DR. DEBRA ALLEN
On May 25, 2020, the world witnessed the senseless, cruel, death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Anyone can replay the death captured on camera and understand that people are shaken. Reality hit all of us in the face and we can no longer ignore the cry for help that reached the ears of God. George Floyd was not the only one that has died at the hand of racism. The list can go on and on. But his death, I believe, was a wakeup call for all. A clear message is being sent that enough is enough. People want answers, solutions, and change. What is happening now cannot be fixed with a Band-Aid; it requires surgery to get to the root cause of the problem. I also believe it is a clarion call for the church. It is an opportunity for us to take a stand and lead the charge. We need to let our voice be heard on the matter at hand. Racism is about dominance and it goes against creation. The first place to start is with the “image” problem.
CREATED IN HIS IMAGE
In Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” If we consider the likeness of God, we would look in the mirror or look in the face of others, and see God. Being created in God’s image declares that we are human with the breath of God in our lungs. We have been given life and we should always value it. If we obey the scripture, we would not try to dominate each other. Adam was told to have dominion over the animals, fowls, fish and every creeping thing. If people understood, respected, and adhered to the fact that we are created in God’s image and His likeness, some of the problems of today like hatred, jealousy, prejudice, strife, and racism would cease. But people, in general, don’t have a clue nor care. It is our responsibility, as the church, to deliver a clear and understandable message on this gift of life that comes from the love of God. Love never fails.
TO LOVE GOD IS TO LOVE HIS PEOPLE
Earth is in a crisis. What are we going to do? We are going to share with people God’s unconditional love. The message and the demonstration of love must be the same. Jesus answered the question regarding the greatest commandment. His response in Mark 12:30-31 was: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” There is none other commandment greater than these. Our love for God must fuel our passion to love and help His people.
We are God’s ambassadors in the earth. I believe this can be the church’s finest hour as we rally the intercessors, the ministers, and teams in the church and train them to deal with social and emotional issues. We need to have a plan and work the plan. Developing a good plan of action requires us asking the right questions.
Some of those questions are:
1. WHAT ARE THE ISSUES AND HOW CAN WE ADDRESS THEM?
2. HOW CAN WE, THE CHURCH, THE BODY OF CHRIST,
HELP THE PEOPLE HEAL?
3. ARE THERE ANY CHANGES THAT WE NEED TO MAKE IN OUR LOCAL CHURCH STRUCTURE CONCERNING DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION?
4. HOW DO WE MODEL HEAVEN HERE ON EARTH?
5. WHERE DO WE BEGIN TO DEAL WITH UNITY AND RACIAL RECONCILIATION?
For change to occur, there must be more open discussions at the dinner table, in the workplace, in our families, in our neighborhoods, in our communities, and in all places in which we have influence. The church representatives must be at the table where decisions are made and policies are formed. There are many barriers that must be torn down. We must be willing to take a risk. We are change agents and there must be change. Let’s seek God’s face continually as to what we can do to make things better. Let’s support change. Let’s instigate change. Let the change of the new creature in Christ that permeates our lives motivate us to help others change.
As CEO of New Hope World Outreach, I participate in a meeting of CEOs of nonprofits that are funded by a local agency. The goal is to have honest and difficult conversations about race relations, white supremacy, and systemic bias internally as well as externally. We meet every two weeks to discuss the sensitive issues of racial relations and to assess the workplace climate. The ultimate goal is to share ideas and collectively form solutions to the problem.
An educator by profession, Dr. Debra Allen has over 30+ years of experience in higher education teaching and administration. She is a motivational speaker, visionary, facilitator, grant writer, and church planter. Dr. Allen is the CEO and Founder of New Hope World Outreach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with two campuses in Georgia. She provides oversight for The Sanctuary International Ministries in Florida.
Through her business, Strategic Resources and Solutions, Dr. Allen conducts seminars in grant writing, leadership development, church governance and management. Her greatest love is the study and teaching of the Word of God and imparting that love to her students.
She is the author of the book, Forty Days of Prayer Thy Will Be Done and Reach Destiny Awaits. Forty Days of Prayer is filled with inspirational messages to help one grow in his or her prayer life and relationship with God. It is a journey designed to lead the reader through discovery and renewed confidence in the fact that God does answer prayer. In the book Reach, Apostle Allen explains from the Word and experience, the restoration and healing process that takes place when one embraces the truth of God’s Word. Reach is about relationship and the simple message of faith, trust, and perseverance that can help one overcome any obstacles in life.
Added to Dr. Allen’s accomplishments in life are two beautiful daughters, Dr. Stephanie Jones, a veterinarian in Ft. Lauderdale and Dr. Chandria Jones, a Senior Research Director for Westat in Rockville, Maryland. Apostle Allen is also raising her niece, Diondra who came to live with her in 2011.