Having conversations about race in America in often uncomfortable. Today Daniel King and Evangelist Will Jones discuss some of the issues plaguing white America and black America. Michael Brown, George Floyd, the Tulsa Race Massacre…we talk about it all and discuss what God wants to see happen among the African American community.
Notes: God has given Will Jones a vision to conduct the “Ten Most Dangerous Cities in America Tour.” He wants to do an evangelistic outreach in each of the ten cities where there is the most crime and poverty in America.
How does the sin of racism continue to impact America?
What impact did the Tulsa race massacre have on the African American community in Tulsa?
Why is it important to confess the sin of racism?
Learn about Will’s plan to launch the “Ten Most Dangerous Cities in America Tour.”
For everyone who loves evangelism, The Evangelism Podcast (hosted by Evangelism Coach Daniel King) is a great resource.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Having conversations about race in America is often uncomfortable. Today. I talked to evangelist will Jones and discuss some of the issues. Plaguing white America, and black America, Michael Brown, George Floyd, the Tulsa race massacre. We talk about it all and discuss what God wants to see happen among the African American community.
Evangelism Podcast Host (00:24):
Jesus said go into all the world and preach the gospel. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Welcome to the evangelism podcast with Dr. Daniel King, where Daniel interviews, full-time evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and normal everyday Christians to discover how they share their faith, their powerful testimonies and amazing stories that will inspire you to reach people with the good news. And now here’s your host missionary and evangelist Daniel King.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:00):
Welcome to the evangelism podcast. I’m Daniel King. And I’m excited about telling people about Jesus. My guest today will Jones is an evangelist who is African-American. He grew up in East St. Louis. He went into basketball, got some scholarships, which pulled him out of that area, where he grew up in, and then he found that he was called to be an evangelist. And so now he is full time preaching the gospel, but he has a heart for reaching the African American community. So brother will thank you for being on the podcast with me today.
Evangelist Will Jones (01:39):
No, it’s awesome. Privileged to be on Daniel. Thanks so much for having me
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:43):
Right near East St. Louis, where you grew up is where the, the Ferguson riots took place a few years ago, after a young man named Michael Brown was shot by a policeman. And of course, everyone was upset about that. And right after that happened, do you, you participated in, in doing so some outreaches in that area, and then over the course of time, God brought you to Minneapolis, Minnesota. That’s where you live now. And right when you got here George Floyd was killed by some police and they had riots here. And so it seems like you are right in the middle of some of these areas that God has brought you to. And there’s a, a ferment of discontent sometimes that between different communities. So, so talk to me some about what you think is happening in the African-American community and what God wants to do among the African-American community here,
Evangelist Will Jones (02:47):
Here in America. Yeah. You know, I, as you think about all that’s happened since really, I mean, you can’t even look at just 2014. I think our country has almost been plagued with the, of injustices toward the people group of African-Americans. And it, it goes back to even the constitution of being three fifths of a person and having to man to page slavery, all the history that we can see. And these are, these are true facts about our history as a country. And so I heard one prominent preacher mentioned that the things that are happening today is really just kind of a, the fruit of the root in our country. I think it was Bishop TD Jakes who said that, and I love that the analogy he uses there because everything that that’s planted well, we’ll have some type of growth to it.
Evangelist Will Jones (03:40):
And unfortunately the fruit that we’re seeing in our country with this group of African-Americans is just the, the root of what’s been planted. And so with that though, I think out of the African-American history there are a lot of great things. You have a lot of people from WWII, the bullies to Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to, I can go on and on that understood about perseverance. They understood that challenges were going to come because of not just where they live, but who they were. And so with that being said, I think the, the, the foundation of God has been in the black community even tracing back to slavery. That’s how a lot of the slaves got through they got through. And because of that faith in God, there was always some type of great orator that Rose up, you know, Martin Luther King and several other leaders of our day that Rose up to be a prominent voice for black community no way shape or fashion saying that to me, but I do, I do feel God has put on my heart almost to be a Moses.
