter, who’s the leader of the Christian church, he was extremely prejudiced against the Gentiles.

Angela Marks:  Yeah!

Becky Fischer:    The Apostle Paul had to call him on the table ‘cuz when he would eat with the Gentiles until other Jews would come in, and then get up from that table and go eat with the Jews.  He wouldn’t sit with the Gentiles anymore.  And Paul called him out on it.

Angela Marks: Yeah!

Becky Fischer:  You are prejudiced!  He didn’t use that word, but that’s basically what he said.  You’re a hypocrite!  You’re living a hypocritical life here. And it’s been in the church since our birth.  I mean, we are so-o-o-o human, you know.  Everything that you’re saying, Ricardo, about when your children–whom everybody loves– and even adults.  Everybody loves the children.  Okay?  Somehow, we’ve been programmed to do that.

Ricardo Miller:  Yeah!

Becky Fischer:  Not just the African-American children.  It’s the Hispanic children, too. 

Angela Marks:  Yeah.

Becky Fischer:  They’re absolutely adorable.  But just wait till they become teen-agers, you know.

Ricardo Miller:  Yes.  Uh-huh.

Becky Fischer:  And we begin to see them in a different light.

Ricardo Miller:  Yup!

Being Intentional

Becky Fischer:  And there’s a built-in fear, all the rest of it.  And it’s just very, very interesting.   So, I don’t know.  We’ve actually gone a little overtime.  What else do we need to bring up and expose in the area of children’s ministry, because that’s where we are.  Like you said, we are interested in raising kingdom kids.

Ricardo Miller:  Let me give a quick three, and then Angela can drop in some “threes,” too.  Miss Angela!  All right?  My three would be…  I think from a children’s ministry perspective.  If you’re in a white church, a dominantly white church—you’re a children’s ministry leader from majority Anglo church.  I think, number one, I think move from just pushing the idea that black children, Hispanic children on your promotional material are only for mission projects.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Becky Fischer:  Oh, wow!

Ricardo Miller: Okay?  We put that image out there that they’re less, that they’re needy.  We put that image out there that lets just help them. It almost comes across like less fortunate.

Angela Marks:  Yes!

Ricardo Miller:  So that’s one.  Number two. I think when we promote, when we start doing promotion, I think it’s important that we don’t only put whites on our flyers. I think–I remember being a part of a number of national conferences—and I’ve gotten calls where they say, “Hey,man!  I notice they’ve got some African American and some other number of people on the flyers now!”  I think that’s important.  I think, even if your church is 99.9% white, if you want your congregation to be diverse, then your communication through your material needs to speak diversity.  Diversity is the future.  So, what you produce–your flyers, your brochures, your signs– you know.  Those things need to speak diversity and especially knowing that children are little bit more accepted when it comes to being in a mixed environment, we need to push it more in the adult materials that we’re producing.

So, if you’re going to attract African-Americans, if you want to attract Hispanics, go ahead, and from the adults standpoint, embrace it.  And then, last but not least.  If a person is qualified for it, they should get it.  There are a lot of churches where, you can be the qualified person for the role of director, but won’t get it because your skin color doesn’t indicate you should be the one overseeing that department.  Because we’re not so comfortable with that.   I think…Here’s what I’ve been teaching over the years.  What we all have to accept is we all naturally attract who we are.  Whenever you walk into a room, if you go to a prison, you go to a school, if you go to a community, you naturally attract who you are, okay.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah!

Ricardo Miller:   That’s automatic.  But what you have to do when you’re a leader, you have to decide, “I’m a leader and I want to have a diverse team.   I want to have a diverse department.”   Then I need to make sure that I don’t only pick who is attracted to me.  I have to now go outside of who naturally comes to me.  And I think that’s going to have to take place in children’s ministry.  And I think—last, but not least– the leaders of children’s ministry department need to be very intentional about being able to speak properly to “up.” That’s leadership above them, leadership across from them and leadership or people below them.  And a lot of times children’s  ministry leaders don’t know how to influence “up.”  So, with that said, so they say, well our elders, our deacon won’t allow that.  Well, you’re a leader, and leaders influence.  Leaders help to bring change.

