The Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice Partnership, Drs. John M. Perkins and Paul Louis Metzger
Drum Majors—Meaning and Purpose:
In the sermon “The Drum Major Instinct” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia on 4 February 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of wanting to be remembered as a drum major (leader of the marching band) for justice after his death. 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.
The Drum Majors Tour Package:
Drs. Perkins and Metzger contextualize their talks and sessions to meet the needs of the communities to whom they speak. Here is a sample weekend conference format: an introductory talk on Friday evening (“That Sense of Urgency”), two workshops on Saturday morning (one on the biblical and theological foundations-“Toward a Theology of Engagement,” and the other on community development-“Beyond Charity: The 3 R’s”), a moderated forum on Saturday afternoon on spiritual formation (“Marathon Runners in the Making”), a session dedicated to getting groups to build a self-sustaining network on Saturday afternoon based on mutual trust and collective ownership (“Owning the Pond Together”), and a closing talk on Sunday morning (“Reflecting God’s Kingdom-Where Do We Go From Here?”). Here is the sample outline (other formats as well as weekday frameworks are also available):
- “That Sense of Urgency,” Drs. Perkins and Metzger (Friday Night)
- “Toward a Theology of Engagement,” Dr. Metzger (Saturday Morning)
- “Beyond Charity—the 3 R’s,” Dr. Perkins (Saturday Morning)
- “Marathon Runners in the Making,” A Moderated Discussion with Drs. Perkins and Metzger (Saturday Afternoon)
- “Owning the Pond Together,” A Moderated Discussion with Drs. Perkins and Metzger, and Community Leaders (Saturday Afternoon)
- “Reflecting God’s Kingdom—Where Do We Go From Here?” Drs. Perkins and Metzger (Sunday Morning)
Desired outcomes would include the following four components:
- A greater grasp of biblical and theological foundations for Christian community development work.
- Practical insights on how to do Christian community development work.
- Attentiveness to the needed spiritual maturation process.
- Logistical guidance on how to build a network of associations committed to building the trust, passion, and infrastructure necessary to establish and sustain vibrant communities.
The Drum Majors:
Dr. John M. Perkins is the Founder of the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development, Co-Founder of the Christian Community Development Association, and author and editor of numerous works, including Let Justice Roll Down and With Justice for All: A Strategy for Community Development. Dr. Perkins has served as an advisor to several U.S. Presidents on poverty and justice related matters.
Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is Professor of Christian Theology & Theology of Culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon, Founder and Director of the seminary’s Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins, and author and editor of numerous works, including Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church.
Further information about the partnership will be posted on consumingjesus.org, as it becomes available. The contact person for the “Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice” partnership is Mr. Ronn Elzinga (503-222-7216).
“Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice has captured the voice of our generation. Drs. Perkins and Metzger are the perfect spokesmen for this movement, understanding the urgent need to proclaim the life-changing and society-changing message of the Gospel through word and deed. They have been a respected voice for justice, truth, and love in our area for years, and have challenged thousands to think more Biblically to recognize ways that our evangelical community can step up to share the whole Gospel with the whole person. I’m excited to see how the Lord will continue to use these two leaders, and this movement, to challenge the Body of Christ, bring us together as one, and reach out with the relevant message of Christ.”
Kevin Palau, Executive Vice President, Luis Palau Association
“In our dark and ever-changing world I’m seeing a new generation of Christ-followers emerging, a people who recognize that the gospel of Jesus brings transformation to the whole person and displays the Kingdom – in zip codes and relationships. The time is now for a prophetic voice to shout theologically and practically, inspiring and equipping a new breed of evangelical. Drs. Perkins and Metzger do this convincingly, pounding out a gospel centered cadence. This gospel of grace builds the city through love, truth, and justice. It breaks in, confronting our consumerism, our relational walls of separation, and our societal structures of injustice. Though from diverse cultural backgrounds, these Drum Majors, like B.B. and Bono, make a beautiful sound when their message of love, truth, and justice comes to town. At Imago Dei, our community is enriched and I am inspired and convicted repeatedly by their message and their partnership. Every missionally minded leader should connect, download, and play their song. Our cities will be better for it.”
