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On Palm Sunday, Pastor David Ireland addressed the two congregations of Christ Church with a clear message on responding to the COVID-19 crisis. He used three pairs of opposite ideas to illustrate his point: Fear and faith, far and near, chaos and calm. Each pair speaks of the tension we all feel between understandable, negative emotions and the truth of God’s power and presence. He says this tension is normal, and nothing to be ashamed of, or denied. Regarding fear and faith, Dr. Ireland offered the example of the medical professionals at a particular hospital in Cartersville, GA, who, as they struggled with the fear of contracting the coronavirus from their patients, bravely went to work despite it. The local community showed its gratitude by gathering in cars outside the hospital, cheering on the staff, and displaying posters thanking them, some with references to faith in God. Many doctors, nurses, and staff went up on the building’s roof and waved at the crowd to express their appreciation.

As to the contrast between “far and near,” Pastor Ireland referred to the well-known story of Peter walking on water toward Jesus. The Lord seemed near when Peter’s gaze was fixed on Him, but when his focus shifted to the wind and waves, he started to sink, and Jesus suddenly seemed far away. Again, the pastor pointed out how easy and natural it is for each of us to believe what we see with our eyes versus what we know to be the truth.

Lastly, Pastor Ireland talked about how to find calm amidst the chaos that the whole world is experiencing now. Staying in community, by reaching out to friends and family, is critical to that end, he said. The most important action we can take, he exhorted, is to read and meditate on God’s Word. There we find peace in the storm, whether or not we find reasons as to why they come. “I have no answers as to why COVID-19 affects one home and not another,” he says. Referring to a worship song, he said what we do know is that God is with us no matter what we go through: “Some through the waters, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood; some through great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.”


When Pastor David Ireland was only ten-years-old they moved into a mostly white neighborhood. Sadly, his house was firebombed by five white boys who were never charged. Surprisingly, David’s parents sat him and his siblings down and said, “Don’t hate white people because of what these boys did.” Yet, the hate didn’t stop there. The Ireland family had to have around-the-clock police surveillance

because of the death threats from white people in their community. David and his family got the message that they were not welcome in their new community and a seed of distrust and bitterness towards whites was planted in David’s young heart. When David was 20 years old at college, a miracle happened. Not only did he give his life to Jesus, but he was instantly healed from the pain of victimization. Amazingly, God is using David as a national leader who is building bridges of reconciliation between the races. His calling came over 30 years ago, while on a visit to the grocery store for his pregnant wife Marlinda. David explains, “For some odd reason, I noticed the diversity of people shopping. There were African Americans, whites, Latinos, and Asians moving about with their grocery carts. At that moment I heard, for one of the first times in my life, the audible voice of God. It was much like the experience of Saul when God called to him in 1 Samuel 3. It was so real as if someone was standing near me shouting my name. The Lord said to me, ‘David, why can’t it be like that in My house?’ I stood there frozen for a moment. Then, I started to cry.”

Today, he pastors a thriving church of 9,000 racially diverse people. David has written One in Christ which aims to do three things: First, challenge you to create racially diverse churches. Second, to provide tools to help you master diversity. Third, to equip you with the biblical framework to operate cross-culturally.

David shares, “Diversity doesn’t start with a statement. Diversity starts with relationships that are personal in our life that reflects that. You earn the right to speak during peacetime, not during the conflict.”

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Author of more than 26 books, his latest: One in Christ (Regnery Faith, 2018)

Founding Pastor, Christ Church, a 9,000-member, multi-racial congregation with more than 70 nationalities

Former diversity consultant, NBA

Has led chapel services for the New York Giants, New York Jets, and at the U.S. Pentagon

Has traveled to more than 75 nations, teaching culturally-relevant messages 

Media: Fox News, Huffington Post, Dr. Phil Show, CBS Evening News, and OprahMag.com, etc.

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.; M.S., Civil Engineering, Stevens Tech; M.P.S., Alliance Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Organizational Leadership, Regent Univ.; completed post-doctoral work at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, candidate for postgraduate degree in Social Innovation from the Univ. of Cambridge, England

Wife, Dr. Marlinda Ireland; two adult daughters and a son-in-law


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