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…

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I started my church 11 years ago with big dreams for God.

Church planting networks want people with big dreams for God.

We create huge conferences to encourage people to dream big dreams for God.

At this point your “cynic radar” is already starting to go off as you read this.  Bear with me a little longer before you cast me off.

Try to name one person in the New Testament who had “big dreams for God” in the way pastors and church planters are taught to.  The first people who come to my mind were the Jewish crowd in Matthew 21:1-11 who laid their coats on the ground while waiving palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  This was “big thing” energy at its height as people shouted praises to Jesus and proclaimed him as their Messiah.

This frenetic crowd was made up of the same mob who shouted “Crucify him!” later in the week. Continue Reading…

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I live in a poor neighborhood.

A lot of people smoke marijuana in my neighborhood.  By “a lot” I mean I can smell it pretty much whenever I’m out for a walk, and I often see it being smoked openly at the park where I play basketball.  Smoked, rolled, dealt, etc.

Everyone I know who smokes marijuana is a good person.  Good, fun, nice, pleasant, normal, etc.

Another note: this blog post is not about medical marijuana.  This is a post I’m hoping some of my friends who smoke marijuana will read.  None, that I know of, are medical marijuana patients or have any serious health problems.  It’s easier to write a general blog to a generic readership population than it is to have a 1 on 1 sit down with someone about these things. Continue Reading…

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Check out my most recent article on the Covenant Eyes blog, 5 Reasons NOT to Talk about Porn in Church (Sarcasm Alert).  Share that link, not this atacrossroads.net one.

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This is the landing page for my upcoming book Beyond the Battle: A man’s guide to his identity in Christ in an oversexualized world.  The book will be available in the Fall 2017, date TBD.  Books will sell on Amazon for $14.99 each or you can purchase in bulk from this page you are currently on (atacrossroads.net/beyond-the-battle).  The bulk prices will be 10 books for $100 or 30 books for $225 (shipping price will be added, or you can pick up from Lansing, MI).  The book will have its greatest impact when men read it along with other men.

Check out the free 6-week men’s small group video curriculum here. 

I’ll post updates on details here as they unfold.  You can also subscribe to my Author Newsletter to get details emailed to your inbox along with ways you can help with the book launch and forthcoming details on Beyond the Battle‘s parallel book for women, More than a Princess. 

I’d also love to come and speak at your church or special event (no fee), please contact me to make those arrangements.

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Back cover text:

What if the battle you’re fighting has already been won?

 

As men fight for contentment in their marriages or their singleness, our oversexualized world continues to pump out false promises.  What if the answer to your heart’s longing is not to try harder or fight more intensely?  What if there’s actually more to the battle than accountability, online filters, and training away the symptoms of the problem (as important as those tools are)?

 

The good news is that there really is more to this battle, and victory depends not on your ability to fight, but on your ability to rest.  It’s not about working hard to avoid lust, it’s about God working in you to remove (and replace) your desire for it.

 

Beyond the Battle dives below the surface to uncover soul-deep solutions.  You will discover that everything you hoped the next woman would give you is already freely yours in Jesus.  This identity in Christ will satisfy you to the core, allowing you to see yourself and women the way God intended all along.

 

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