On Individual and Institutional Racism

Dear King’s Cross,

I, along with our session and pastors, wanted to help put some theological clarity as to what and why we feel convicted to denounce certain evils and injustices that we see in our present day and land. I hope that in reading this, it will hopefully give clarity where there might have been ambiguity, and reason where there has been a sense of skepticism.

In 2004, our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America was just starting to come to grips with ways we had promoted and aligned with racism particularly towards Black Americans. The definition given, states, “racism is an explicit or implicit belief or practice that qualitatively distinguishes or values one race over other races.”

Therefore, the inherent evil and sinfulness of racism is that we are distinguishing, favoring, judging and categorizing people and people groups by their particular physical features, particular ethnicity, cultures, and characteristics that God created, sees, and calls equally good, beautiful, honorable, and resplendent with His divine reflection. In other words, because God imbues his own glory into the uniqueness of being human, when we treat one another with anything less than the honor and dignity he has spelled out in Scripture, we are ultimately making judgement calls and estimations of God’s worth, beauty, and honor. That’s not to eclipse the real and tragic damage racism has on people—but I say that to show how offensive and personal God takes racism. When we are not in the wonder and awe of God’s character, we are bound to demean the realities he shows up daily in our lives through people.


One of the questions people at our church are wondering about and could be struggling with is the concept of institutional or systemic racism, (which are not precisely the same thing, but I am using them interchangeably here because they both refer to larger, culture-shaping means such as the education system, justice system, media, etc.) Institutional Racism is often seen as the systemic, unequal distribution of resources, power, and opportunity in favor of one race over another. Whereas, Individual Racism is often thought of as the acts and thoughts and beliefs that individuals harbor.

I think there is a very unhelpful “either/or” mentality when it comes to these notions of racism, which only sees two options:

  • Some people believe that racism is only an institutional problem. But the problem with this is you are relieving individuals from the responsibility of being good citizens, and bringing change to their lives.
  • On the other hand, some people believe racism is really just an individual’s aggression and bias towards those different than themselves. However you’re failing to see the greater cycles of culture that continue to influence and shape the way we see and treat and oppress others.

For many of us, because we don’t see a third option, we tend to go with whatever option makes us look less ignorant, and more informed and compassionate. However—how much of our responses are shaped out of genuine love, and not fear? Fear of being wrong, fear of being seduced by a political agenda, fear of being a bigot, etc.

I’d like to propose a third option. It’s the option I believe God lays out consistently from beginning to end in Scripture. The fact is, God always holds both individuals and institutions responsible for sin. From the first fall of Adam and Eve, you have individuals being held accountable for their actions—and yet, the entire institution of humanity is corrupted. In Joshua 7, you have a man named Achan, acting out of greed and breaking societal rules God set in place for Israel. And while he and his family have to face the consequences of his sin—it’s not before all of Israel experiences loss and breakdown and failure in their campaign.

For some of us, I can understand that the implications of Institutional Racism may seem outrageous. We love America and American culture—and the implications of Institutional Racism would mean admitting there is a malicious and grotesque mindset, pervading so deeply behind every chapter of our history. How could we ever take that sitting down? I get that, accepting this, paints a bleak alternative reality compared to how some, if not many, of us grew up seeing and understanding America.

However, it seems to me that the Bible actually paints a far darker picture of human beings than maybe we’ve been paying attention to. Somehow, I wonder, if Satan has painted little flowers and puppies throughout our bibles, when it’s really the story of the desperately tragic state of humanity’s wallowing in vile filth and corruption—from the individual human heart, (Jeremiah 17:9) to the cosmic and spiritual forces of darkness ruling over principalities, powers, and institutions of this present world (Ephesians 6:12). This is why we need a powerful Savior.

And something we have tried to stress in our proclamation at King’s Cross is that Jesus is not merely your individual savior—he is a kingdom savior, for a kingdom people. He is coming to overthrow not just your and my petty individual rule of our own hearts; he has come to overthrow the rules and authorities and principalities and yes, institutions of this world. He will bring all things under his good and righteous reign.

Friends, that is the gospel of the kingdom. That allows us to pursue individual reformation, while seeing that there is a constant need for Jesus to come in kingdom power to restore broken institutional standards made by broken, sinful people.

