Labels aren’t helpful – especially when they keep us stuck in negative situations or believing negative messages.  On this latest edition of Connecting Faith, we dig into a discussion of labels as they relate to race and faith in America, and hear words of hope about reconciliation and transformation with pastor and author Derwin Gray. Gray is founding pastor of the multi-ethnic congregation called Transformation Church, and author of the book . Here’s where our conversation leads:

Pastor Derwin shares his story of coming to faith in Jesus, noting that if you’re not worshiping Jesus, you are worshiping something else. He says that he came to faith at the mountaintop of his life, while playing in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts. God used a teammate to minister to him.

What do our friends and neighbors expect out of a Christian? Derwin says they don’t expect Christians to be perfect,  but they do expect them to be authentic.

It’s time for us to put down our preferences and take up our crosses. But how do we get started? Derwin believes it starts with leadership.

Our music in church won’t always please everyone stylistically, but it should be Christ-centered. In our preaching, we need to teach the text of what the Bible says.

When it comes to labeling those who are different than us, we don’t need much practice.

“As human beings we do a pretty good job at labeling others based on our fears.”

Derwin believes that we ought to be aiming for an attitude of being “color-blessed” instead of “colorblind”.

Our focus should be on faithfulness and being healthy.

“If we focus on the depth of our ministry, He’ll focus on the impact of our ministry.”

How do we move from being “religious” to “grace-covered”? Derwin says religion is man’s attempt to reach God according to a set of standards, while grace is the recognition that we can’t do it without God.

“Christianity is about receiving something, not about achieving something.”

Highlight: Grace and religion

Removing the label

You can dig deeper on Derwin’s message via his interview on Faith Radio’s Real Recovery here.