Archives For Church

I did a sermon last Sunday (at bottom) that looked at how to apply the many biblical texts about oppression and injustice to a 2017 American context.  At Crossroads, we are making intentional steps to become a multi-ethnic church. I’ve been immersed in the multi-ethnic and racial reconciliation conversation since 2008 (when I first read Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith).  Many think there aren’t more multi-ethnic churches because of worship style, preaching style, cultural differences, and the general human inclination to clump with people who are like us.  In my observation, these are not the real reasons.  The primary reason there are not more multi-ethnic churches is because white Christians can’t typically be trusted with the experiences of people of color.  What I mean is, church is community.  The evangelical church is humorously known for overusing cliche words like “authentic” and “real” and their many synonyms.  This is what community is supposed to be.  But when a person of color shares their authentic and real experience–the daily racial micro-aggressions they endure, the history of our nation that created the disadvantages they face daily and have to strain to overcome, and so much more–white brothers and sisters in Christ either have no category for these things and are just confused, or at worst, deny these experiences and disadvantages all together.  If you can’t be real and authentic about your life experience in your Christian community, then you aren’t going to stay in that community.

Historically, the reason we have black denominations, seminaries, and churches is because the white churches and organizations did not let black people in…so they had to go and start their own.  And what we have today is the recent-byproduct. Continue Reading…

You can listen to Noah Filipiak’s “Behind the Curtain” Podcast interview with Rory Noland on the Podbean Player below or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes(Podcast listening tip: use the podcasts app on your smartphone and listen while driving, doing chores, or working out)


Noah Filipiak interviews longtime worship leader Rory Noland about key ways worship music leaders need to care for their souls in order to keep their motives and priorities straight.  They talk about the importance of lyrics, the problem of celebrityism, and the impact the Transforming Center has had on them.

Rory Noland is the director of Heart of the Artist Ministries.  He leads retreats for artists, speaks at workshops and conferences, mentors worship leaders, and consults with churches in the areas of worship and the arts.  Rory currently leads worship for the Transforming Center and is Head of the Worship Department at Nebraska Christian College where he teaches courses in worship and spiritual formation for artists.

Rory previously served as the music director at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, for twenty years and most recently as Pastor of Worship for Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

www.HeartOfTheArtist.org

Connect with Rory on Twitter @rorynoland 

Rory’s books (Zondervan) :

Video Trailer for Worship on Earth as it is in Heaven: Exploring Worship as a Spiritual Discipline:


What does a multi-ethnic church really look like?

I get asked this question a lot at Crossroads, namely because we teach and vision-cast a lot about our desire to be a multi-ethnic church, which I usually follow-up by saying we still have a long way to go.  We are three and a half years into a 5-year-plan where becoming a multi-ethnic congregation was one of our goals.  Sociologists say that a multi-ethnic congregation can be defined as when the dominant group is not larger than 80% of the total population.  On our best day, if you include our kids and teens (where the majority of our people of color* are), we might barely fit the 80/20 rule — so does this mean we’ve met our goal in becoming a true multi-ethnic church?

*People of Color is the contemporary term used in academic conversations about race in America.  “Non-white” is not a good term because it forces people of color to identify themselves in relation to the standard of whiteness rather than in relation to themselves.  It is not to be confused with the historical racial slur “colored.”

This is where I follow-up by saying we still have a long way to go!  It’s relatively easy to become multi-colored, but this is very different than being truly multi-cultural.  A true multi-ethnic church is probably beyond the reach of most people, which is why you see so few of them and so few real efforts to become one.  So, beyond the 80/20 principle, what does a true multi-ethnic church really look like?

Trust and Safety

I’ll start with this one because if it goes misunderstood, the rest of the identifiers won’t matter (and probably won’t happen).  A person of color needs to be able to lament, emote, pray, and petition the Lord and their church community about the challenges of oppression they face on a daily basis.  They need to be able to do this without being judged or corrected by the white population. Continue Reading…

Let the Scriptures speak…

What trend do you see?

Is it the same trend or a different trend than you see in America?  In the American Church?

Matthew

6359417358769223841804779694_dream-act(Jesus, Mary and Joseph were immigrants / refugees)  Matt. 2:13-15       When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”  So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Matt. 5:3-5    “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth. Continue Reading…

b33c14a2-d822-4703-872e-1a2dffb300b0@2xNoah Filipiak interviews 2016 Christianity Today Book of the Year (in the Category of The Church/Pastoral Leadership) award winner Dr. Zack Eswine.  In addition to the award-winning The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus, Zack is also the author of Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression, Preaching to a Post-Everything World: Crafting Biblical Sermons that Connect with our Culture, Recovering Eden: The Gospel According to Ecclesiastes and Kindled Fire: How the methods of CH Spurgeon can help your preachingZack pastors at Riverside Church in Webster Groves, MO and is the Director of Homiletics at Covenant Seminary.

Like the themes in Zack’s writing, this interview is essential listening for pastors who struggle with burnout, significance and self-striving.  So much of what has become normative in church culture for pastors is the opposite of what Jesus taught and modeled for his followers.  Zack exposes these things with such grace, experience, and wisdom, offering the rest of us the hope from the hamster wheel of ministry he has found in Jesus.

You can follow Zack on Twitter and Facebook.  His website and blog can be found at www.ZackEswine.com

You can listen to Noah’s interview with Zack Eswine below via the Podbean Player or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes (if you like what you hear, leave some feedback!)