Chuck Mingo 0:01
You know, have you created a space in your church for people who are impacted by these issues to process and heal? What does your pastoral and care ministry look like? Does it represent? You know, again, does is it diverse enough to represent where people might be coming from so that they can be pastored and cared for by someone who might be able to relate to their lived experience? I mean, these are, these are things that are and again, it's it isn't about quota. It's about ministry. You know, I mean, I always tell people like your church, your like your church should aspire to be as diverse as your community.
Laura Howe 0:40
From Hope Made Strong, this is The Care Ministry podcast, a show about equipping ministry leaders and transforming communities through care. Supporting those in your church and community not only changes individuals lives, but it grows and strengthens the church. But we want to do that without burning out. So listen in as we learn about tools, strategies and resources that will equip your team and strengthen hope. I'm Laura Howe and today we are honoring Black History Month and I have the privilege of talking with Chuck Mingo, founder and CEO of Undivided. Now undivided is a program that takes participants through life changing moments of racial healing. What started out as a congregational training tool is now a national movement, with hub cities emerging throughout the entire country. And having grown up in the inner city of Philadelphia, Chuck's educational opportunities and childhood community gave him the opportunity to engage with a lot of different backgrounds, people with various races and lifestyles and experiences. And this planted the seeds that grew a passion for justice and racial reconciliation. Now Chuck went to university for business, not for ministry, and joined the corporate world specializing in developing training programs and leading sales team. But his reputation wasn't just about financial results. Although he was successful. He was actually awarded the Servant Leadership Award for his character, humility, and empathy and leadership. This training was a perfect fit for building the kingdom. And he finally answered that call in 2007, when Chuck left his corporate job to join the team at his local church, where he still serves today.
Chuck Mingo 2:31
It was not my decision, it was it was a calling. And and of course, that led to me making a decision, but it really was a calling. My joke is that when I was in college, I was a Finance and Investment Management major, who had an internship with Procter and Gamble big company out of Cincinnati, consumer packaged goods company. And so I wanted to be Lara on the cover of Black Enterprise magazine. That was my vision for myself, I was super successful business guy doing business things. And I was pursuing that. And part of the process of promotion in Procter and Gamble was moving to Cincinnati. And when I moved to Cincinnati, this is this would have been toward the end of the year 2000. So the internet was a thing, but particularly churches on the internet wasn't really a thing.
Laura Howe 3:16
We are a little behind sometimes.
Chuck Mingo 3:20
Sometimes, sometimes. So I did an internet search, and I found two churches in Cincinnati, you know, I, I've been a person of faith follower of Jesus. And so for me, I knew I was gonna join a church. What I couldn't have known was that the church that I got led to in Cincinnati would have such a dramatic impact on not just my life as a follower of Jesus, but my vocation. So in all honesty, before I left Philly, which is where I was living before I moved to Cincinnati, I knew I was called to be a pastor, I had run from that call, obviously, through business. From that call, I didn't go to seminary, went to business school. But I think I got to a point where I just realized, you know, this is what God had called me to do. And so at the small church that I grew up in, back in Philadelphia, I'd been doing some preaching and teaching and some other things. Got this opportunity moved to Ohio, I really felt like okay, well, that's a calling that maybe it's for later. And it kind of was and so you know, I learned so much to being a PNG loved being in corporate spaces, and just, you know, the skills you gain the experience. You know, the money was good, the money was good. Turns out it was good. And so I got the crossroads. And about a year into moving to Cincinnati, I proposed to my then girlfriend, now wife, and so she moved to Cincinnati. She was also from the East Coast. And then in a couple years, my pitch to her was, if you marry me, and we moved to Cincinnati, it's like prison. I'll be there for two years and I'll get out on good behavior and then we can move anywhere else in the country United States Cincinnati.
Laura Howe 4:55
I was gonna say how do you sell Cincinnati no offense, if anyone's listening from Cincinnati.
