CNLP 352: Levi and Jennie Lusko, Albert Tate and Nicole Martin on Undoing the Legacy of the KKK and How to Navigate Racial Reconciliation with Your Team, Family, on Social Media and in Real Life

In this episode of the podcast, Levi and Jennie Lusko tell you firsthand about the backlash they received when they decided to take a stand for racial reconciliation. Levi talks about the moment he realized the stage he preaches from was used for a KKK rally in the early 20th Century.

Then, Albert Tate and Nicole Martin join the conversation for an open, honest discussion about how race is still a factor in their lives and ministry, and what white leaders can do about it.

Welcome to Episode 352 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about some character rules we should follow in light of this episode’s conversation.

Guest Links

Headshots of Carey Nieuwhof, Levi and Jennie Lusko, Albert Tate, Nicole Martin, and David Kinnaman

Levi Lusko Instagram | Jennie Lusko Instagram | Levi Lusko Twitter | Jennie Lusko TwitterWebsite
Albert Tate Instagram | Albert Tate Twitter | Website
Nicole Martin Instagram | Nicole Martin Twitter | Website

Episode Links


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ChurchPulse Weekly

Fresh Life Church


Made to Lead: Empowering Women for Leadership by Nicole Massie Martin

Slave Religion by Albert J. Raboteau

An Open Conversation About Racism and Faith | Jeff Brodie and Deniel Sewell

Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.

5 [NEW] Character Rules Every Leaders Should Follow by Carey Nieuwhof


1. Racism in the church is a much bigger deal than you think

Levi and Jennie Lusko were shocked by how many hateful comments they received just by saying, “Until black lives matter, all lives don’t matter.” Levi has learned that the response he received is a sign of a major underground issue for the church. These comments from Christians all over the country are the tip of a very large iceberg of racism in American Christianity.

Barna’s research backs this point up, as well. There is a massive disconnect between black and white Christians in America, and if we want to move forward, we need to attack the larger issue of racism in the American church first.

2. Moderate Whites can a bigger danger to racial reconciliation than the raging racists

In his Letters From A Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The biggest opposition to this movement and this vision of reconciliation is not the raging racist, but the moderate white Christian who’s indifferent and stays silent.” Wow.

The movement of racial justice is more likely to be shut down and stopped by quiet Christians rather than outspoken racists. So that begs the question, how will you proceed? If you want to help, take a stand against racism. At family dinners, in your hiring processes, at your church, etc. Wherever racism shows up, fight it. The church has been silent too long.

3. The fear of loss is real

Nicole told a story of one of her recent green room experiences where a highly influential pastor admitted to her that he couldn’t afford to speak out about race in the church. If he were to speak out, he would be immediately removed from his pulpit and lose some of his top donors. His fear was stopping him from speaking out, and Nicole is afraid that this is the story for MANY white pastors around the world.

This issue of racism in America is bigger than your job. It’s bigger than your top donor. You need to inspect what it is holding you back from speaking up more, and bring that to Christ today.

4. Saying “Black Lives Matter” is a statement of value, not an affiliation with the organization

So many white people are concerned that if they say “black lives matter,” they’re aligning themselves with a specific organization. Albert argues that it’s actually a statement of value. You are saying that your black brothers and sisters matter, and that the world needs to function like they do. After all, theologically speaking, the statement “black lives matter” is 100% biblical and accurate.

Kay Warren is a great person to follow about this. She has actively been stating that black lives matter and is receiving a lot of criticism for it. But, she says, “I’m willing to risk being misunderstood by some in order that I might be seen as an advocate and a friend to my brothers and sisters that are hurting.”

5. If you miss racial reconciliation, you will miss the next generation

This shouldn’t be your primary motivation to fight for racial reconciliation, but another reason that your church needs to jump into the conversation about racial reconciliation is that it’s a MASSIVE value for the next generation. If you look at the videos of the protests happening around the country, the protestors are mostly young people; most of them aren’t even black. If you want to reach the next generation, you need to get racial reconciliation right.

Quotes from Episode 352

As one day, we'll stand around the throne, I'm fighting so we can practice now by sitting around the table. @alberttate Click To Tweet

God's given us a moment of grace here as the white church to do some things differently and not just sort of do them differently, but do them completely differently. @davidkinnaman Click To Tweet

Now is the time for white Christians to really evaluate the cost and to answer authentically that question about fear. What are you afraid of? @nmassiemartin Click To Tweet

20 years from now, when we look back on this moment and our kids look back on this moment, we will be remembered more about how we responded to the racial reconciliation conversation than even what we did about COVID. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

It hurts us when we say there's a systematic theology on sin, but racism is not systematic. @nmassiemartin Click To Tweet

There hasn't ever been anything that has gripped my heart and caused me personal repentance and personal grief than grieving with those who have been grieving for the whole of our country and Black Americans. @jennielusko Click To Tweet

When your private walk is really not different than your public talk, you don't have a lot to worry about. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Don't say something on social you wouldn't say to someone's face. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Humble your talk and accelerate your walk. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 352

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our new YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen. We’ll add select episodes to YouTube as time goes on.


The world is experiencing a series of unprecedented challenges, and you’re leading in the midst of it all.

I’ve got an online, on-demand course, called How To Lead Through Crisisthat can help you lead your team, your church and yourself through the massive disruption.

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Next Episode: Dr. Henry Cloud

Clinical psychologist, leadership expert and NYT bestselling author, Dr. Henry Cloud returns to the podcast to give a virtual master class on how to handle the stress, anxiety and overwhelm of a year like 2020. He gives practical strategies on preventing burnout, getting and staying healthier, preparing for the long run, how to battle back against negative thoughts and how to stop taking failure personally.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 353.