So, yes, because we believe the whole gospel that says the whole world is broken. Therefore we ought not be surprised or utterly crushed when we find human institutions failing us. The idea that a human institution (including the institution of American law and governance), where mere humans are the ruling heads and authorities could be free from bias, greed, slavery, and racism—ought to sound wrong to Christian ears.

We see how some people have come to the conclusion in our day, in a fit of despair, that the enemy is actually the very existence of institutions, themselves, and these people have turned to various forms of anarchy. But as Christians, we know of only one institution that has the power to repent and turn from its wrong doing. The Church is the only earthly institution that has its authoritative headship in someone who is absolutely perfect, and in whom we can completely trust.

Now, the Church body is composed of sinful broken people like you and me—and that means we have the potential to fall and fail just as hard as anyone else—and we do quite often. But when we are aligned to his will, and walk in the ways of his Holy Word, we begin to reveal something that the world is starving for more than ever, in this present age. And that means there is hope in this dark world as we live out the grace of Jesus offered to any and all who would see they are in need of so great a Savior.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Rob

Practical Ways To Give

We've talked a bit about giving in our sermon series the past few weeks, so you might be wondering, "ok--so how can I practice and grow in giving?"

The Old Testament will tell you that God had the Israelites consider giving their time and wealth to two general categories: Spiritual Flourishing, (through giving to the Levite priests,) and  Physical Flourshing, (through giving to the sojourner, widow, and the orphan.) God is saying--it's not enough to just give to one--your love through generosity needs to be considering a wholistic approach to caring for others. 

I wanted to share a few of our official partners that our Diaconate team has been working with, along with some christian organizations and missionaries we either support or have ministries that effect our city and local Flushing community. In each of the links you can learn more about their mission and see how to possibly give some of your time and wealth to the work God is doing there. 

Missionaries: Mark and Rachel Kim and family - The Kims are missionaries to Japan and are serving at Christ Bible Institute to train future Japanese pastors. 

Missionaries: James and Nanci Long and family - The Longs are serving in Jakarta, Indonesia, based in their church there, Providence Fellowship Church, and ministering to many refugees in their city. 

Missionaries: The Watanabe Family - The Watanabes are working with the church planting orginization, City to City, to help foster new churches and pastors.

Garden of Hope - A local organization focusing on serving, caring, and rebuilding the lives of people who have been exposed to domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking; specifically targeting its services towards the growing Chinese communities.

Borough Pregnancy Center -  BPCC aims to inspire life in those experiencing unplanned pregnancies through comprehensive, compassionate care.

Open Hands Legal Services -  Through legal means and support, this organization's vision is to uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed in NYC.

Center For All Abilities - An organization with sites in Manhattan and Flushing that supports individuals with autism, pervasive developmental disorders, Down syndrome, sensory integration disorders, and other neurodevelopmental disorders, and individuals with emotional challenges as well. 

Some final thoughts are:

  • Don't feel like you need to give to all of these. Consider your own story and heart. Ask God what area He is calling you to joyfully give to His kingdom?
  • Ask yourself (and your spouse if you have one,) "am I giving in a way that wakes me up?" It's easy for us to give in portions that don't effect us--but the Bible teaches us that we should not only give in such a way that brings good to others--but also do so in a way that wakes us up from the clutch of greed and apathy. 
  • Set your mind on the prize--we're kingdom people, and our thoughts need to foster an imagination of what the kingdom should and could be when God's story is complete. The exciting part of giving in these ways is that, we can trust He is using these gifts and acts of generosity to bring His kingdom further into the world.
  • Lastly, consider praying about how to grow in generosity toward the local body of Christ. If you're a member of KCC, then consider the ratio of your time and wealth given. If you're not a member, we're going to be having classes at the beginning of the Fall season, and we'd love to invite you to consider joining yourself to this particular body of Christ. 

The Discipleship Path

Am I supposed to be growing in my faith?
What does it look like to grow?
How do I know if this is what the Christian life is supposed to be, or if I'm just following the "christian trend" of my times?