Becky Fischer:  There you go!  Angela, what are your closing thoughts?

Angela Marks:  Well, he covered two of mine! 

Becky Fischer:  Okay.

We Need Each Other

Angela Marks:  So, check those off the list!  One of things I want to say, in terms of leadership, is that, as leaders, we need to befriend one another. So like one of the questions you always have to ask, “Do I have an African-American friend in my circle?” Do I have an African-American friend in my circle that’s not a friend of them because I needed African-American friend, but I’m a friend of them because I want to build a relationship with some people.  I want to build a relationship with someone that I can help understand and get to know.  That’s one of the things. I think, also, for us to be able to cross over into each other’s environment.  I want to see this in my denomination, as well.  You know, I feel like we can be more progressive in the area of understanding that Sunday school is not the begin in all.  But I can’t do that by myself, especially when you have a whole board of Bishops that you have to stand before and try to minister something that you know without a shadow of a doubt works!

Becky Fischer:  Yeah!

Angela Marks:  But when you’re the only one that’s fighting on the battlefield for it, it can get lonely.  We need other people.  We need others to come along board…

Becky Fischer:  Yes!

Angela Marks:  To stand and say, “You know what, this works!”  And I just don’t want people that look like me to do it.   I want all of us to come together to say, “We tried it.  We believe in it.  And we have the proof in the pudding to know that children can be moved by the Holy Spirit!”  It’s a battle that I fight on a consistent basis.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah.  So do we all.  We all do.  The battle is just as real in the white churches as it is in your churches.  You know, that’s another discussion.  But, yes.

Angela Marks:  And I think that we’re better together in this fight.

Ricardo Miller:  That’s the statement!

Angela Marks:   For our children, we are better together.  And I truly believe, that as much as I can learn from you, you can learn from me.

Becky Fischer:  That’s right!

Angela Marks:  And so, I think that that’s another thing.  Also, Ricardo touched on, you know, the images.   I told you when we talked before.

Becky Fischer:  Yeah, this this was brought up on the group on Facebook.

Angela Marks:  Yeah, that I literally have to go on KIMI and pull off images of African American children worshipping, because that don’t images are not available online.  They’re not available.

Becky Fischer:  Those are not African Americans!  They are Africans!

Angela Marks:   But I was able to find a few African American kids.  A few that you had.  But, because the one of the main things is that our kids don’t see themselves.  Especially when you’re in our churches where that is not common to see children.  That’s why it baffles me when I go on Facebook and I see videos of kids worshipping, and I see all these comments.  And I’m like, that’s normal.  That should be normal.  We shouldn’t be blown away by that.  But our kids don’t see each other, they don’t see other kids that look like them doing that. So that’s why I have to use those images, and in our curriculum.  And another thing, in the music, in the worship music.

Becky Fischer:  Ohhhhh! Yeah!

Angela Marks:  When I go, when I pull up videos, it’s like…

Becky Fischer:  They’re all white!

Angela Marks:  They’re all white!   So we have to be more intentional in making sure that we represent Kingdom in our material, in our images, in what we produce.  Being a co-writer in our church, and having to write within a template of African-American, is a struggle for me.  But I said, “God, You would not have put me here if you didn’t want me to learn how to break down barriers.”  So I think it starts with our relationships.  It starts with us inviting each other to the table.  The other day I met with a white pastor of a multi-cultural church and we sat down–it’s still on my Facebook page– on Wednesday, and the topic of our conversation was “Sit at the table.”  And we talked about family, and the amazing part about it that what you talked about was when David invited Mephibosheth to the table.  And when he sat at the table,.

Becky Fischer:  Ahhh!

Angela Marks:   …you could not see his ailment.  Because, sitting at the table, everybody was the same.  And I want to end on this note.  When we all can come to the table, and we can sit at the table, and really make about what it’s about–children’s ministry– and let our colors go to the side, but be inclusive in the direction that we’re moving forward and we’re trying to go and let the Holy Spirit lead, I believe we can win this, you can definitely win.

Becky Fischer:  Amen!

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