Chuck Mingo 5:04
The biggest how was getting my wife to move. That was the biggest sell out for me when I was at p&g, so, so that that was the deal. But then we got to a point where she and I both started saying no to opportunities to leave Cincinnati. And it was because we just felt really connected at crossroads. I mean, I, you know, quite frankly, our marriage probably would not have survived had it not been for the community around us at crossroads, we were learning. We were growing. We were excited about what Cross was doing in the city. And so eventually, about seven years that are so into my time in Cincinnati, I really had to reckon with that calling that I had before I left Philadelphia to be a pastor. And through a bunch of different circumstances, God had really been refining me and growing me and pruning me to prepare me to step away from corporate and actually say yes to ministry. And so, yes, 16 years ago, I left Procter and Gamble and became a pastor at crossroads. And so it was leading kind of our small groups, which would include kind of our healing group, so very connected to kind of that space in our church. It was a big part of my own journey was being in a healing group that helped me overcome an addiction. And so that was a part of my own recovery journey as well. So it was kind of ministering in that space. Before in 2015, God gave me yet another invitation to step out and do something different. But that's, that's how I made the decision. It really, and that's what I mean, when I say it wasn't my decision. It was, God has really been preparing me for it for many, many years. And you know, I'm so thankful for my wife, because I tell people, my wife did not marry a pastor. She didn't think she was marrying a pastor. But she has just been an incredible partner in this whole journey and adventure that God has us on.
Laura Howe 6:49
It's so cool to think back. It's when you look back, it's like, in the moment you think you're on the right track or Think Different things happen to you. And it's not without, with hindsight, you're able to see clearly God's hand at every step of the way. You know, I think in my life, and anyone who's listening, you look back in your life, you're like, Okay, I thought that was a difficult moment, or I thought that was the pinnacle of success doesn't matter if it's the highs or the lows. And then you look back and you're like, Oh, my goodness, God, your hand was on it every step of the way. And it's just so cool to see his faithfulness.
Chuck Mingo 7:22
Mm hmm. It really is. I mean, I'll tell you the rest of the story or maybe even further back than that. So how I got to how I got with Procter and Gamble was a God thing. So I was in a program called inroads and they would provide opportunities for kids to get internships with Fortune 500 companies. And so I had three companies to choose from one of which was Procter and Gamble, and I'm 18. I hadn't graduated from high school yet was going to graduate and that was going to be my summer internship. And I picked a different company. I did not pick Procter and Gamble. And part of it was because of transportation, you know, I needed to be able to get there and all of those things. Well, you are assigned basically a guidance counselor to help you with this decision and inroads. And one of the guidance counselor's wasn't mine, but was there was a woman named Dori Ray, and Dory data, my older brother who's like 13 years older than me. And so Dori knew me from when I was a very little boy. And so I had a different guidance counselor. I told that guidance counselor, well, I'm picking this company, not P&G, and he was like, Really, you're not picking P&G? It's a good opportunity. I'm like, No, I need to be able to get there. All these things? Well, he puts me on hold. There was a phone call. He puts me on hold. And then when he gets me off of hold, I'm on speaker with him. And Dory. And it's me. And Dora. He's on the phone. She's like, hey, Chuck and story. I'm like, Hey, don't worry how you doing? She's like, I'm doing wonderful, here's what you're gonna do. You're gonna take the job of Procter and Gamble and figure out how to get there. And so, here I am a team. For me, it's an inconsequential decision. I wanted to have an internship, but you know, six, one half dozen the other. But if I had it, if Dori hadn't intervened, God could have done anything he wanted to to get me to Cincinnati. But that decision when I was 18, is directly connected to the calling that I'm living into, right. And so when you talk about God's faithfulness to me, I just, I'm blown away by that.
Laura Howe 9:13
Thank you, Dorie.
Chuck Mingo 9:15
Yes. Thank you, Dorie, I've thanked her publicly many, many times.
Laura Howe 9:21
That's awesome. That's awesome. So your time at Crossroads was, you know, more learning more developing. And from what I've read, there was this moment that launched what we now know is undivided. Share. Can you share a little bit about what that is? Because I'm sure from growing up from your pastoral experience, your business experience, it all kind of culminated to this moment. Maybe Maybe it did it. I don't know. Can you share a little bit about that?
