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Racial Reconciliation

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff
The Truth Network Radio
September 4, 2021 12:00 pm

Racial Reconciliation

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff

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September 4, 2021 12:00 pm

Almost a year on from the release of their book, "Welded: Forming Racial Bonds That Last," Pastor Derrick Hawkins and Pastor Jay Stewart of The Refuge Church return to talk with Nikita about the book's success, the working of the Holy Spirit, and their new Welded small group curriculum.

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This is Rodney from the Masculine Journey Podcast, where we explored manhood within Jesus Christ. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Sit back, enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Welcome back. Nikita Kolof, The Devil's Nightmare, stirring it up for the Kingdom of God, stirring up the Kingdom of Hell. And I'm just excited today to have two close friends in the, I was going to say office, in the studio today.

Derek Hawkins, Jay Stewart, pastors of the Refuge Church, Greensboro Campus, Kannapolis Campus. Guys, welcome to the studio. Welcome back. Yeah, it's great to be back, man. Thanks for having us back. We're excited to be here with you. Yeah, we're going to talk with both of you guys today.

I'm excited. Last time we had you on the show, we were talking about a brand new book that you guys brought out, Welded, Forming Racial Bonds That Last. And for those who maybe missed that show, go back and listen to that one, go back to the podcast.

A story of two pastors and two churches coming together in the middle of some of the nation's greatest racial tensions and painting a picture of true biblical community. Wow. That's pretty cool, Derek.

Yeah, absolutely. Nikita, thank you, number one, for having us on the show. As always, man, we honor you. I just want to ask one question.

How do you stay looking so young, man? Well, good clean living. I'll just give it to the good clean living. Man, absolutely, man.

But thank you, man. We've had the privilege of sharing a book, Welded, throughout the world. And the Lord has literally favored us to be on podcasts with people all over the world and Charisma Magazine, Christian Post. I mean, we've had the privilege to tell the story of us, just the story of us coming together, meeting together, merging our churches together.

And the book is doing phenomenal throughout the world. And for those who maybe don't know, and of course, I've known Jay slightly longer than Derek. But Derek, I love your heart, man.

I just love being around you. And sat in recently on a message, a Sunday morning service, where, man, the doves didn't descend. The fires were flaming. I mean, the Holy Spirit was in that place. The anointing on your life and really the anointing on that message was powerful, my brother.

Man, thank you so much, man. I actually have a great father, mentor, teacher, leader. And I, you know, I thank God for Pastor Jay Stewart. When you talk about life and people like that, see you in seed form, so many people want to take advantage of what becomes, but in the infancy of what wasn't, what the Lord allowed him to kind of nurture me, pour into me. And a lot of what you see today is because he believed in me. Let me just ask you a quick question on that in regards to that, because there's probably a lot of listeners out there, a lot of people out there who who don't have a mentor, they don't have somebody discipling them, you know, which we know the importance of a brand new believer, you know, having that kind of that counsel or that leading. But even for those, I've met many who've been followers of Christ for years and still have never had that. So that's been important to you, to have someone like Jay mentor and disciple you.

Absolutely. I think Paul says it best, though we have many mentors, we have few fathers, so this is much more than mentorship for me as a spiritual father. And so which speaks into your DNA and identity as a son brought me in the sonship, what it means to learn the kingdom, learn about ministry.

He allowed me to come inside of his church to be around business. He taught me a lot of things about preaching and style and delivery and clarity and prayer and integrity. It's a lot of decisions that I make now because of what he taught me. And he didn't just teach me what words, he taught me what actions. So there's a difference. Wow. So pay attention to that. He didn't just teach me with words. He taught, he modeled it. He displayed it for you.

Many times actions speak way louder than words. Speaking of young, you're slightly younger than me. Slightly.

Slightly. Mid-30s? Mid-30s, yes sir.

Mid-30s. So Jay, let me bounce over to you. You heard what Derek just said and, you know, mentoring him. And again, for those who don't know, you and I go back quite a bit further in fact, 28 plus years.

I think 1993, I believe. Yeah, that's right. Essentially, I tell people, you're my pastor and have been and continue to be and for all these years later. And so speaking of mentoring Derek and discipling, I've gleaned so much from you and over the years through our friendship. Well, I can say this thing, Nikita. Iron sharpens iron.