CNLP 352: Levi and Jennie Lusko, Albert Tate and Nicole Martin on Undoing the Legacy of the KKK and How to Navigate Racial Reconciliation with Your Team, Family, on Social Media and in Real Life


  1. Lori on August 16, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    My husband and I have been considering moving to Montana, but I have really been questioning if it’s a good idea because of some of the hatred that I have been feeling lately, partly because I am not from Montana and partly because I am “too liberal”. Which means I didn’t vote “red”. The stuff in here is a big part of my reasoning. This gives me hope that it might be OK.

  2. Bob Wiseman on July 30, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Racial reconciliation is a great concept, and a desired one, no doubt. The problem is, our “methods” to achieve it are stupid. That’s right, stupid.

    Think of what’s being said across Evangelical circles…

    1. “We must repent of the sin of white privilege”. If all white people have white privilege, and white privilege is a sin, then by logic, all white people are sinners by simply existing. My existence is now sinful. And how does one repent of this sin? By no longer being white? If your method to racial reconciliation is to call one race “sinful by existence”, then you don’t care about racial reconciliation.

    2. We have separated ourselves into the “white church” and the “black church.” There’s an old 60 Minutes interview with Morgan Freeman where he says, “I am going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man”.

    The entire conversation is, “what can white Christians do for their black neighbors?”… two huge problems: a) it’s naturally divisive. It has already pitted the two sides at enmity. We can’t reconcile if we’re acting differently, and b) it lords one side over the other. “What can white Christians do…” We never hear, “what can black Christians do…” No one is asking that. Why? Why is one party asked to only sacrifice and the other asked to only accept? What a level of arrogance on behalf of white Christians to think that they are in such power that they can only give. If you are speaking of two separate groups in the church, YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT RACIAL RECONCILIATION.

    3. “I’m bringing (insert black friend) into the podcast/sermon/show”. Interesting how we bring in our black friends for one or two episodes, then never again. Does no one else see the huge levels of irony in all of this? It’s disgusting racism. To have such a low view of our black friends that we have to bring them in, ask them to expend energy talking about their struggles, get some clout for ourselves and send them off until the next racial issues in our country. We are using black people at our own convenience to acquire admiration, fanfare, and social media presence. What black voices are you employing regularly on your blog? Pastors, why is it only one Sunday that your black friend gets the pulpit, and never again?

    Also, why is it that the only topic they ever get assigned is about blackness, about racism, about racial reconciliation? Why do we never ask them to come to our churches and preach on Ephesians 2? The truth is, we don’t care what they have to say about anything other than the topics we want them to speak on. I would hope the irony is not lost here, but it sadly is.

    The truth is, 99% of the white pastors preaching on racism don’t give two craps about racism. They care about clout-chasing, social media following, and the next book deal. That’s it. If your discussion on racial reconciliation isn’t practicing racial reconciliation, then you will not succeed in racial reconciliation. My guess is that you don’t care, which is probably way, way, way worse.

  3. Kelly Wang on July 21, 2020 at 7:31 am

    I am a Chinese-American and a Generation X-er. I can honestly say I lack sympathy for the BLM movement. With an open mind, I listened to this podcast. It educated and illuminated me, and I appreciate it. When Pastor Albert Tate repeatedly said, “My white siblings aren’t doing enough for us.” I have to admit I was stirred and disturbed. And this is where I am stuck.

    I wonder if I don’t fully get the history and the pain of slavery. As an Asian, it never crossed my mind that I needed anyone to do anything for me to achieve equality. Am I naïve to believe it’s my character and integrity that gets me places? When the world short-changes me, God, who is sovereign, will make it up for me elsewhere. It’s through this lens of optimism I make America my home as an immigrant.

    Overall, I am very grateful I listened to a different point of view!

  4. David Peters on July 14, 2020 at 11:06 am

    where can i find the books Levi mentioned in the podcast?

    • Dillon Smith on July 15, 2020 at 1:51 pm

      Hey David, Dillon here from Carey’s team.

      I just went back and listened through the episode again, and Levi didn’t actually mention any specific books, so I won’t be able to provide a specific link to those resources.

      I’m so sorry. I would check out the books linked above that Albert and Nicole mentioned though!

      I’m so sorry we couldn’t be more help.

      • David Peters on July 15, 2020 at 2:55 pm

        Levi didn’t mention any books but he said he would share the list (or presumed to) and it would be put in the show notes

  5. Les Helmuth on July 10, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Never have I had a message so powerful for White Christians! Thanks so much.

    • Bob Wiseman on July 31, 2020 at 11:54 am

      LOL. “White Christians”

      The “racial reconciliation” folks have separated everyone into two classes (likely more, because we’d have to include Asians, Latinos, Arabs, etc.) and can’t see the irony in it.

  6. Franc Goss on July 9, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Thank for sharing information!

  7. Steve Sileo on July 9, 2020 at 11:27 am

    All I can say is WOW! SO good to listen to and hear from Albert Tate and Nicole Martin. My fav part was from 24:20 and onward.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on July 9, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      It was such a good interview.

  8. Larry Whichard on July 9, 2020 at 8:31 am

    Never agreed and disagreed so much with this subject and podcast. Absolutely still listening, learning, and growing. I can’t go back and change the beginning, but you [I] can start now to change the ending. C. S. Lewis

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