Soma and Saturate affirm the image of God and inherent dignity of all people regardless of ethnicity. We long for a fuller expression of the true reality of the church created in Christ. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father: Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We know that one day we will fully realize this. Until then, we both pray and work to live into that reality today. Jesus has removed the dividing wall of hostility and created one, new, multi-ethnic family. This beautiful truth of human equality is a profoundly Christian ethic, and we worship and submit our lives to the God who declared it and then brought it about in Jesus Christ.
God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and given us a ministry of reconciliation. We follow Jesus’ humble example in the Incarnation. Jesus emptied Himself and came to our turf, becoming like us and making Himself a servant unto death for us. He removed every barrier so that we could be reconciled to God and one another.
As Soma churches, we are committed to remove any unnecessary cultural offenses to the gospel as we seek to be a welcoming community for all people in the places God has sent us. We love because Christ first loved us. We believe nothing short of love is the standard for how we treat African-Americans. To embody and express the love of God for all people, we intentionally pursue a multi-ethnic expression of the church that approaches the diversity of the average public school in each context. We know we still have a long way to go in seeing this realized in many cities.
As God’s children, we believe we are responsible neither to retreat from our culture nor to conform to it. Instead, we are to engage culture boldly, with humility, through the Spirit and the truth of the gospel as we seek its transformation and submission to the Lordship of Christ. God’s gospel purpose is holistic shalom for all peoples, and American culture still a long way from this inevitable future. So we have work to do.
As Soma and Saturate continue to partner with other churches in cities and regions throughout North America in the establishing of City Hubs, we intentionally work to build diverse bodies of leadership who work together to unify the church around the common mission of gospel saturation. We pray this leads to diverse leaders and churches praying together, training leaders and disciples together, planting churches together, and working for the common good in their cities together.
In light of the recent grievous unjust killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, we are engaging an intentional and proactive season of reflection.
We’re Listening & Learning – “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”― Epictetus. We, like many in America, have failed to do the work to come to know the fullness of the Black experience. We have much to learn from dialogue, books, and our records of the African American experience in the USA.
We’re Lamenting – When we listen to the oppressed, we see particular injustice, and we grieve. We watch videos of Black image bearers ruthlessly killed and grieve deeply. We are praying the Lament Psalms. Many of our churches are praying and fasting. We have been asking God for a more just society for African Americans.
We’re Repenting – We have been justified by Christ and yet we are still growing into the likeness of Christ. At times, we, individually or corporately, have not resembled Christ’s heart or actions towards African Americans. Jesus is proactive in love, but at times we’ve been apathetic or passive. Jesus’ love is costly and at times we’ve been unwilling to experience pain or inconvenience for the sake of our African American brothers and sisters. There are other ways we’ve individually sinned and are confessing those and seeking fruit in keeping with repentance.
We’re Proactively Looking to Be Advocates – We are taking a third position. We will follow godly, gospel-centered African American leaders as they follow Christ towards meaningful reforms and reconciliation. While we have some African-American leaders in our ranks, we are still less diverse than we would like. We don’t have the authority or experience to lead in this moment, but we will gladly follow. We have reached out to trusted African American leaders and will continue to follow their lead in the coming days.
We’re hopeful for the Church as we pursue this together. We’re committed for the long-haul because Christ is. We’re confident Jesus won’t stop until there is equality, even flourishing, for all peoples.