One man sharpens another. My life has been so sharpened by our relationship, our friendship, and the times that we connect, we connect on a regular basis. Every month we're together. And I'm a better man because of you. And so admire how you've allowed God to work through you. And, you know, you wrestled people for years. I've watched you wrestle the devil for much longer and come out victorious every time.

So proud of you and thankful to be with you again today. Well, I appreciate it. And it's been, you know, if you're listening out there, I mean, it's not been smooth sailing for Nikita Kolov, you know, post my wrestling career and my journey and walk with the Lord. I mean, there's been ups and downs. I like to say ups and downs and highs and lows and twists and turns.

It's been a roller coaster of a ride. Right. But you've been there, essentially, Jay, with me all along the way and in my lowest moments and even in my highest celebrations. And so I really value that.

Yeah, awesome. And I know, too, speaking of discipleship, over the years, you've had groups that you've discipled, of course, one-on-one, like with Derek. I mean, so discipleship's important to you as well.

Very much so. And I think even in the times that we're in now, post-COVID, if we can say that, I believe the churches that are going to survive and thrive are those who really focus on discipleship. Because I believe one of the weaknesses of the American church is that we've not produced disciple-making disciples.

Yeah. And I think that that's a huge void in the American church. But I think it has to be a focus. It's the mandate of Jesus. Go and make disciples. Great commission.

The Great Commission. And I think part of our heart with the book, with Welded, is that we would see disciples made. Unity was a big deal to Jesus.

We talked about that the last time we were here with you. It's a huge priority to God. And I think through the book, there's a lot of disciple-making principles that are found in the book Welded. And we're hearing stories already of how God's using it to really disturb people's hearts as it relates to racial reconciliation, unity. Big deal to the Lord. It's a prerequisite for revival.

I believe if we're going to see the outpouring of the Spirit of God on American, on the American church, we got to get this right. Like we can't just treat it as, well, we can shove it to the back burner. Sweep it under the carpet.

Sweep it under the carpet. Yeah. No, it's got to be a big deal to us as well. And we're just blessed and grateful for how God's used it. The book released November the 17th of 2020, right in the height of so much division.

All that was going on with the election and COVID and the racial divisions and a host of other things. But man, Nikita, God's used it in so many ways. We just heard from our publisher just a couple of months ago that of all the books that they've published, Welded is the only book they've ever had that has unanimous five star ratings on Amazon. They said that's unheard of. They've never had a book do that before.

So people are responding really well to it and God's using it. It's also in many prisons, thousands of copies in all the prisons in Tennessee, all the prisons in South Carolina and 50 of the largest prisons in the state of Florida. And we know there's a lot of racial division in the prisons. We just believe a revival is going to come to the prisons through Welded.

Maybe it'll break out there before it breaks out anywhere else. Wherever, just let it come, Lord. You know, I'm not a big prison speaker guy. I mean, God hasn't really led me into, you might say, prison ministry. Now, I've spoken in prisons. In fact, one of my wrestling peers, Tully Blanchard, for years, God really called him to the prisons. To date, I believe he has spoken over 2,000 prisons over the course of his walk with the Lord. But yet, when I'm in prisons, ironically, a lot of them seem to be wrestling fans.

They're wrestling fans. And so I do garner their attention from that. But speaking of that, so you've had this impact not only outside of the prison walls, but here you're impacting the prisons. And I know you, Derek, share a story, a story, maybe a story whether it's a prisoner or someone else that maybe has been impacted by Welded. And we've actually had two stories, and one of them was a letter that we received from a prisoner inside of one of the Florida prisons talking about the impact that the book Welded had on his life.

And so, you know, sometimes you see the fruit of that. We're sending books out. You don't know the impact or the reach that the book is going to have.

And sometimes just hearing those stories. And recently we even had an older lady from Florida who was doing a summer reading program with students that says, hey, we read the book. Everybody in the world needs to read the book Welded.

But not only that, she wanted to get our permission to make it a part of her summer reading program. So that's just some of the effects of Welded and what the Lord is doing with the book throughout the nation, but also in the hearts of individuals all over who just need inspiration, encouragement. We need hope. We also need direction. And one of the things that Pastor J said earlier about it is that we wanted to make sure that the information nuggets that we could bring out of this book would be discipleship conversations to lead people in discussing conversation about race can be difficult to talk about, especially with what we have going on in the nation today. There's so much controversy. Everything you say is like stepping on a landmine.