Clark Blakeman, Director of Community Relations, Imago Dei Community Church, Portland, Oregon
“Drum Majors for Truth, Love, and Justice helped our school set aside time to consider what we are doing, or not doing, when it comes to injustices in our community. With so many questions of community identity and protectionism during harder economic times, it was refreshing to remember what we can do and that we can start putting one foot in front of the other now. The Gospel message of love was presented by both Dr. Perkins and Dr. Metzger, each in his own capacity to speak to different aspects of college and community life. This conference kept us on track to keep these issues at the forefront of our minds and reflected the urgency of the needs. Calvin College is very happy to have had the opportunity to host these fine Drum Majors!”
Erin O’Connor-Garcia, Coordinator for Student Activities and Organizations, Calvin College
“I serve as the Senior Pastor of Grace Christian Reformed Church, a diverse, multi ethnic inner city community of Christians. We believe that God calls us to serve the community in which He has placed us. We were honored and challenged to have ‘Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice’ with us in March of this year. They reminded us of the truth that the gospel of grace brings transforming power. It reaches in and speaks to our culture of consumerism; it speaks to walls of division; it speaks to injustice everywhere; it speaks to our daily lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. That is the message that ‘Drum Majors’ brought to us.
Dr. Perkins and Dr. Metzger preached prophetically in the sermon that they delivered together as part of our worship service. Although they are very different from each other, they challenged us in a single unified message beautifully woven together. They called us to critically examine our own lives and our role as Christians to serve as agents of transformation in our culture and society. They called for us to look at our church and understand better the influence that culture has had on who we are and how we live. Their message was a message of God’s grace directly and carefully founded in Scripture. Our community was enriched by their presence with us. It was an opportunity to bring us back to the Foundational Truths on which our new lives in Christ are based. I heartily endorse their ministry, and encourage pastors elsewhere to invite them to bring their inspirational and transformational message to their towns and cities.”
Jack Kooreman, Senior Pastor, Grace Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan”
Over the last year, I have been involved in the Season of Service sponsored by the Luis Palau Association. The Season of Service gathered many Pastors and Christians in the Portland area to do acts of compassion and kindness in the greater Portland area. We saw thousands of Oregonians participate and meet the needs of hurting people all over this region. Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice and the Palau team provided a follow-up conference for those Pastors and leaders, giving us some theological tools and Holy Spirit power to consider meeting needs in our community on a long-term basis. We were moved and inspired by Dr. Paul Louis Metzger and Dr. John M. Perkins to work as a community and as brothers and sisters to be the united body of Christ in meeting those needs. This required honest and open discussions about the past and how to forge new relationships with the entire Christian community to do Kingdom work. I have known both Paul and John for many years and consider them to be men of integrity, and my friends. I wholeheartedly endorse and support the work they do with Drum Majors for Love Truth and Justice and believe the body of Christ is growing as a result of their work.”
David Greenidge, Senior Pastor, Tigard Covenant Church
“Even before recent events there was an economic crisis. Roughly 21% of our world lives in poverty. The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen. Economic inequities create racial inequities. Just recently, the Urban League reported that African-Americans remain twice as likely to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be imprisoned compared with whites. The report comments that economics ‘remains the area with the greatest degree of inequality,’ with social justice, health and education following. Bringing hope to a hopeless world, Dr. John M. Perkins and Dr. Paul Louis Metzger powerfully make clear that the call of the gospel is towards reconciliation, both with God and our fellow human beings, and towards redemption, of both the spiritual and material. Thus reconciliation and redemption should be the call of God’s people. The loving yet prophetic witness of Perkins, in life, ministry, and word, has been a beacon pointing the way for those who seek to holistically follow Jesus in witness and justice. The penetrating theological and missional insights of Metzger have unmasked the ways we consume rather than cultivate, how we cram ourselves full of stuff rather than partake of the body and blood of Christ, thus diverting the church from its kingdom mission. Together they are the perfect tandem in their timely wake-up call for biblical justice, along with the theological and practical path forward, to inspire and show our churches, towns and cities how to move towards becoming the ‘beloved community.’”
Michael Andres, Ph.D., Chair, Religion Department; Associate Professor of Religion, Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa