John Jenkins is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, located just outside of Washington, D.C. Under his leadership, the church has grown from 500 members to over 11,000. Jenkins is the chair of the NAE board, previously serving as vice chair. He also chairs the boards of Project Bridges and The Skinner Institute, and is chairman emeritus for SHABACH! Ministries. In addition he serves on many other boards, including World Vision U.S., Denver Seminary and GlocalNet.
In Today’s Conversation podcast, Pastor John Jenkins describes how the African American church has overcome challenges and stayed the course. He notes the historic role of the Black church in the civil rights movement and how that model can inspire us to action. John candidly shares about his experience as a Black man in America.
NAE President Walter Kim and Pastor Jenkins also discuss:
- Why the most recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others have stirred people in new way;
- How Pastor Jenkins’ church approaches collaboration with churches of different ethnicities;
- How to respond to narratives like “anyone can pull themselves up by the bootstraps”; and
- What is needed for the Church and our country to right racial wrongs.
Read a Portion of the Transcript
Walter: What gives you hope in these challenging days?
John: I was asked that question recently, and I almost couldn’t answer it. I broke down in tears. What gives me hope? I wish I could say that it was the Church. That’s probably what made me cry. It makes me think about it even today that the Church has been absent and vacant. The Church has been silent and quiet. The Church has been unseen, and it has brought tears to my eyes.
If I can be honest with you, my hope today is in these young people — these young adults who have grabbed a hold of the vision of unity. They’ve grabbed a hold of what Dr. Martin Luther King said that there would come the day when Black children and white children will sit together and play together. They’ve grabbed a hold of it, and they’re actually doing it.
They don’t have the prejudices and the racism and the hesitations that their parents and grandparents had. They don’t walk with that. My hope, my joy, my excitement is to see how they are walking it out. They’re marching together and protesting together and crying together and praying together. They’re walking it out unlike their parents and grandparents. That’s actually where I get excited, but I wish I could say it is the Church of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened.
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- First Baptist Church of Glenarden
- NAE Racial Justice Resources
- Video Message from NAE Leaders on Racial Justice & Equality
- NAE Addresses Racial Unrest, Calls to Action — May 29, 2020 press statement
Today’s Conversation is brought to you by Christian Community Credit Union.