Many of you are now well aware of what’s been happening the past few weeks and what happened April 27. All of our hearts are saddened and broken, and a lot of us are wondering, “What can we do to help?” And I want to give you a few things that I think could be truly and really helpful.
The first thing is you could really pray. Like, really pray. Not Facebook that you’re praying. Not tweet that you’re praying. Not have a sentiment that you’re praying. But really pray.
Churches, why don’t you gather and have a special hour of prayer? Small groups, community groups, whatever groups you call them, y’all should get together and really pray. Dedicate a few hours to prayer. Get your people to fast and pray. We believe that if we, the people of God, call on God, then He will heal our land. And that’s what we need. We need to lead in prayer, so I want to challenge you to do that.
The second way you can help is in not being divided. Most of us probably need to get off of Twitter and Facebook and get on our faces. And be careful of the potential divisive rhetoric.
The third way you can help is by resourcing us. As the team strategist of the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, I oversee church planting there. There are a lot of church plants here in our city. There are more than 60 churches in the Baltimore Baptist Association, led by director of missions Bob Mackey, and we are on the ground here, doing the clean-up and doing the work and meeting people.
And long after the cameras and the SWAT teams and the police are gone, the people will still be here, and we need to rebuild. And the church needs to drive the bus and not sit on the side and watch it pass by. So we need your prayers. And we need your resources. We will use the money you send to resource the local churches so they can do the job that Jesus has commanded them and commissioned them and given them the authority and the gifts to do.
The last thing, some of you may need to actually get on a bus or in your car or on a plane and come join a local church – like, for good. This could be a call for some of you to move permanently to Baltimore, permanently plant your roots like many of us have done and fall in love with the city that Jesus is deeply in love with.
We believe that God is great. We believe God is doing great things. And there is an opportunity, a window of a lifetime for us to step into and let our light shine. My invitation to you is to respond to that window. We got one chance to do this. Let’s do this.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This Call to Prayer, with Baltimore pastor Michael Crawford, is adapted from the Love Baltimore website of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. In an April 28 video at bcmd.org/lovebaltimore, Crawford, as the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network’s team strategist for church multiplication, outlined ways Southern Baptists can be part of Baltimore’s healing after rioting marred the city over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in police custody.)