In the summer of 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s death and civil unrest in our country, we convened the Imago Dei Task Force — a diverse and representative group of church members to discuss these matters, ask the tough questions, and recommend action points for Houston’s First. Instead of just denouncing or declaring on social media about sin in the world, we desired to delve into the scriptures to bring greater unity to the body of Christ, personal growth, and greater glory to God.
We trust the supremacy of Jesus, not the supremacy of any person or race. The Lord brings joy and changes people’s hearts, worldviews, priorities, and actions. Believers in Christ are called to grow in their faith, walk in forgiveness and the full life Jesus provides. Change is possible. What someone’s family line believed or lived out in previous generations is not projected upon the current individual and, thankfully, even a personal history of racism can be severed and forgiven by the Gospel. Jesus changes our hearts. We all need the grace of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We are grateful the Lord looks at the individual heart, not the ethnicity or background of a person. As a result, we should not place assumptions and labels upon one another (1 Samuel 16:7). God calls us to live together in unity and mutual respect. Each individual speaks for themselves through their words and actions, not for the entirety of their ethnic group. For example, the sinful actions of one person cannot be assumed to be true of all others who may share their ethnicity. Each person is personally accountable to God.
As a church, we are for what the Bible is for and against what the Bible is against. Our desire is to grow spiritually and practically through the lens of biblical discipleship and wisdom.
Pastor Gregg Matte
We trust the supremacy of Jesus, not the supremacy of any person or race.— Pastor Gregg Matte
Embracing that we are all made in the image of God, the Imago Dei Task Force at Houston's First Baptist Church encourages and empowers followers of Jesus Christ to humbly listen to and learn from others’ unique experiences. By doing so, we live out His command to love one another — and give testimony to His sacrificial love.
1. What are Houston's First's thoughts on racism?
6. What is the purpose of this endeavor?
Our purpose is to faithfully teach biblical principles so we can honor God and love our neighbors well. This is one of the
, most polarizing topics in our country and far past man’s ability to solve. We hope this attention and teaching helps to shed biblical light to knit our church closer together, and allow us to reach out to our neighbors with the love of Christ.
Our purpose is to faithfully teach biblical principles so we can honor God and love our neighbors well.— Imago Dei Task Force
On June 1, 2020, Pastor Gregg Matte and our three Campus Pastors hosted an online Night of Prayer for The Nation. The date fell in the middle of a season of unrest and anxiety in our nation following the brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis.
As the nation, the church, and individuals grapple with why and how this and other senseless deaths can happen, Pastor Gregg, Jason, Malcolm, and Lee call upon the Lord for wisdom and healing. Listen to their individual contributions below, or view the entire discussion here. In addition, a curated list of related resources is provided for your reference.
As always, you can share your prayer requests with Houston's First here, by texting PRAYFIRST to 81411, or by calling 713.335.6456.
NOTE: Lee Hsia joined the staff of Evangelism Explosion in North Carolina full-time in the spring of 2021. Our Downtown Campus Pastor now is Leon Brooks III.
Moments from Pastor Gregg's message on June 7, 2020
Amid reports of riots across our nation, Pastor Gregg shared these thoughts in the fall of 2020. You can watch his message here, and read a version of it here.
The Imago Dei Task Force is comprised of the following lay members, deacons, and staff members representing each of our campuses: