Archives For multi ethnic church

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…

Pastor Bryan Loritts discusses how to become a multi-ethnic church, as well as the cost and challenges therein.  Noah Filipiak also asks Pastor Bryan for help in navigating the Christian subculture of church planting, pastoring and being an author in a way where we don’t end up measuring ourselves by performance-oriented metrics.

You can listen to Noah’s interview with Bryan Loritts below via the Podbean Player or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes

Continue Reading…

If the Old Testament prophets told you that churches in America shouldn’t be segregated along racial lines, would you listen?

If Jesus told you churches in America shouldn’t be segregated along racial lines, would you listen?

For most of my life, this stuff wasn’t even close to being on my radar and I realize for many reading, it isn’t on yours either.  I truly don’t mean to write judgmentally, self-righteousnessly or condemningly.  But I do hope to show biblically that just because something isn’t on our radar as American Christians, doesn’t mean it isn’t on God’s radar–and like King Josiah or even like the reformers of the Protestant Reformation, when God reveals something to us from his word that we hadn’t previously noticed, we need to act on it.

Listen to what Jesus says in John 17:20-21: Continue Reading…

I think most of us identify ourselves as non-racist.  Most non-racists are so because racism doesn’t affect them personally.  But just because something isn’t in your yard, doesn’t mean it isn’t all over our land.  All over the yards of the brothers and sisters in Christ we are called to be in community with.

I’d like to challenge you to move from being a non-racist to becoming an anti-racist, for there is a huge difference.

Non-racists sit in the bleachers.  Anti-racists charge against the opponent.

Non-racists wash their hands of racism.  Anti-racists forcibly dismantle racism, blow after bloody blow.

Non-racists think racism will go away.  Anti-racists know racism won’t go anywhere without a fight.

Non-racists don’t think about racism.  Anti-racists study it, analyze it, and figure out how to conquer it.

Jesus was anti-racist, and told us to be also.

The Apostle Paul was anti-racist, and told us to be also.

The New Testament Church was anti-racist in both function and design.

The American Church and modern Christians are meant to be anti-racist.

You may not be racist, but are you anti-racist?

Your church or institution may not be racist, but is it anti-racist?

Racism has reared its ugly head long enough.  Rather than continuing to let it stain our land (even if it’s not staining your yard), join the fight against this evil enemy.  A fight fought in Jesus’ name as reclaim a primary function of the New Testament Church and as we pray Matthew 6:10 together!

I have felt a lot like one of the Old Testament kings recently when it comes to Scripture and the injustices in my land.  I feel like Josiah when the Torah was accidentally found during a repair job at the temple (2 Kings 22).  Generations of doing things a certain way, now confronted with God’s original will and design for his land, what would Josiah do?  What would Josiah’s sons do?  What will I do? Continue Reading…