Chuck Mingo 9:52
Yeah, you know, so. So the moment I think really began in 2014, although again, this is through line I can trace throughout my life in terms of just the school that I went to, and the exposure I had to different cultures and just the value of diversity that gave me you know, what I began to understand about God's vision for the Kingdom. And quite frankly, you know, John's vision and Revelation and all those things begin to kind of captured my imagination. But in 2014, I was in a really difficult place, because this would have been, I think, a year after Trayvon Martin had been killed. 2014 was when Michael Brown was shot and killed by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri. And so, you know, regardless of where your listeners land on those issues, for me, experiencing that kind of racial tension was a first generation kind of thing. Right? I mean, those are the stories that I watched on films like eyes on the prize, those are the those are the moments my parents told me about, but it wasn't the US that I was living in, in, you know, until that time. And so for me, it really took me on a journey of wrestling. And in 2014, I met a friend who is now my co founder and undivided Troy Jackson. And Troy had just come back from Ferguson, Missouri, where he was marching to basically elevate the value of black life. And he comes back the next week, and was doing faith based organizing in Cincinnati, invited me to be a part of that. And as we sat down, as Troy would say, he was really being honest about how he was processing the moment we were in. And he said, I gave him the most politically correct safe answers, that you could give a person because Troy is a white man. And he was asking me these really honest questions, and I'm just meeting him. And as a black man, I'm like, I don't know if I can trust this guy, like, does he really want to know my answer to this or not. And so at some point, in the conversation, he said something or done enough for me to say, he really cares. And so I was very honest with him and told him that I felt like we were in the 1960s. Again, and I didn't know what to do. But it just felt to me like the church was calling to do something. And so he invited me into his work, which was the work of really community organizing and building power and love and being able to affect some things that are in our city, some systems that needed to change. And then in 2015, our church in the fall, and sorry, in the spring did a journey called the brave journey. And the brave journey was a six week experience that our whole church went through. And the whole thesis was, you know, Jesus invited Peter to walk out walk on water in the middle of the storm to get out of the boat. And the challenge was, Where is God calling you to get out and vote. And I don't know what I went into that feeling like was going to be my challenge. But it was very clearly to be a voice for racial healing, and solidarity and justice. And so I said this,
Laura Howe 12:44
it was about is that what the sermon was about?
Chuck Mingo 12:47
No, no, no, the journey was about everybody in the church, figuring out what was your brave step. I thought mine was gonna be something like, I don't know, run it run a marathon or thought, but I was not expecting all of the thoughts and feelings and really what God had been stirring in my heart over those last couple of months to culminate in that calling. And it really did. And it was, it was a moment from me, I even remember reflecting because I shared it with the church the next week, and we were probably about 20,000 people at that point at crossroads. And I said, I know it sounds so cliche that the black pastor and a majority white church was to work on racial reconciliation. It's like, it's like so you know, cliche. But it is what, why, please, I know. Truth be told, I'm still I still had those moments. But I just I knew it. And I knew that it wasn't just my calling. But it was a calling for our community. I was I was the campus pastor at the time, at our largest campus. And that largest campus was growing in diversity year over year. So we were living in this tension within our we don't have pews but within our community, of people coming from different places, racially, politically, socio economically. And I just felt like this was something that the church was called to. And so God brought an incredible team around me after I made that declaration, and then over the next nine months, and it's funny think about nine months in the birthing process, undivided was born. And it was a process of figuring out how will we be honest and help people understand that the Bible has a lot to say, about Race and Justice, not race as we know it, but ethnicity and the unity of the ethnicities and justice. And then also, the Bible has a lot to say about how we live out the call to do justice. You know, Micah six, eight is one of the key verses and undivided. And we often joke about it and say, you know, doesn't say that God says what do I require talk about justice, love, mercy, and walk humbly No, do justice. Do just walk humbly in love mercy, and how to do that how to do that in our context, I think is a gospel imperative for the body of Christ.
Laura Howe 14:58
So As a church, there is a role, there is a function. We aren't just observers or an audience to what is happening in our culture or in our communities, but we are participants, we are called to take action we are called to do and I think that's where I have been challenged, especially this year. You know, this is we're talking about Black History Month and, and watching or listening and hearing about some of the the injustices and the atrocities and the tragedies that are happening. Yeah, you know, that are on the news and off the news. Like, there's so many that are not reported. I am called this year, I'm okay, Laura, it's time to level up, it's time to put action, you're not just supposed to sit and listen and empathize. And, you know, believe for an advocate, there's action, you need to put action to this. So that's why I'm excited for our conversation, because I want to learn more, I want to learn more about what I can do in my church. I'm a white female from a diverse church that's growing very quickly in diversity, but mostly white, and I'm from a rural area. And so I just like, I don't know what to do. I don't know, what would be appropriate? Or what would be inappropriate, right? I don't want to cross those lines. But how could I affect change? In my church? I guess that's a really big question.
