Archives For multiethnic church

at a crossroads behind the curtain ministry podcast noah filipiakEpisode #5 of “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast is here!

Youth pastor David Singleton and I talk about the different narratives of the white and black cultures and how this relates to the Church. We discuss the Baltimore riots, racial segregation in churches, the differences between suburban and urban youth ministry, and steps we can take to be the Church Jesus intended.  David has been the youth pastor at Crossroads Church in Lansing, MI for the past year and prior to this did urban youth ministry in Philadelphia, PA / Camden, NJ as well as Watts and Compton (Los Angeles), California.  David is also a spoken word artist and performs his poem “Dad Was Locked Up.”

Here’s where you can listen to my interview with David:

Please subscribe via iTunes, which you can do here: applepodcasticon –if you like what you hear, it’d be awesome if you could leave a positive rating and review on iTunes.

You can also listen and/or follow on Podbean here: podbeanlogo

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith

Blog article mentioned: My faith hero John M. Perkins on Racism, Reconciliation & the Church

Shameless Plug mentioned in the podcast:  If you’d like to support David’s salary (which is completely fundraised from outside our church) you can do so with a tax-deductible gift via Crossroads Church’s PayPal account.  Simply put “David Singleton” in the special instructions box:


When we hear the word “racist,” we think of KKK members, the “N-word”, or the recent comments made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  A racist is someone who doesn’t like people of other races.  Typically in America it has been seen as a white person who doesn’t like black people.

When the topic of white privilege is brought up, white people typically hate this because we immediately feel like we are being called racist.  Racist like Donald Sterling or a KKK member.  We don’t like talking about it because it makes us feel like we’ve done something wrong when we haven’t.  We have black friends and we are nice to all sorts of non-white people.  We aren’t racist.

White privilege does not make you racist.

I’m hoping we can talk a little bit about white privilege now.

You aren’t racist.

Seriously, don’t comment on this post or on Facebook that I’m calling you racist.

You aren’t racist.

The defensiveness of feeling like you’ve been called a racist, and the assumed guilt associated therein, makes much needed conversations impossible to have.

My hope is we can have some of that conversation. Continue Reading…

I never heard a sermon that referenced race while growing up in church.  What does race have to do with people coming to know Jesus, anyway?  Or what does it have to do with the Bible?

When I talk about race in sermons at Crossroads, I think these are thoughts that go through the minds of some.  Is church really the place to talk about race? The Bible does lob us a softball on the race topic in Revelation 7:9 when describing what heaven will be like: After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. So with that verse in mind, one ought to feel comfortable talking about race in church and not feel as is they are speaking on something the Bible doesn’t touch on.  If we are to bring heaven to earth (Matthew 6:10), wouldn’t we want to see people of all races worshiping together in our churches today?

But outside of this very direct, one-time reference, I’ve noticed something very compelling about the Bible and that is that the entire New Testament is written from a context where race, racism and racial division were huge society-shaping influences Continue Reading…

We began a sermon series in 1 Corinthians a couple of weeks ago.  Week 1 on the first chapter went off fine.  I talked about how the church at Corinth was a squabbling, quarreling church and that Paul was writing this letter to them to teach them to be united Christ and to get along in love.  The root of their problem is described in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 where they are arguing over which person to follow, rather than comparing these people to Christ and realizing that Christ is who they needed to be united around, not this influential leader or that one.  The command given to them is not to boast that their way is best, but to boast in Christ.

After some jokes about churches splitting over the color of the carpet, the sermon went off fine and I think the purpose and message of the chapter was communicated effectively.

As Tuesday came and my work week began Continue Reading…

I preached on the Church as the body of Christ last Sunday, using 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 as my text.  It’s a familiar text and familiar metaphor to many Christians and it typically leads to one of a few quick interpretations.  One being how Christians play different roles in the local church, some being good at one thing and others being good at another.  Others will say the text is referring to Global Church where every type of local church represents different body parts.

In looking at the background of the text, I realized that this first interpretation is extremely incomplete and the second one is simply incorrect.  There is no way Paul is referring to the Global Church when he pens 1 Corinthians and he’s not simply telling any old church to play nice with one another.  The entire premise of this famous passage is based on racial and socioeconomic inequalities and conflict and to ignore these primary points is to ignore the purpose of the text.  Paul’s introductory verses to his metaphor clearly show us this: Continue Reading…