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What Dave Gibbons Taught Me About Racism, Courage, and the Power of Listening

Dave Gibbons shared important insight into reaching other cultures, the power of one verses the masses, learning from the locals and developing leaders on Episode 26 of the ChurchLeaders Podcast. I loved all these things. But what impacted me most were a few thoughts he shared toward the end of the interview.

How the Church Can Address Racism

“It’s not that we don’t see color, because God made color; he created it. We actually have to affirm the color, but also learn how to embrace the other,” said Gibbons.

We often say our vision is to love God and love our neighbor. He said, “Fundamentally, our neighbor is someone not like you.” Like in the story of the Good Samaritan, it was shocking to the Jews that a Samaritan would be loving. This was not someone they would have been comfortable with.

“I think that’s the beauty of the Gospel… It’s not a politically correct thing to do, but it’s actually the command He gave us. To love God and then symbiotically we need to love our neighbors; someone not like you. In that pursuit, I believe we see more of who God is.”

What’s Some Advice You Would Go Back and Give Yourself?

“Don’t be afraid to identify clearly and address your fears. Spend time considering how you want to embrace the fear and move on to courage,” Gibbons said.

“I didn’t even know how to articulate some of my fears. For example, the fear of man and how that worked out in how I did ministry because a lot of it was probably I would do things based on what people would say or think versus really dealing with that fear and moving forward in faith.”

And One More Piece of Advice

“Take the time to really listen to those who are in your hand. Because a lot of times you’re looking at reaching out so much and trying to reach your community, that already, in the context of your relationships, there are these jewels like the Samaritan woman, like Rahab and the fishermen.

There is somebody, probably within your reach, that you haven’t seen that’s golden. It’s not about “I wish I had this mentor or I wish I knew this leader.” It’s probably someone within your reach, that may not be famous, but they are the exact person to mentor you where you are right now.

And then go deep with them, hang out with them and learn from them. Instead of just talking a lot, I would ask a lot of questions and watch how they live.”

Listen to the Episode 26 with Dave Gibbons.

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Esther Laurie is a staff writer at churchleaders.com. Her background is in communication and church ministry. She believes in the power of the written word and the beauty of transformation and empowering others. When she’s not working, she loves running, exploring new places and time with friends and family. It’s her goal to work the word ‘whimsy’ into most conversations.