Chuck Mingo 16:28
It is, it's a big question. But it's an important question. And it's one that I, you know, I think many, many people are asking, and I think many followers of Jesus are asking that question as well, which is encouraging to me. And what I would say is, I think about, you know, what we're learning as we do this work at undivided is the journey for all of us. It's a journey of three things, his journey of awareness, a journey of relationships, and a journey of action. And I would say that, you know, typically Americans, this isn't just about Christian Americans, but Americans were graded awareness. I mean, I don't know if you heard about this thing called the internet, but it's amazing for growing awareness. Right? You know, like, I learned about anything. If I want to learn, I learn, right, I can see YouTube videos, I can do all these things. And there's a place for that there is a place for that. Because I do think that part of what is, is I think about 2020, in particular, and just in my story. 2020 is when I said it was an Esther moment, you know, Esther heard the story of Esther, in the Bible, there's this moment, where she's like, you know, I've got to do something, and and Mordecai is the one that gets to that point says, who knows, but you might have been born for such a time as this. not guaranteed to be successful, but it is time to act. And for me, 2020 was the moment when I said, Okay, I'm leading a successful campus and a large church. And for me to pour more of my life and time into this calling for racial healing, solidarity, injustice, I'm gonna have to step away from that, and lead this new, unknown organizational thing. And, you know, for me, that was the moment and I think a lot of us probably had that moment and 2020. But it's easy to retreat back to just more awareness, because I don't know what to do. So I'm just going to continue to learn. So continue to learn, learn. But then at some point, the two other things that help people move to action is you need relationships. And so one of the things that I would say to you and to your listeners is, as you look around your community, or as you look around your church, where are there already people doing work in this space, people that you can partner with? Right, because we do not have to reinvent the wheel. You know, Troy, Jackson was leading something called the Amos project. And it was a coalition of 40 congregations of faith, doing racial justice and economic justice work in Cincinnati. I went and joined Troy in that work. And that's where I begin to learn how to activate in this way. And so I think there's there may be something like that in your community. And that's a great place to start, where people are already doing work. And you can just build relationships. And you might find, you know, what, for any number of reasons, there's not a place for me to engage more fully here. But I would start there, right? And I would certainly say, even if it's not going right to an organization, how are we prioritizing cross cultural relationships in our lives? Oh, that's good. And I'm reminded, I'm reminded of this, and I'll be I'll be real, vulnerable and honest. A dear friend of mine lost his daughter this week. And so we were at the funeral, my wife and I, and there's just a room full of people. And one of the things that struck us was that, you know, when you're at a funeral, or you're at a wedding, that's really where you see how diverse the ones network is. Right? And so you know, one of the The things that I would say is, let's not think about our funerals because that could be morbid. But think about if you were having a party, and you were inviting the people who are close to you one of the one of the things that was going on a couple years ago, as you look at the last 10, people you texted? Yeah. What does that what does that say about the diversity of the people that you're building your life with? And I get it, that in some geographies, it's gonna be what it is, you know, it's gonna be all blacks will be all whites, we all Hispanics will be all age, I get that. So I don't want people to feel judgment around that. But the thing that I would say is, that's a data point. So then ask yourself, what do I want it to be? What's what's possible for that to be? And how do I begin to prioritize my life and my time to be in spaces where I can develop friendships across culture? Because I do think that that's a really powerful way, like you said, I think, you know, the interesting thing is even rural geographies are actually growing in diversity in our country
Laura Howe 20:56
very much. So. Right? I do very much. So our small community, which probably has more cows than people has a, it's growing very, very quickly in diversity. Right? Right.
