In light of our calling to identify, repent, and resist oppression and injustice against His image bearers, here is how we intend to proceed amidst the current injustices occurring in our country.

Pray, Listen, and Learn: We desire to be a prayer-dependent people: seeking the Lord for wisdom, peace, and direction. We also want to listen to our Black brothers and sisters. We hope to understand their life experiences better, listen to their perspectives that are different from our own, and strengthen our faith experience of unity amidst diversity. And as we listen, we also hope to learn more about racism — what it is and how it occurs in ways that we have not seen or previously understood. A great place to start is with ARBC’s EQUIP podcasts on race conversations (Listen here). See also this Prayer Guide and the Resources page for more tools to help start the conversation.

Respond to God: We believe individual responses to God during this season will vary. Some will grow in wisdom and understanding while others might move toward true grief and repentance. Either way, God calls Christ-followers to weep with those who weep and bear the burdens of those who have experienced loss, oppression, and injustices. Therefore, we must intentionally follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to respond individually and corporately to Him.

Live Out What We Believe: Living out what we believe means proclaiming the good news of the gospel while putting it into practice. We believe everyone is created in the image of God, so we value and care for every person because God values and cares for every person. We believe that the gospel of Jesus changes hearts and lives, so every time we direct people to Jesus and see peoples’ hearts move toward Him, we begin the task of combatting all manifestations of sin, including racism. Click here for some small but tangible ways that Scripture can help guide you as you live out what we believe as Christ followers.

We desire that all who call Austin Ridge home would embrace and engage in each of these first three points. For some, God is leading you to step in and be a part of the solution. 

Act: Some of you will be called to step in and be an active part of the solution to racial injustice. As a church, we are committed to both an immediate and long-term action plan. Why? So that we can live as salt and light more effectively in our city and around the world. For Austin Ridge, being ambassadors and advocates of hope in areas of injustices in the world is not new. This work is a part of our church’s mission to pursue people at all costs so that they can know Jesus, grow in Him, and serve Him daily.

We hope to add future opportunities to our existing engagement among the vulnerable in the Black and minority communities. You can engage now in leadership development among Austin-area students through our partnership with Young Life and with under-resourced kids in after-school programs through Side By Side Kids. We also work in local prisons with God of Hope Ministries.

We admit that this step, “Act,” is very much a work in progress. However, through the previous three steps, we believe that our obedience will result in action, both within our church family and in our community. James made it clear: faith without works is dead. So as we pray, listen, learn, and respond to God, we will develop tangible steps for our church to respond obediently to God’s call.

One Final Encouragement

Finally, we ask that you extend grace and patience to each other as we navigate this conversation. This is new to many, so the journey will get messy at times. But we believe that having these conversations are good and that they honor the Lord.

Thank you for being a part of Austin Ridge and for walking together on this important journey.