Multiethnic Church: Why bother?
Let me start with saying, that we are not mad at any other churches. Some churches do not feel the conviction that we do to showcase Christ exalting diversity. Some churches could not be multiethnic if they tried due to the particular demographics in their part of the country. We are not here to make judgments on other churches, but we are here to be the church God called us to be.
By any definition, the church in America is still very much segregated. There are a lot of reasons of why this is the case. I won’t dig into the reasons here, but we can begin by acknowledging that for the most part our churches lack diversity. It has been that way for years, and although we have integrated schools, local governments, and sports leagues, the American church has, for the most part, been silent and still on the subject of integrating the church. The sad reality is that for almost all of our 240-year history as a nation, a diverse worshipping body has been the extreme exception.
We are not at peace with that, and we don’t believe that our God is either. We desire to be a multiethnic church, where the diversity of our city and area is mirrored in our people. Our vision to be a multiethnic church is not a whim, it is not a fad, and it is not a trend. We are in the infant days of a pioneer movement of God, a movement that I believe will change our country. The gospel-centered church should lead the way in racial reconciliation, after all our God wrote the book on reconciliation.
The two main reasons we seek to be a multiethnic church:
#1 It is the heart of God! Looking at pictures of heaven given to us in Revelation 5 and 7, we see clearly that in heaven we will be united in worship together across tribes, languages and nations. There will not be white churches, black churches, Hispanic churches, or Asian churches in heaven. Instead, we will all unite together in worship of our great God. The most known prayer in the world is the Lord’s Prayer, which says that our Father’s name is holy, that we should pray for His kingdom to come, and His will to be done . . . on earth as it is in heaven. It is the job of the church, to bring the will of God from heaven to earth. In other words, we ain’t waiting on heaven to unite across racial lines! When you combine the glimpses of heaven with the picture we have of the first churches recorded in the book of Acts, you again see God’s heart is for His church to be diverse. From the group of people, he gathered in Acts 2, to the racial makeups of the early churches planted by Paul, it is clear that God desired His church to be multiethnic.
#2 It is a gospel issue. We define the gospel as the incredible news of our rescue by the grace of God through Jesus. When people realize the particulars of this rescue, meaning from what, for what purpose, how, when, and why, it changes everything. The gospel is so powerful that it unites across all kinds of lines that would divide us outside of the gospel. The best text for this is Ephesians 2, which walks us through Jesus killing the hostility that existed between Jews and Gentiles. Paul teaches that Jesus came and made peace between races, making us all one through the blood of Christ. It goes on to say we are members of God’s household. What do you call members of a household? Family. What kind of family spends all week together, but then divides to worship on Sunday? It was never the goal for us to be equal or to coexist, the God-ordained goal is that we would be reconciled, meaning made right and brought together, first to God and then to each other. We are so thankful and excited that God has given us something that is big enough to unite us across racial, economic and political lines. It is all about the gospel, and we believe as people understand and allow their hearts to be shaped by the gospel, Christ exalting diversity will be the result.
Practical lessons we’ve learned in our journey:
We don’t focus on having a diverse crowd, but on building diverse relationships. We meet in a movie theater. There are diverse crowds in a theater all the time, we don’t want to be one more. Instead, we want to develop diverse relationships, built on the gospel.
We don’t use the term “colorblind”. Although well-intentioned, it minimizes the color of skin that God designed. Since our race and ethnicity was ordained by God, we don’t want to be blind to it, we want to celebrate it. We believe it is possible to celebrate it and at the same time allow our race and culture to be secondary in importance to the gospel.
Our country needs us like never before, we may be more equal in a legal sense than any time in our history but the last year has shown us we are far from reconciled. The goal of racial reconciliation can only be accomplished through the gospel of Jesus!
David Jones will be speaking at The Fellowship, Monday, May 14. RSVP HERE
For the last 20 years, God has prepared Pastor David strategically and specifically to plant Relentless Church, a gospel-centered, forever-focused, multiethnic movement of God. In his message, David offers an honest conversation about race and the gospel, and what that means for the Church. Multiethnic is not just a fad, but a return to the God-given design for His church. According to the biblical standard, we were never meant to be segregated; a byproduct of the gospel is that we will be a church united across racial, political and economic lines.