Chuck Mingo 21:10
So then what does it look like to be intentional about engaging in the relationships with folks in your, you know, in your, I mean, think about it, if it's true in a place where there's more cows than people, that's probably true, a lot of places where listeners are right now. And that relationship piece is really important. And then the third thing I would say is this, and this is where, you know, I'm inspired by the scriptures, because, you know, the word justice shows up 418 times in the Old Testament alone. And, you know, God defines himself by these terms and places in Psalm 89, which is righteousness and justice, are the foundations of God's throne. Right. And we see this all throughout the prophetic writings, we see Amos writing, you know, let justice roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. And so there's there I love how one person put it, we cannot separate as believers, I don't think we can separate personal righteousness from public pursuit of justice. I think they're one in the same. There's a reason I mean, think about Jesus even talks about this, you know, there's a place where Jesus is challenging the Pharisees as he was regularly doing. And he says to them, it's in the incentive seven woes where he says to them, you know, Woe to you, you tied your mitt, your Kumon, and your deal, like you are so focused on honoring the giving principles, and Jesus doesn't poopoo that he doesn't say they shouldn't be doing that. But he says, You have neglected the weightier matters of the law, righteousness, justice, and mercy. So Jesus is saying that the full expression of our faith in him will not just impact my personal holiness. So though, it needs to impact my personal holiness, right. But it will impact the way that I show up in the world, it'll impact the way that I love my neighbor, it'll impact the way that I love my city, it'll impact the way that I create a culture in the organizations that I lead, it'll impact the ways that I support and engage in the school board and in the school district that my kids go to. And so I think, for a lot of followers of Jesus, the next level of growth, and quite frankly, the next level of joy in the journey toward racial healing, solidarity, and justice is actually rolling up your sleeves and doing something getting involved and engaging. And I think, again, think about organizations who are doing that work. What does it look like for your church to begin to think about how does that live into the things we're already doing? You know, most churches already have an area of focus. And like in our church, one of the places where we've seen this play out is in foster care and adoption. You know, I mean, in most in many communities, foster care, and adoption is an opportunity to do justice. Yes, just because of the makeup of the kids. But don't just don't just focus on the adopting of the kids. What are the systems and structures that are creating this issue? And what would it look like to go upstream and also be advocating for the things that would enable more kids to be raised in the home by their families, like, we should care about both ends of the spectrum? So I'm, I'm blabbering and maybe I'm saying too, but I'm trying to just give a lot of practicalities around ways that we can get involved in the world of justice, right where we are.
Laura Howe 24:19
I love that it's such a great and challenging, like, I love it. But I also am like who it's a big call. It's it's a maturing of faith that is beyond just ourselves. It's not all about us. It's not all about becoming, you know, holier or more righteous, or it's also doing and in and having that righteousness having that love having that justice that you know, we have that faith in Jesus but it's bringing that outward to our community and applying it to the relationships and the partners and the in the systems like you said that we live in. And so as a church leader as a as a, as a, as a minister or a leader within an organization, what is the function of the church? So that's kind of the personal responsibility, but what how can we level that into the responsibility of maybe the body of Christ?
Chuck Mingo 25:16
Yeah, it's a great question. And a couple of things come to mind. One of the things that I would say is, there is such a need in this work for all of us to be healed from the wounds of racism. And I mean that all of us, racism hurts everyone. Yes, it disproportionately hurts those that are considered marginalized in the racial hierarchy. But it hurts everyone, it, it causes all of us to live beneath our dignity as people created in the image of God. I agree. And I think that's a place where the church can really step in and be the church. Because the church knows about the power of repentance. The church knows about the power of confession, the church knows about spiritual practices that begin to restore a person's relationship to God and to each other. And I think all of these healing spaces are spaces where the church can definitely play a role. You know, what does that look like from a church perspective? I mean, I would say, you know, have you created a space in your church for people who are impacted by these issues, to process and heal? What does your pastoral and care ministry look like? Does it represent, you know, again, does is it diverse enough to represent where people might be coming from so that they can be pastored and cared for by someone who might be able to relate to their lived experience? I mean, these are, these are things that are and again, it's it isn't about quota, it's about ministry, you know, I mean, I always tell people, like your church, your, like, your church should aspire to be as diverse as your community, doesn't mean you're gonna make it there. But you should aspire to be as diverse as you can be. So if your community is 99%, African American, or 99%, white, that's your community. Great. If you get to 2%, you're crushing it, right, because that's the percentage you have. But if that's not the percentage of your community, your church should aspire to be that because we all know this. I mean, you know, whether it's whether it's you coming into an environment and wanting to see a woman in leadership, or a woman who relates in is your lived experience. When we see ourselves in the community, we feel like there's a place for us. And so again, to go back to how can the church engage and get