Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.”
White’s attend their church services. African-American’s attend theirs. Asian’s and Hispanic’s go to their respective places of worship. And yet, each group sings about and hears messages about being “the Body” of Christ. We’re all one big happy family (… who don’t like to associate with one another, or at least not on Sunday mornings).
To be fair, there are some great multicultural churches around, and I really respect such places. But I have to wonder, what is stopping the rest of us from becoming such places of unity?
This isn’t a “white” thing, or a “black” thing. It isn’t about “us” vs. “them.” It’s about seeing the value of each group and what they have to offer the other. It’s about different ethnic groups coming together on a Sunday morning and worshiping their Creator together – as a physical Body of Christ. It’s about taking the words and prayer of Christ and putting them into action. It’s about showing the world that the Church is in fact One, and that we can in fact get along, no matter our denomination or ethnic makeup.
How this looks depends on the geography of the churches. Maybe three smaller, ethnic diverse churches join together to form one large, multicultural congregation. Maybe once a month churches from different communities of race come together to worship and experience true fellowship with one another. The possibilities are endless, really. All that matters is that we take the steps forward. After all, it’s about time we did.
There is a new book out called “A Transforming Vision” that speaks about such things. Below is a description of the project from YouthWorker Journal:
A Transforming Vision is not a political book. It is not about red states and blue states. At heart, it is a book about what it means to fulfill Jesus’ prayer for His disciples in John 17:23: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” The unity of God’s people across denominational, racial, ethnic, class and other lines of difference, is God’s intent and serves as a testimony to the reality of Christ’s incarnation and God’s love. Conversely, a divided church provides a weakened and anemic witness to the watching world.This is not a book about political correctness. In fact, it would be best to forget about the confines of political correctness for the sake of reading this book and discussing it.
Talking about racial matters is always challenging. We worry about how we will say things and if we will offend someone. The reality is that we will make mistakes, and we will offend. We must recognize that as part of the learning process and be patient with one another, for as the apostle Peter wrote, “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).
A Transforming Vision is divided into two major sections. The first section offers personal narratives. Each writer shares a different perspective on how he or she was affected by involvement in a multiethnic fellowship, and each has a dramatic story to tell, reflecting his or her background as an African American, Chinese American, Cuban American, mixed heritage as European and Chinese American, and European American.
The second section addresses the kinds of changes we found necessary to make in our fellowship if we were to function well as a multiethnic body. We begin with research data on the reality of the racial divide in the United States. Then we discuss more practical aspects of a multiethnic fellowship, including structures, relationships, leadership and music. There is a 10-session Bible study on the Book of Acts that focuses on crossing cultural barriers for the gospel.
Here are additional segments from the book, provided by YouthWorker Journal:
- Moved to Action
- Where Everyone is Uncomfortable and that’s OK
- A Different Ministry Model
- Leading a Multiethnic Fellowship
- Multiethnic Worship
- A Case for Continuing Monoethnic Minority Fellowships