So what do we do? And one of the things about Welded is it opens the doors to have the tough conversations with love and truth. And I thank God for what the Lord has allowed us to do and write in the book Welded. Let me ask you a question.

Somebody's just bubbling in my spirit. So tell our listeners, what was it like? How was your church in Greensboro, right?

You got the Greensboro campus. How did they receive initially when you said, hey, we're going to we're going to blend our church with a predominantly all white church in Kansas, North Carolina, who's got a mega white church. Were they receptive to that?

Have you lost your mind? You know, and so there's there's always going to be naysayers in the moment, but you have to trust the Lord and what he led us to do. The overall response from our campus was positive. They only had maybe a few people that asked the question, man, hey, man, what in the world are you guys doing? What are you thinking about it? Had one lady particularly say, man, can we not merge with the black church? You know, it wasn't about that. I never looked at Pastor J. Hey, this is a white pastor. Man, the Lord actually gave me a vision in college that I would meet this middle aged white guy in college. And I wrote it down in my prayer journal. And when I first met Pastor J, I told him, so it was like a fulfillment of a prophecy that the Lord had given me.

I didn't know about future destiny. I just knew I trusted the Lord in every step of every decision that I've always made in my life has always been leaning into the voice of the Lord. And so when I met Pastor J wasn't about race. And I think when I heard somebody say this the other day, when we die, what colors our souls? Like, and I think a lot of us are focused on skin, but not our souls. We have an opportunity to minister to the gospel to people who are lost.

And maybe they're looking through the bias of race as a hindrance, but there's a soul that's at stake. And we just want to bring truth and awareness to difficult conversations, things that are happening in our country. And we need Jesus.

Darrell Bock Man, it's good. And I tell you what resonates with what you just said. And I'm, of course, reminded of Samuel giving the task to anoint the next king of Israel. And he looks at Eliab, you know, the first one of Jesse's sons. And he goes, oh, surely, you know, God's anointed to stand before him. And God says, uh-uh, man looks at the outward appearance.

So, really, what you're saying is, whether it's black skin, brown skin, yellow skin, red skin, white skin, unfortunately, in a sense, man has a tendency to look at the outward appearance, in this case, the color of somebody's skin, and already make their own judgment or whatever else, right? And so, man, I'm so glad to hear you say that. Jay, let me ask you, give us a quick little back story. We got some exciting news. Well, I wanted to bring you back in the studio. We've got some exciting news to share with all of our listeners. Go back just real quick on how you got connected with Derek, and how all of that originally happened.

Yeah, so it started in 2014. And it was right after we had moved into a brand new building that we had constructed. And I walked out into our lobby. I'm out there every Sunday. I was just meeting people. And Pastor Derek approached me. I had never met him before. And he just said, I'd like to meet with you sometime and just talk about, you know, mentoring, coaching, whatever.

Well, that's my heart. I have an apostolic anointing on my life. I love to pour into other pastors. I've coached many church planters.

So it was an easy yes for me. I did not know nor expect the immediate spirit to spirit connection that I would have with him. But the first time we met, it was obvious to me that the Holy Spirit was unfolding a much bigger picture than what I realized in the moment. I just thought, I'm going to meet with another pastor. I'm going to pour into him, help him. He's about to take over a church in Greensboro.

I'm just going to coach him along the way. And there was much more that God intended to do. And I didn't know what all that entailed in the moment. I didn't know it was going to be the merging of churches. I didn't know a book was going to come out.

None of that. I just knew there's something much bigger that God's up to. And then we forged this relationship, this beautiful relationship that God brought together. And then it just evolved into more and more things. The story of the merging of our churches, the book, all that kind of stuff.

Yeah, which is just amazing. Really, for me, I don't want to say an outside observer, but if I've stepped back and looked from the outside in, I mean, you guys are just a picture of what the book exemplifies, you know, a racial reconciliation. So it's a model of that, whether it's other churches or individuals or groups or whoever in prison, right?