involved? I think that's one. I think the other thing, though, is the church is an incredible source of generosity. And so even when you can't maybe bring people to an issue, what does it look like for your church to say, hey, one of the things we want to do as we give in the community, is we want to give to issues that are actually righting wrongs, not just downstream problems. I mean, we talked about this in our content, and then divide it the story of the nation of Israel. You know, God called Moses to liberate people. He didn't call Moses just to create a soup kitchen for a more comfortable slavery. That's right. There's a big difference. Yeah, yeah. And so in our churches, we have to ask the question, hey, and it isn't to say that we shouldn't do mercy work, and we shouldn't do relief work. We should, and the church is amazing at that. But the church is also a place that can be creative and solving problems that are upstream. I'll give you an example. Our church, along with probably five other churches in Cincinnati, about 10 years ago, launched something called the city links center. You can look it up in Cincinnati city links center in Cincinnati and City Link recognized that when it comes to people breaking the cycles of poverty, one of the big challenges is how dispersed the services are that you would need to really string this together. I've done a poverty simulation. I don't know if you've ever done that. But it's basically you know, so So basically, you're in a room but right, you're you have a role, and you've got a level of resources and all that. And it was amazing. I did this with something called Leadership Cincinnati. These are the top leaders in the city, like the people who get in this program are people who, you know, are either already movers and shakers, or certainly are seen in their organizations as people who are going to make a difference. And within 30 minutes of the poverty simulation, these people who have managed to get juris doctorate, these people who have managed to get advanced degrees, these people who have managed to be doctors and lawyers and politicians and leaders were so frustrated that they couldn't navigate the system of poverty and the system of resources in their city that they literally were giving, literally, I'm talking about giving up like I don't want to do this exercise anymore. And it's just a reminder of how challenging oftentimes it is for people to break out of these cycles. So what city LinkedIn is say, hey, what if you co locate these services, so that you don't have to travel everywhere so you can get your GED in the same place that you can do your childcare in the same place that you can do your job training in St. Louis, you can get financial literacy training, and then let's wrap They're around a community of believers to pry this, they don't take public funding a community of believers who will walk alongside and be in relationship with people who want to change. That, to me is an example of churches committing to go upstream and solve problems. And I think there's churches that can do that there are partnerships that can emerge and are emerging. I don't want to say like, it's not happening in America, this is happening. But let's look at those models and examples and replicate them. You know, Cincinnati is known for having a great startup ecosystem, you know, lots of organizations helping people start businesses, and that's kind of a badge of honor for cities. But what would it look like for your city, your community, to have a great doing justice ecosystem, to be a place where mercy and justice, both rain, and it isn't just about relief, but it's also about restoration, and restoring and repairing broken systems that create some of the negative outcomes that we're providing relief to address?
Laura Howe 31:00
Okay, there's a couple of things in here that I'm feverishly writing down creative and upstream solutions. I love that I don't know, if you have that, you know, you have that domain, go, go get that Doc. That's it. And then, looking at building a doing justice ecosystem, oh, that is powerful. That flips the script that looks at it differently. It's, it's less of a bandaid solution and more of a cultural solution or ecosystem solution. And it's about breaking down silos and removing barriers, and looking at collaborative efforts and creative efforts on on addressing root issues, rather than just saying, you know, here's a gift card for gas and or here's a soup kitchen or is here's a backpack of school supplies, it's looking at it on a deeper level. And I think the unique thing that the church has that not many organizations have having worked in community, and I'm sure you've seen this yourself, is the ability there's the network, the organizations are, you know, they are within their buildings, or within their silos or their mandates, but the body of Christ and the network that you can build amongst churches is so powerful, that it can provide that it can be a the the energy or the movement around transformational change in our communities. And I think that is absolutely absolutely amazing.
Chuck Mingo 32:32
Absolutely. And I believe that's why the church was so attractive in places like x two, because you had I mean, we even see it like some of the people, it says that there are literally people from Herod's household who were in the church, right. So there were people, if you want to think about it, there were the highest echelons of government, alongside those who were impacted by the injustice of government. They were brothers and sisters in Christ. And I think that's one of the reasons why an accent says they enjoyed the favorite of all the people because this network, as you said, of people, were making possible a life of justice, a life of unity, a life of joy, a life of real community, that the world literally had never seen before. And the church is still called to do that. And we are still capable of that by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Laura Howe 33:20
But at times we can feel trapped, or I don't know where to start, I don't know where to begin. I know this is important. I'm passionate for it, I long for that. We want to take action we want to take our faith to and maturity to the next level, but just don't know where to begin. And what would you encourage people to do those first steps and, and I'm hoping or I'm guessing that involves the undivided course.