Evangelist Will Jones (04:53):
You know, Moses went back to his people and had great success with the, reaching them with the leading of the Lord. And so as you look at today, the decline of the church in the African-American community a lot of the churches that exist that were prominent back then 40, 50 plus years ago, maybe are not prominent now they don’t have influence to reach their community. You look at our, our justice system of incarceration. You know, the majority percentage of that is African-Americans, which leaves it a deficit in homes of a lack of fathers and sons grown up to be criminals. And so these are things that didn’t just happen through a people group. These are things that were that happened social economically and, and their systems of injustices that has caused it. And so the one thing I know and believe that can help change the heart of people is the gospel. And, you know, I grew up in the city that was full of crime, full of corruption. We moved to a city that was mostly white, but it had a flight of blacks in it. So then there was a white flight. And so there were a lot of injustices that I experienced as a kid gunpoint been pulled over by cops, been frisked, been roughed up. Like, I can give you so many stories
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (06:17):
And you’re a nice guy. Yeah, yeah. Let’s, let’s talk a little bit about the sin of racism, which racism is absolutely a sin. And we’ve dealt with this in the city where I’m from I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in Tulsa, one of the stains on our history is the Tulsa race riots, which now they’re saying it should really be called the Tulsa race massacre, because what it was, was a bunch of white people that went and murdered black people and burned down what they call black wall street. And so at that time there were businesses, they were very successful. The black community was doing really well in Tulsa. And then that entire area got burned down. And now there is, there’s a lot of poverty where an area that could have developed economically and brought hope and a future for people, it got burned down.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (07:18):
And so we’re still dealing with the injustice of that. And, and, you know, God loves everyone. I think that racism is absolutely a sin. We, we go over to Africa and Asia and, and, and, and, and South America. And part of our message is you are creating an image of God, God created you. Wonderful. God created you. Beautiful. You, you are valuable, you are special. God has a plan for you. But I, I think that sometimes that the African-American community here feels like people don’t think that they’re valuable and that sin of racism has caused a lack of trust between people. What, what do you think that we can do as ministers to help bring healing where there’s been hurt?
Evangelist Will Jones (08:15):
Yeah. You know, I would say, you know, as we look at the sin of racism that word even today has been, become so polarized and the nuances of it as to how people view it. You know, when, whenever you mentioned that word, many Christians get very defensive because we feel as though it’s an attack against our morale, but we also have to remember we’re, we’re Christians only because of God’s grace. And so we, we all were centers in some, in some circles, they say we still are centers, you know? But the reality of it is it still exists because since still exists. And so, you know, as we look at healing, I think, you know, you look at the scripture first, John one, one nine talking about the power of confession and a confession. A lot of times it’s only viewed in the context of when we’ve done something wrong, but we can also confess the good thing.
Evangelist Will Jones (09:10):
We can also confession a form of something that’s decorative. And I think when we look at addressing the sin of racism many leaders in our country have done a good job at this, but unfortunately it hasn’t permeated throughout the country as a whole, the evangelical church. I think we just have to really confess and acknowledge. I love that word confession first, John one nine, because it talks about to agree with God. And I think once we agree with God, that’s where healing really comes from that we can agree with God that we’ve done something that’s not in his sight morally, right. And his standard of righteousness has to live in our hearts as Christ followers. And like you said, we all are valuable. We are created an image of God. And regardless of how our culture, our socioeconomic narrative has brought us to believe about a certain group of people.
Evangelist Will Jones (10:03):
We can’t believe that based on what God says as Christians, we have to believe what God says as Christians and give people the benefit of the doubt to know that we’re all really have the same baseline regardless of where we come from. So I think acknowledging and confessing our sin of racism as a country is very, very huge. And then I would say also Daniel becoming aware not only of our sin, but of our blind spots. There’s a great resource by pastor miles and MacPherson out of California, that wrote a book on the third option. And it talks about the blind spots that we all have as people. And so I think being coming aware of our blind spots that, Hey, you may not be a racist outright overt, but you may be prejudice. You may have some prejudices that came from how you grew up in the narrative that was shaped of black people that was polarized on media, in different outlets as blacks being criminals or less than a lot of people have that narrative as white.
Evangelist Will Jones (11:09):
And it just really, it wasn’t even their fault. It was just the social economic aspect of the socialization that we live in. And so I think acknowledging our sins, becoming aware of our blind spots and then building relationships with people that don’t look like you don’t vote. Like you don’t think like you don’t live where you live which is a challenge for most of us because we live rather homogeneously. We only connect with people that look like us, think like us vote like us have the same type of things we have. And so I would say those are a few things that I would leave. People can take a step toward addressing the sin of racism in our country.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (11:50):
I think it takes a lot of humility to admit prejudice within oneself. And, and then to also say, I’m sorry, please forgive me. Yes, injustices have been done. Please forgive me. You know, I didn’t do it, but maybe my ancestors did it, you know, but despite what’s happened in the past, I think that we can live together. We can love one another. We can value and esteem one another, lift one another up. And I also think that God has a great plan for the African-American community here in America. And there needs to be new voices that rise up in order to, to speak into the African-American community and, and, and to pull them back to God. And, and we’ll, I think that you are one of those voices that, that God is rising up because there are some things that you can say as an African-American that I could never say that would not be accepted. And even sometimes things that you can communicate in ways that, that, that an evangelist like me who happens to be white would sometimes it would be difficult to earn the trust of the community to be able to, to really communicate. And so God’s put it on your heart to do outreaches in, in different parts of America. Tell, tell me about that and what you see that, that God wants to do.
