Judging by his words in the “I Have A Dream” speech delivered on Aug. 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had high hopes for the future of America and deep faith that equality was coming.
More than 50 years later, progress toward King’s dream has undoubtedly been made, but that progress has been painfully slow for those who are still marginalized and given less opportunities based on nothing more than their race, gender, or sexuality.
You might be asking yourself what all of this has to do with church leadership. Pastor Efrem Smith put it well at the Exponential church planting conference last fall: “To stay relevant, the church must diversify.”
If you want your church to stay relevant and continue to be a vital part of your community, you would be wise to listen to King’s words.
With that in mind, this week we’re taking a break from writing about church management software to focus on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his words on faith, equality, and service.
MLK quotes on faith to inspire you
Martin Luther King Jr. is honored across America every year on the third Monday of January (he was born on Jan. 15, 1929). King’s family asks that the nation honor his legacy with a day of service, rather than just taking the day off.
If you had to work on MLK Day, the Corporation for National and Community Service suggests finding an opportunity to serve your community in the near future.
In the meantime, let’s remember MLK by reflecting on some of his own words.
Here are five quotes from King to inspire you.
1. Stepping out in faith
If you’re waiting for the right time to do the right thing, you’re wasting time. You can honor King’s legacy today by reaching out to an elderly neighbor, connecting with someone who has a different background than you, volunteering to help the less fortunate, or starting a new community outreach program at your church.
The first step is never easy, but be emboldened by the knowledge that you’re making the world a better place and that you can inspire others with your positive actions.
If you need help getting started, All For Good has a directory of volunteer opportunities in your area.
2. Driving out darkness
It’s not hard to find darkness and hatred if you go looking for it. The only way to change the world is to break the cycle.
If someone has wronged you, it’s easy to fall into a spiral of anger and resentment. But that only makes the world a darker place.
Instead of spending energy on negative thoughts, channel negative feelings toward helping others. Remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: that’s the only way to bring more light into the world.
3. Looking beyond your church community
But you have one obligation that comes before everything else: helping others. And that doesn’t just mean those already in your church community. As Pastor Peyton Jones said, “People aren’t looking for comfort, they’re looking for purpose.”
You’re not truly serving your congregation by hosting a rock concert and serving tasty cups of coffee every Sunday morning; you serve them when you mobilize them to help others.
If you need help getting started, read up on easy-to-use volunteer scheduling software.
4. Bring joy and laughter to your work
A lot of these quotes have a serious tone, because faith, service, and equality are serious topics.
King was a masterful orator, and his words still carry great power. But, he also had a lighter side, as America saw when he played baseball with his children in the back yard or appeared on The Tonight Show in 1968.
MLK appears on The Tonight Show with Harry Belafonte in 1968.
It’s awfully difficult to do something well if you’re not deriving joy from it, and that holds true for church leadership as well. Creative director Jeremy Poland is a great example of someone who has fun while creating entertaining church videos.
5. Don’t lose hope
King’s most inspiring quality is the faith, determination, and optimism he showed unflinchingly in the face of vicious adversity and constant setbacks in the quest for equality.
The next time you struggle at work or in your personal life, think about what King went through while devoting his life to the pursuit of equality for all people, and take inspiration from his legacy.
Your favorite MLK quotes?
What are your favorite quotes from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Share them in the comments, or tweet me @CapterraAC!
Here’s a collection of King’s quotes for further reading.
If you want to maintain this inspired feeling, check out these other articles from our church management blog:
- 10 Church Leadership Quotes to Inspire You This Holiday Season
- 12 Lessons From “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” You Can Use
- Dream Big: 8 Motivational Lessons to Try at Your Church This Fall
- Top 6 Takeaways From the Exponential Church Planting Conference
- 8 Expert Tips: How Leadership In The Church Can Better Communicate With Their Congregation
Looking for Church Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Church Management software solutions.