Scripture makes it clear that the gospel is not something we receive at a singular point in time. Rather, it’s a lifestyle of repentance and faith, a life of following Jesus, a life of growing in grace.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever lacks these traits is nearsighted to the point of blindness, having forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
2 Peter 1:5-9

Therefore, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7

Vision + Mature Christians = Kingdom Transformation. If you've been here during our vision casting series last year, or even just have read through our Vision and Values page on our website, you should have some level of imagining what kind of church we want to be. However, we need to ask, “if that’s the kind of church we want to be, then, what kind of people do we want to become?" In other words, we’ve covered a lot about what King’s Cross Church as an organization is committed to and expects from our members. But in turn, how ought you expect to be shaped and formed into a mature Christian? How would we describe the way Jesus calls us to live, deeper into people saturated with God's love and wisdom evident and pouring out, through their lives?

The image above is what we call our Discipleship Path. It consists of 8 areas that encompass what it means for us to submit the whole of our lives to King Jesus.

Some Key Observations:

  • This is really big. This not a yearly "theme," nor is this a "season" of where we want to focus. Rather, this is the core of the Christian life, simplified, but ever-unfolding. It's this fuzzy phrase we use, "following Jesus," brought into focus for us to gather around and agree and pursue together--this life that Christ calls us to grow deeper in... and by His grace, it will more or less encompass how we want to mature throughout our lives.
  • These are areas we want to grow. They’re not a checklist to Christian maturity. Rather, a template for a lifestyle we want to go deeper in. (Think of a work out regime)
  • The Holy Spirit may have us grow more in one area over another, in a certain period of our lives. It’s different for everyone.
  • There’s no “correct” order. They are part of an organic whole.
  • This is contextualized to mature Christians doing kingdom work particularly in the NYC/Queens context.

So... Where can I get started? 

Well, here's the thing: if you've been an active member of King's Cross Church--you hopefully have been growing in some of these ways already. We want to make following Jesus explicit, tangible and attainable for everyone of our church members. However, as we grow as a church, we want to use this as a lense for both us and you to see where we need to create spaces to develope, grow, and catalyze these areas of obedience and submission to the Lord. Meaning, it will unfold organically, but intentionally, as we have been growing. Again, we don't want to "program" christian growth--but we do need to be cognizant and intentional and clear about where we want to mature.

This will take place through are a mixture of mediums we want you to grow through in these areas. E.g. Community Group, sermons, classes, serving with our partners, etc. 

However, here are some ways you can begin considering how to grow more intentionally:

  • Take a moment to look at the individual areas and consider which ones you feel you've grown in the past year in. Consider, are there areas where you may have never even considered a possibility for growth?
  • Save the date for our Congregational Retreat this year: June 14-16th, where our theme will be kicking this off together as we explore our theme: Deeper, Together 
  • Take a glance over the brief explanations of each of these explanations for aspect of depth, and begin to pray that God would grant King's Cross a hunger to grow.

A Brief Explanation of the 8 Aspects of Christian Depth

  • Witness 
    • Public faith and evangelism. Growing in a missional life that compellingly displays life with Christ and shares the gospel story with unbelievers.
  • Faith & Work
    • A transformed way we work and see work. A life marked by a deep valuing of how our work plays out in God’s purposes and redemptive plans in the world.
  • Relationships 
    • A transformed view and application of how we are to engage in friendship, family, marriage, and sex. A life that is able to joyfully and wisely know how to pursue the other’s good.
  • Money
    • Understanding and wisely stewarding the role and purpose of money, wealth, finances and power.
  • Spiritual Disciplines (Prayer & Scripture)
    • Cultivating a life in prayer and in the Scriptures so as to be competent in renewing the inward-self in fellowship with God.
  • Worship 
    • Growing in delight of fellowship with God and with one another; a deeper understanding and enjoyment of the means of grace and participation in the gathering of God’s people to (Sunday) worship.
  • Mercy & Justice
    • A deepened heart of compassion and wisdom in how to pursue right relationships with others in the context of a broken world, lives and systems.
  • Church Life
    • Growing in a servant-like heart through engaging in and building up others lives in ministry and service.