We know there's a lot of division in prison, you know, so inside and outside in the free world, there's lots of division. 1230 on the Truth Network. Drive to Crescent. You should too. Let's transition, because that brings us to really something new that's transpired now. So from the merging of the church, and then the co-authoring the book, and getting both of your perspectives on this, to now. Jake, tell us what's going on now with the book.

What's happening now? Yes, it's very exciting, because our brand new small group curriculum for Welded has released through Right Now Media. Right Now Media is the largest digital content provider for religious material in the entire world, and Right Now Media heard about this, they wanted to carry it, and so it's available there through Right Now Media, but it's a six session, six lesson, small group curriculum. So there's six DVDs, six PDFs, and really what it is, it's a deeper dive into racial unity, racial reconciliation, and God just allowed us to create this tool to get people talking, to help them to have conversations, you know, which takes a lot of courage.

A lot of people don't know how to do that. The small group curriculum for Welded is going to help them to know, how do I talk about this? And we're just taking people into a deeper study of some of the principles that we talk about in the book.

Derek, give us maybe an example or two. So a church decides, hey, I want to get this curriculum, or I guess, I mean, a men's Bible study, a women's Bible study. Really, anyone and everyone, obviously, is going to benefit from this, but certainly churches, so let's say a church or a group decides, hey, we want to get this curriculum and implement this.

So what's a couple examples of things that they're going to glean from this? Listen, I think, you know, our goal is just to get the book, right, and then use it alongside with the curriculum, the six-session curriculum. So the book and the curriculum go together.

It's kind of hand in hand. And so as you're reading through the book, you want to spark conversations. We also have a devotional that's on you version that you can actually read.

So while you're doing the six sessions and reading the book, you can also go to you version, download the Bible reading plan to go along with it. Our job is just to spark conversation. We know that typically right now, it's a land mom and any conversation that you have concerning race, racial reconciliation, and unity.

So these conversations are six different sessions to talk about, you know, things that are going on within the book, parts of the book that we brought out to spark conversation and relationship and say, this is a starting point. Of course, we can't bring and create unity. We know the Holy Spirit is the only one that can do that. But what we can do is, is be a door opener for a greater, broader conversation about unity.

And what does that look like? So Pastor Jay and I both go through sessions. We talk about it. We engage with it. We also lead in prayer. This group discussion conversations is very well written.

I'm telling it's going to be powerful. Here's the thing I've been, I've been really gleaning about when Jesus was talking to the disciples, the only question that I've seen them as they seen Jesus, right? Do all these miracles perform all these great acts. But the one thing that they asked him to do is teach us how to pray. And in our last chapter of our book, we always talk about prayer and revival. And in this, we believe that prayer is a crucible for revival.

And as we're talking about this in these sessions, we want to have filter conversations around conversation that might be sensitive, might be like, man, I didn't know we could talk about that. But then let's have moments of prayer to figure out, okay, Lord, what do you want to do in the outpoint of your spirit in this small group that we hope that leads to change based upon a group being discipled together and answering the tough questions. So that's our goal. So there's the book. So they're going to read the book, the DVD and the DVD. So the DVD is really kind of the two of you in teaching mode.

Yeah, so each each DVD is maybe eight to 10 minutes. And so a group and it could be a, it could be a corporate group, you know, somebody could do it in the workplace, get young people talking men, women, like you were talking about, they'll watch the DVD, eight to 10 minutes. And then we've written thoughts and questions for them to walk through together. And some of them are very pointed questions where they're going to sit down, they're going to respond to those questions, and it's going to really open up conversations that they might not on their own have with somebody else.

Prompt the conversation, prompt that conversation, or maybe they don't even know what the right question to ask. Exactly. Right. We're giving them the questions. Okay. We're giving them the thoughts and saying, what do you think about this? We brought this point out in the book. What are your thoughts about that? So they're going to talk about things that maybe they just don't even know how to engage in that conversation. Okay. So this is a tool that's going to help them do that. The book, the DVDs, and then the questions that go along with a small group study. And I know, just what you've already shared based on the feedback itself from the book, that I'm excited to hear what kind of results, what kind of feedback you get from the curriculum itself.

We are too, Nikita, and it's just a great time. This issue, although people are focusing on different things that are going on around the world, this issue is still there. It's not resolved. Right.