Chuck Mingo 33:47
Absolutely. Not to be a former sales guy. But it isn't a sales pitch as much as this is what God I feel like it's a stewardship. God has called our organization, our team, to steward something for the body of Christ. We're not the only people doing it. We might not even be the best people doing it. But we're trying to be faithful and doing it. And so if you're looking for a first step, I mean, I would encourage you do one divided and the way that works is typically a church or an organization commits to doing undivided and then they invite people from within their organization to go through the six week experience. And in that six weeks we talk about there's a faith grounding every week. So we're tying this to the Scripture every week. So people are understanding how this routes itself in the college Jesus and what it means to be like Jesus and do what Jesus did. We train on empathy, help people, how do you listen differently to people from a different perspective? How do you tell your own story in a way that helps you and others reflect on the differences there? We help people understand what is the nature when we say systemic racism, that's, that's a term that is a loaded term in many circles. But it's also a term that has biblical roots. I mean, we see places in the Bible where systems of injustice This exists. And we're followers of Jesus are called to come against it. So we we use the scriptures to help unpack that for people. And then we help people get clear around what would it look like for you to be faithful to Jesus and do justice. And what we're looking to do over those six weeks is begin to Bill relational connections with the other people that you go through this experience with, so that you can do this work together, because you can't do it alone. I love the African proverb, this is what to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together. And what we're trying to do through the six weeks of undivided is create teams of people who can go far together, in representing Jesus in their city through the work of racial healing, solidarity and justice, I would, I would encourage them with love your listeners, you know, whether you're a pastor, or maybe you are a care Minister, you have a role at your church, if your church is looking for something that can activate people into this work and localize it, contextualize it for where you are, we'd love to talk with you about our divided experiences, because we think that's exactly what they do.
Laura Howe 36:00
That's, that's amazing. And I'm curious to hear from you, how have there been some creative ways that people have been able to offer this? Like, you know, I, I immediately think of the traditional small group method. But for is there other opportunities, like you mentioned, partnering with other organizations or communities? What are some of the examples of how people have offered this?
Chuck Mingo 36:23
Yeah, we've had some neat things happen. So one of the things I always love is when churches partner together, because one of the things that we we require, for a six week experience is at least 30% of the group to be diverse, so 30% and not be the majority population of the group, you know that. So depending on what the majority is, 30% should not be that. And so a lot of places, they're like, well, church isn't that diverse. One of the great stories is, a couple years ago, we had an African Methodist Episcopal Church and AME Church here in Cincinnati, partner with a Lutheran church that was in the eastern suburbs of Cincinnati, one church, predominantly African American, by far one church, predominantly white by far. And the cool thing was those pastors had started a relationship with each other. And they leveraged undivided to strengthen the relationship between their churches. And so they brought those groups together, they went through the six week experience and had a vision going in, that we aren't going to stop at just the six weeks. So one of the things they did is they wound up doing a mission trip to Appalachia, rural, I think it was in West Virginia, where these two churches partnered together for a mission trip. And so we've seen some creative things like that happen. The other thing we've seen is people leverage this for more of a community wide impact. So there's a place in Ohio, they decided what they wanted to do was bring together people from their city of influence. So they had some people from education, they had some political leaders, they had some, you know, people in business space and and a bunch of pastors. And that group went through and divided with a vision of how do we take this experience, and begin to do the work of justice in our city together across all of these different vectors, and you have multiple churches represented in that. But that was another creative way that people did it. So we have seen some folks do that. So and that's part of the fun is, think about who you're in relationship with, who can you partner with? To bring something like this to your community? We find that it works best if you're committed to partnership beyond the six weeks, and then the six weeks are a catalyst to help you move into that.
Laura Howe 38:29
Interesting, and do you provide guidance? So I'm making big assumptions here is that the six weeks is more of a curriculum based where you provide the resources and the tools, the conversation starters, the handouts, all the things that needed to actually put on the program were on the curriculum for six weeks. But do you provide guiding principles or moving forward opportunities or ideas?
Chuck Mingo 38:51
Yes, I'm glad you asked that question. Because actually, what I would say is we do even more than what you said. So when you commit to doing the six week experience, you're led through the whole experience by our team, including two certified facilitators, one will be white one will be a person of color, who will guide your group through the entire six weeks. So they're on the Zoom call or in the room with you in the group every week guiding the discussion, bringing in the content, helping you to have the right conversations, and then on the other in helping you to think through what does it look like to get active. And so that's one of the things is it's a high touch experience. And it's high touch because we think this is an issue where it's easy to get stalled. And so we want to be able to leverage what we've learned in our expertise to help you not get stalled but to help you continue to move forward as a group.