For Him,

New Vision and Core Values

I'm very excited to share our new vision and core values with you, for King's Cross Church. We felt the need to revamp and refocus our vision, after our initial first 5 years as a church plant, having now been established as a particular church in our Presbytery. 

My hope and prayer is that this vision statement and core values will serve our church in the specific and unique calling God has placed upon our growing church, here in Flushing. During our leaders' retreat, we mapped out some of how this would breath new life into how we think about discipleship ministry, community groups, membership classes and preaching. 

This Fall, I am setting aside a special period in our Sunday Sermon Series to focus on each of these values specifically. During the rest of this year, our elders and pastoral staff will be working hard with our leaders to integrate this into our leadership culture. 

I’d like to encourage you to read and understand the vision and values. Take a moment tonight to pray over our church with this vision--that this would unite our efforts to pursue kingdom life together. 



King’s Cross Church is
a community of broken people
following Jesus
in the story of how he is renewing
our neighborhood and our lives.

Broken people... following Jesus. 

We may rightly say that this is at the heart of what being a Christian is about. It's also at the heart of our vision statement. Our vision statement tells us not only who we are, but what we are striving together towards. Here's the breakdown of why every part of this matters to us:

A COMMUNITY. The concept of communal life of the church encompasses both our gathering to worship the Triune God both in formal [Sunday] worship and informal [community groups, praise and prayer nights, etc.] worship. It also encompasses our scattering, which takes our kingdom life outside the spaces we worship together in, and understands that the life of the church calls us to be faithfully present in all of life.

BROKEN PEOPLE. Jesus made it clear why he had come to live among us when he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). By extension, we understand the Church exists to continue that same inviting call to broken sinners who are desperately in need of God’s reconciling grace. This means that we are not about becoming “better” people, but rather, people who rely on and are filled with the only one who was good, the Lord Jesus Christ.

FOLLOWING JESUS. We believe that spiritual growth happens when people simultaneously grasp the depth of their own brokenness and the height of God’s love and grace for them in Jesus. This is the re-creative power of the gospel: to turn us from our false-gods, and receive and embrace the incredible adoption we have, as God’s children and heirs of his kingdom. (Romans 8:16-17)

We also understand that following Jesus means we are free to pursue others good and wellbeing. Our lives take on the contours of his life as we grow in our relationship with him, which means we will be growing in a deeper desire and capacity to dwell with others, for the sake of pursuing their good and flourishing.

THE STORY OF HOW HE IS RENEWING OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND OUR LIVES. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is literally the most beautiful and good news we could imagine; and like all news there is a story of how this news comes to us. Scripture tells us that we are caught up in the grand story of Creation, The Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.

Because of the fall, sin brought all of God’s good creation under what Ecclesiastes puts so well, “...there is nothing new under the sun.” We live in a world crying out in “sackcloth and ashes,”--biblical imagery of decay and corruption. The gospel is such good news because it tells us, upon the finished work of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection--Jesus has begun to make “all things new,” in a world where sin has made all things old.

Therefore our role in the story is to live a missional life--It means we are seeking to see the kingdom of God changing and transforming our Flushing neighborhood, block by block, and our lives, day by day, as we dwell together.*

Core Values

Core values describe how we will embody our vision and help shape how we behave as a church.


The gospel message tells us that God so loved his fallen creation that he sent his one and only son, Jesus, to renew all things through his kingdom. We believe the gospel is not merely how we receive grace and pardon for our sins, but in fact, the gospel is at the heart of how we experience the love and person of Jesus. Through the gospel, we are drawn together as a family. It is in this life of the family that we most deeply experience the power of the gospel at work in our lives.


As we experience the deep heart-work of being made more like Jesus, we are given new desires, new dreams, and a new heart. Our world is redefined by who God is and what he has done for us which gives a completely new way of seeing the things we get our deepest identity and meaning and purpose from.


Jesus entered into our world and shared all of life with us. Therefore, we desire to live and dwell with others in the same way. This means we want to be so embedded in our neighborhood that it colors the way we worship and live. It also means that we worship and cultivate our faith in ways that are relevant and relatable to neighbors and non-christians.