Evangelist Will Jones (13:30):
Yeah. You know, I agree with you, I believe God is raising up key leaders that are African-American pastors and evangelist. And there are so many that have been doing a great job. I mean, we were just talking to one in Tulsa, pastor Mike Todd, and I can name several others, pastor Earl in Dallas, and just so many people. But particularly with the gifting of the evangelist these are communities that I’ve been processing and praying about probably for the last seven years. God put a vision on my heart back in 2013 to target the most 10 dangerous cities that in dangerous meaning the most crime and the unlikely places that people would want to go live. And several large publications, Forbes magazine times, you know, have statistics to FBI statistics, put these things out every year. And instead of people actually not wanting to go toward those communities, I think it’s the responsibility of the church to infiltrate those communities and not isolate them.
Evangelist Will Jones (14:37):
You know, there’s a lot of gentrification trying to happen in those communities. Well, these are just all forms of pushing out the issues of what’s happening in bringing in money as a solution. We know money is not the solution, it’s the gospel. And so we don’t demean, you know, other organizations that work socially and are doing a great job that are already being an asset in those communities. But yeah, so we’ve been processes at as a ministry team. What would it look like, you know, to go into the most 10 dangerous cities and do unique outreaches? What I mean by unique is African-Americans, don’t just come to large gatherings you know, we can throw stadium events that we’re kind of used to as evangelists in different countries or cities, but usually the attendance is very low for African-Americans. Part of it is because of a lack of trust.
Evangelist Will Jones (15:25):
And so I think I do have an advantage being black, being from some of those types of cities where I could identify. But I’m really excited because this year we’ve started to kind of really take an action step toward visioning and planning what would be our first city. We don’t know yet what that is, but we’re going to be praying as a team and we’re taking action steps to really assess how we can lay out this campaign. It could be a year what we do one a year in one major city for a tenure plan, or it could be two a year, four five-year plan. And so we’re just processing, but we’re really excited. My friend cause these churches that are there, they, they they’ve lost influence with the community. The youth that are coming up have a lack of resources in the education system.
Evangelist Will Jones (16:10):
And so we’ll have great partners that are partnered with us. People like convoy of hope different education organizations there’s abortion that is high in those areas as it has been in history for African-American communities. And we’re going to partner with a great organizations that want to come in and stop the abortions and, and help give women hope that have children. And so we’re really just really, really excited to go and reach these communities, but with an effort to also be a catalyst for church planting orcs, there are some church planting orgs we’ve been in talk with that want to send planters to those areas, to plant and do, bring something fresh and new to reach those new families that are arising in those communities.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (16:56):
So you want to do the 10, most dangerous cities in America and do evangelistic outreaches in those areas. What you’ve done some research, where are some of the places in America where there’s high crime, high poverty, where there there’s the greatest need?
Evangelist Will Jones (17:12):
Yeah, I mean, one is where I was, I used to live St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri is, I mean, I was just there recently and they’ve passed their, their, their most historic moment of homicides is almost 270 homicides in the city. That’s 350,000 people. So that’s very hot. You know, you got cities like Stockton, California which is, you know, maybe a couple of hundred thousand, 150,000, but a hundred plus murders a year homicides. You got cities like Baltimore, Maryland. Those are just to name a few. And these are cities that again, the police force and the government man, they’re working hard and, and attempting to make a great change and they’re doing it. But they’re, they’re, they’re wanting more partners to, to come in and help. And we’re just going to provide that spiritual component with the people that are already there, the churches and the leaders to again, be a catalyst for God to bring about a movement of seeing the African American community come to the forefront of being missional leaders.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (18:14):
Well, thank you will for being on the podcast, if someone’s listening and wants to help to support you. And in going into these 10, most dangerous cities in America, what is your website?
Evangelist Will Jones (18:26):
Yeah, they can find us on awakening M as in Mary, I N T l.org. So that again, that’s awakening M as in Mary and then I N T l.org. So awakening what we call mental dot org.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (18:42):
Well, I believe that God is raising you up to be a voice and an evangelistic voice, and your voice is much needed and valuable. And so I value you and Jan and, and my friendship with you. And I’m just so excited about what God is doing through you and your ministry. Thanks for being on the podcast.
Evangelist Will Jones (19:00):
Thank you. Daniel was always a privilege to spend some time with you, my friend.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (19:05):
Wow. It was so good to have will Jones on the evangelism podcast today. What a tremendous ministry he has. If you’re listening, I’d like to ask you to subscribe to our podcast. And also if you could go to iTunes and find the evangelism podcast and leave us a review, those reviews help other people who are excited about evangelism. Find this podcast. God bless you
Evangelism Podcast Host (19:33):
For more information about how to share your faith or to financially support our worldwide evangelistic outreaches. Visit King ministries.com. Again, that’s King ministries.com.