The Red Letter Disciple Episode 9

009: Josh Dotzler on Raising his Kids in the Inner City

Josh Dotzler on Racism, How He Went from a Top Starter for Creighton Basketball to Inner City Pastor, and Why He Describes His Obedience to God as “Kicking and Screaming.”

On August 11th, I’ll be hosting a FREE webinar called “Fund Your Vision: Don’t Let Money Limit Your Ministry” with Phil Ling from the Giving Church. The Giving Church has helped more than a thousand churches raise more than a billion dollars. In addition, they commissioned a study with more than 4000 churches and uncovered some incredible data that will help grow your church’s giving. Phil will talk about what he has learned through both his experience and through this unique study. You won’t want to miss it. We will be giving away loads of free stuff as well! You can sign up at and you can grab a FREE PDF “5 Ways to Grow Your Church’s Giving,” while you are there.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Letters from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr. 

Church in Crisis by Josh Dotzler

Key insights from the episode:

I had a coach tell me that you need to be with as many girls as possible until you are 30, then you decide who you want to be with. But all these coaches didn’t have great marriages. Looking back, marriage was our first act of obedience to God. Obedience was what God constantly called us to; we have been obedient, kicking, and screaming.  – Josh Dotzler

Let’s embrace the fact that when we are in this world, we are not always going to have an easy life.– Zach Zehnder

We partnered with the police to establish over 700 neighborhoods that could potentially be revitalized. – Josh Dotzler

You not only talked the talk, but you also walked the walk. – Chris Johnson

In inner-city communities, anyone who is successful moves out. They don’t stay. Abide means to stay and dwell. It’s the power of presence. Something happens when you live in and abide in the neighborhoods.  – Josh Dotzler

It’s estimated crime is down 70-75% wherever we have a presence because of the intentionality of those families living in that community. – Josh Dotzler

Sundays are the greatest picture of our individual preferences.Josh Dotzler

It wasn’t until my dad became a minority living in a predominately black community that he could start understanding what it was like for his wife to be black in a predominantly white culture. – Josh Dotzler

One of the things the black community needs the most is white advocates.Josh Dotzler

The church must be more holistic even in our understanding of trying to be the solution to racial reconciliation. – Josh Dotzler

Covid highlighted the crisis of the church. I heard more about compassion fatigue than ever during COVID. I’ve never heard a pastor talk about tithing fatigue or attendance fatigue, but compassion fatigue. I don’t think we’ve conditioned our congregations to allow compassion to be a consistent expression of who we are. – Josh Dotzler

Red letters cause us to cross red lines. I believe as we get into those red letters, it compels us to eliminate red lines and leads to a revolution. Josh Dotzler

Josh Dotzler’s Challenge of the Week: Get in the game, small steps. Find areas of red lines in your city this week and go there and be present. (be a customer, pray, serve, get involved, volunteer, educate yourself, etc.)

Lead yourself (and your church) to find freedom in forgiveness. Forgiving Challenge

As Josh was saying, reconciliation is of utmost importance. But how can we reconcile when we are each broken. What would it look like to truly be free? 

We’d love to help you and your church discover what freedom in forgiveness feels like by exploring the powerful forgiveness that Jesus offers to each and every one of us.

We’d love to introduce you to the 40-Day Forgiving Challenge.

The Forgiving Challenge takes you on a life-changing journey to experience the gift of God’s grace so that you can share it with others. It also helps you identify and walk through the five phases leading to freedom. 

You can learn more about the challenge here!

Some not-so-key insights:

I’ve been telling people I was 6’0 but recently, at the doctor, I measured 5’11”. – Josh Dotzler

Josh’s favorite snack is Oreos.

Josh has never called stolen candy from his kid’s Halloween basket a “Dad candy tax.”

Josh sends texts in all caps 5% of the time.

Josh has a preferred mug for coffee.

Josh has negotiated for free parking at an event.

Josh is 63% a middle-aged dad.

Watch the entire season for free: 

We’ll be uploading every episode of season one of The Red Letter Disciple on our YouTube Channel. If you aren’t subscribed already, you can do so here!

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