We want to be able to reimagine Flushing in light of God’s story, understanding what peace and flourishing of God’s kingdom would look like, here on earth. This means we want to foster a genuine appreciation for the ways God is already at work in our neighborhood. It also means we are called to address the brokenness, injustice, and oppression through intercessory prayer, engaging in mercy, (meeting basic needs,) and doing justice, (generous sharing of our resources and voice for our others’ good.)

REPLICATING CHURCH | multiplication

Whether in discipleship relationships, community groups, or raising up leaders, we believe a sign of true growth and flourishing is through multiplying. This also applies to how we envision our church growing, as, we would rather grow outward, seeking to plant like-minded churches to further share the gospel with those yet unreached in our city.

*You might wonder how this could apply to those of us who live outside of Flushing? When we say, "the story of how he is renewing our neighborhood and our lives," we can embrace the fact that as a church, we have corporately been given a goal, a vision for the kingdom of God to further manifest itself in Flushing, and at the same time, recognize that God has given us individual callings--"our lives"--meaning, where we work, where we live, etc., we have individual callings to pursue the kingdom of God there, without denying our corporate calling, to love and serve Flushing's good, too. 

The Church: Gathered and Scattered

We believe God has planted King's Cross Church in Flushing to be a witness and community of Kingdom Minded, Kingdom People in this city, for this city. 

As we approach summer, I want to invite you to review or for some, explain, our vision of where we are moving as a church this year. I shared at our last town hall meeting how our Congregational Retreat will be vitally important for us to grow in our understanding of how God has and is gathering and scattering us as a people--to accomplish his mission of redeeming creation and doing good for the city.

This year, as we gather once again around the table of God’s great banquet of grace, the Lord of the banquet has disclosed a deep, intimate yearning in his heart. It is not our request, nor is it a man-made vision. Jesus, himself, reveals to us our Father’s great longing: to see his house filled.

The Greek word being used here, gemizo, means "to fill or to saturate completely." Other uses in Scripture refer to pots being gemizo’ed with water, or a boat that is sinking, being gemizo’ed by massive waves. Our Father’s desire is not for what is on the table, but for those who have not yet tasted how good and satisfying the Bread of Life really is!

The Dynamic of "Gathered and Scattered"

We can lay out the vision like this:

We see our Father’s mission and desire is to restore all of creation, the first fruits of which are worshipers who have been captured by the love of his Son, Jesus Christ. The way he moves and stirs us to fill his dwelling place is by this missional movement we see as the Gathering and Scattering of his people with the compelling power of the gospel message. It’s the process of calling us into worship and building up of our faith, and as we’re filled up with the Word, sent out to live and proclaim that same good news.

If you have served in some of these areas before, challenge yourself to go deeper, to bring others with you, and to experience the wonder of God afresh. If you haven't, challenge yourself and consider how you might want to partner and join in with where we see God at work in our community. Here are just a few areas where we invite you to join to consider joining with us:

  • Prayer Walks. As we walk through where we live, work, worship and eat, let's stop and come aware to what God wants to reveal to us.  
  • Sunday Worship. This might seem strange to have here, but we have a very high rate of visitors that non-regular attendees that gather with us every week. How might God be calling you to simply reach out, get to know someone new, welcome someone into your circle, and possibly become a part of their story of how they became a part of this family. 
  • Theology of Work. As we began to think about how much time we spend at our work places and work communities, we saw what an incredible culture-shaping impact it would be to integrate a deep and wide understanding of how God sees us, our work, and how he calls us to an amazing truth about his Kingdom that could transform not only our hearts, but also our workplaces.
  • Congregational Retreat. Our retreat, this year, will be focusing on our vision of The Church: Gathered and Scattered. We've invited pastor Reyne Cabinte, who will be helping us think, pray and worship in the gospel, and challenge us to consider some ways we can compel others to come to the banquet table of grace in our own context. 
  • Summer Saturday Program. Each summer, for 5 Saturdays, we invite children from our community into our lives and hearts as we engage in sharing the gospel through songs, activities, and teaching--often to children who have never heard the gospel before! Our desire is to build relationships with these children and their families, planting seeds of faith that we pray God will grow into a relationship with Jesus Christ.