Still a major deal in America and around the world. So we just want to encourage people, get the books, order the books from Amazon for your small group, get the small group curriculum through RightNow Media, and go there. Just go to a place that's going to require some courage. But what we believe is going to happen is the Holy Spirit's going to come into the midst of those conversations. And He's going to bring unity, He's going to bring healing, and He's going to bring revival.

That's what we're praying. Because for some, let's face it, I mean, obviously depending on what part of the world or what part of the, even the nation, what part of the country you live in, right, depending on an individual's upbringing, part of the hard part for they, you know, depending on what they were told about another race. I envisioned breaking down some of those lies that they were told when they were growing up. And then this curriculum, your book, is bringing truth into the city. And I love, Derek, you're always talking about truth, man, truth, truth. And I love that, truth.

Yeah. So I think we're living in a time where truth is being eroded by culture. And so I love something that Pastor Jay talks about is us creating a better narrative. So controlling that narrative is saying, for this is a crazy myth that white people can't cook. That's not a truth.

That's not a truth. I like to think I can, Derek, but I may not be the best cook. I mean, I've been around some houses, man.

Go to Pastor Mill and Pastor Terry and go to Pastor's Retreat. Jay's wife can't cook. I mean, can't throw down. She can't, yeah.

Yeah. So that's a myth. And those are the funny things. But then there are also deep things that people might from, that every African-American is a threat.

That's not the case. So those are some things, and one of the things that, how can you submit to a white guy? Submitted to the God of Pastor Jay. Submission and honor, all of that stuff is rooted in people's mindset. It feels like control.

Why would you allow yourself to be controlled by, no, I'm submitted to the lordship that he submitted to. So these are the conversations that you have to break down those barriers. We have a whole chapter talking about barriers. We have a whole chapter. So these are the chapters in this book that we want to talk about to encourage and let you know, man, you got to get through those tough conversations. Typically Starbucks, what do you do?

Eating at dinner tables. You know how many conversations I've had with people inside of the refuge. I got invited to a small group that was doing, just before the curriculum was even released. And I was able to come in and just talk to a small group about this book from my perspective. And it broke down so many different barriers of things that they didn't know that they could say. That's good. Breaking off the myths.

It's a hard word to say. All right, so Jay, just kind of in our last minute here. So you mentioned Amazon, which by the way, congratulations on five-star rating and the only book to ever receive that. So Amazon, they can get the book. Right Now Media, is that just, I mean, is that something they just Google that up and look for Right Now Media links through the refuge? And how do people find out more about the Greensboro campus and the Kannapolis campus? So let's start there.

Go to and that'll link you to all of our campuses. It'll also link you to the book, or you can go to Okay. Or you can go to Amazon.

You can find and just type in the search welded. It'll pop up. And then Right Now Media, just search Right Now Media. Okay.

And it'll take you to their website. That's how you can get the small group curriculum. Find the curriculum. Yeah. Get the books from Amazon.

Get the small group curriculum from Right Now Media. Okay. And here's what we always tell people. Buy two copies and give one to somebody who looks different than you. That's good. Buy two copies.

Give one to somebody that looks different than you. Well, great to have you guys in the studio once again. Thanks so much. You guys are such a blessing. And I just know God's hand is on this. As he's been on the book, he's going to be on this curriculum.

And you guys are going to have some amazing stories coming back. Hey, go out there. Order the book. Order the curriculum. Go on Right Now Media.

Order the curriculum. Spread the word. Get the word out there. And let's bring racial reconciliation. Let's blend these lives together and impact the world around us. We thank you for tuning in today to the Man Up show.

And we'll look forward to catching you again soon. God bless you. Men, I would like to challenge each of you to consider spending five days with Lex Luger and I at Man Camp, pursuing the heart of God. Ladies, if you're listening, we'll send your men home better equipped to be men of God, godly husbands, and godly fathers.

That appeals to you. Give them your blessing and encourage them to sign up today at Pastors, if you would like to bring Koloff for Christ Ministries and Man Up Conference to your community, go to and email me.

Remember this, it's time to man up. We so appreciate our listeners. If you will support this program with a financial gift of any amount, I will send you a personalized copy of my latest book, Nikita, A Tale of the Ring and Redemption. Go to, that's,, and make your contribution today. Nikita Koloff here.

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