In October 2011, Jemar Tisby sat in front of his computer, his hand hovering over the keyboard. On the screen in front of him was the form for a new Facebook page, which Tisby had filled in with the details of his latest project—a group called the Reformed African American Network.

As he did his final check, he felt a tension. He wanted this group to be small, but he had a sneaking suspicion that once the page went live, it would take on a life of its own. Was he really ready to follow along and see where it led?

Swallowing his doubts, he pressed the “Enter” key, making the page live.

Looking back now, he’s glad he did. Nearly five years later, RAAN has grown from a humble Facebook page to a flourishing community with an influential voice on justice, diversity, and racial reconciliation in the church. Tisby, meanwhile, has fully embraced his role as RAAN’s cofounder and president, even as he continues to serve as director of the African American Leadership Initiative and special assistant to the chancellor at Reformed Theological Seminary’s Jackson campus.

For Tisby, though, racial justice isn’t just a pressing cultural issue—it’s his calling, and it’s never been more timely. In a season when Christians nationwide are puzzling out how best to respond to protests, shootings, and domestic frictions surrounding race, he has a vision for how churches can cultivate a commitment to diversity:

You have to build awareness. If I am looking at a predominantly white church and, as a minority, thinking through whether this would be a comfortable, welcoming place for me, I don’t want to come into a church where the pastor or the church leaders say, “Well, some folks in ...
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