Laura Howe 39:42
I love that it's just not plug and play but there's actually like you said high touches engagement there you have access to those who have done this multiple times are experts yes and can help, you know, divert or lead or not to offer but lead conversations into productive and healing opportunities.
Chuck Mingo 40:00
Yes, that's really important for us, we, you know, we say, we can't create a safe space to talk about race, because it's just not safe to talk about race, there are risks involved. But what we've created, I believe, is a brave space. And that's, again, that's a term that someone else came up with that I'm drawing from. But it's a brave space, meaning you can take risks, you can be vulnerable, you can listen with love and care, we can give each other grace. And because of that, we can make progress. And we're seeing that happen.
Laura Howe 40:31
That's so exciting. I can't wait to get my church involved. I'm very excited. We've been talking about this for a while and just looking at, okay, what could we do? Or what are some different opportunities? So I'm really excited to present this. And so for people who are looking for more information on where to find, you know, to get the details, where would you? Where would you point them?
Chuck Mingo 40:52
Absolutely, very easy go to undivided.com undivided.com is our website, everything is there, you can get a sense of what we do, you can fill out a form to begin the conversation. One of the things that we do with regularity is we call it experience undivided. So it's a way for you in an hour to experience a bit of what it is that we do, you can find that information on our website as well. And we'd encourage you to attend one of those. And then if you express interest, kind of raise your hand and say, hey, I want to learn more after that. One of the folks on our team would love to reach out to you and talk about what might it look like to bring undivided to your church to your organization. And that's exactly what we exist to do is to walk alongside folks to as we our North Star is we talked about envisioning a flow of racial healing and justice that repairs wounds, and cultivates equitable systems where all people flourish. That's the vision that we're aiming.
Laura Howe 41:50
So good, so good. I love that. When you think back to where you came from, whether it was your decision to go to business school, and avoid the call of ministry as a as a young person, or even through your business and corporate world into ministry, when you look back at all of those things, and and where you've led, if you could write yourself, your younger self, a letter sent a voicemail or an email, what would you tell your younger self?
Chuck Mingo 42:23
Mm hmm. Such a good question. It would be some version of this. It would be say yes to the adventure. God's calling you to say yes. So many things in my life have boiled down to say yes. I mean, I tell people this all the time. What did I bring to undivided? Why am I the one who leads it? I don't know. Maybe God put this calling in like 15 other people's hearts and minds, but they did not say yes. All I did was say yes, I could not have envisioned this I certainly could not have envisioned when I was 18. And Dori said, Take p&g Right. But I said Yes, I certainly could have envisioned could not have envisioned leave p&g You wanted to be in business now leave p&g But I said yes. And I think that's the that's the thing I would encourage all your listeners is the same thing. I would encourage my younger self with this, like Where Where are you coming alive? What? What is burning in your soul? As you hear this conversation? If something is stirring in you, if there is like, oh, man, this is resonating. I'm not that articulate. So it's not me. Laurie, you're awesome. But it's probably not you. It's probably a place where God is inviting you to say yes. And so that's what I would say Say Yes to the adventure. God's calling you to I'm so grateful for the places where I've said yes to God.
Laura Howe 43:48
Wonderful. And I hope someone listens to that. And just like you were listening to that sermon about brave, what is that brave step that you're going to take? And it had nothing to do with you expected? Maybe someone's listening to this and saying the Yes. And I may say yes to has nothing to do with that conversation. But by listening to the spirit and leading that they say yes, they're taking those steps to where God's leading was so exciting. Take the adventure. It's worth it for sure. Thank you tech so much. And thank you for introducing us to n divide it I am very honored to meet you, and excited to get to get started. I'm very excited to take action and get started. Thank you so much. Me too.
Chuck Mingo 44:27
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here.
Laura Howe 44:31
Hey, thanks for listening. I encourage you to put what you have heard into action today. How are you going to be intentional and go from a listener to taking action in racial reconciliation. Please make sure you check out the undivided.com website for tools and information so that you can guide your community through powerful conversations that bring healing. And of course if you want to be reminded when the next episode goes live, make sure you subscribe. Thanks for connecting take care