In Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s last speech, “Unfulfilled Dreams,” which he delivered the night before his assassination, King talked about how he wanted to be remembered after his death. He talked about wanting to be remembered as a drum major for justice—the leader of the marching band for justice. In this sense, King followed in the footsteps of Jesus, the ultimate drum major for justice. The Lord Jesus led people to the beat of a different drum—to the drumbeat of love, truth, and justice as he journeyed to the cross. He proclaimed the whole gospel of the kingdom in word and deed to make individuals and their communities whole.
Today, there is an urgent need to proclaim the life-changing and society-changing Gospel in word and deed. Dr. John M. Perkins and Dr. Paul Louis Metzger consider themselves drum majors for love, truth, and justice: love because our world is full of hate, and people desperately need to know God’s love through his Son, Jesus Christ, whom God sent to save the world; truth because individual and community life is often built on the shaky foundations of hearsay, fads, and whatever feels good, and people desperately need to build their lives on the authoritative and unshakable teaching of God’s word; and justice because equity is often a commodity that can be bought and sold, and the marginalized desperately need to see that there is justice for all.
As drum majors, Drs. Perkins and Metzger want to inspire people across the nation to pursue a biblical vision of love, truth, and justice where the all-consuming love of Jesus revealed in the Bible consumes those things that divide us, like race and class barriers. They will be speaking in different locations nationally, working with churches and community groups to raise up well-trained and educated Christian leaders who are passionately engaged in proclaiming the whole gospel of the kingdom in word and deed through the church, to the whole person, in the whole community.
They view their roles in this Drum Majors partnership as instruments of inspiration and consultation, helping to mobilize communities to take ownership and address the issues they are facing, impacting their cities and towns. Thus, they are not looking for those who stand by and clap as the band passes, but for those who will join them on their march, playing their parts in the love, truth, and justice band.