Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati (final reasons)

I have written four previous posts over the last few months on the top 10 reasons to plant a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati. Here’s a recap of the first four, and the remaining six reasons as well.

  1. Racial reconciliation is biblical. Every society has its own racial tensions to deal with. The early church had the Jew/Gentile tension. We have the black/white tension. We apply the same biblical principles to both.
  2. The world wants racial reconciliation, but only the gospel can achieve it.
  3. Change needs to begin with Christians, like me, dealing with their own racial pride in order to love their Christian brothers of other races.
  4. Racial reconciliation cultivates a missionary mindset.

The remaining six reasons are more practical than theoretical, so they require less comment.

  1. Cincinnati is about evenly divided between white people and black people. Any person who is called by God to be a missionary to a city, as I am, cannot single out certain people as more favorable to hear the message of Jesus. Part of my calling is to tell everyone about Jesus, not just the white people.
  2. A reconciled church is a powerful witness to the community. Reconciliation should begin in the church. When that happens, it stands out as a monument to the greatness of the God we serve.
  3. This is a great time in our country’s history to deal with this issue. I was working toward this goal long before Obama was elected president, but his election does affect the way people think of race. The most powerful man in the world comes from a race that has been oppressed historically. This alone can open new avenues of dialogue that were more difficult before. We should be able to discuss racial issues a little more freely now.
  4. A church that is mono-racial has isolated itself from the insights and spiritual vitality of other Christian communities. White Christians can learn a great deal from black Christians, just as black Christians can learn from white Christians. I want to learn biblical insights from people who read the Bible through the lens of a minority class. What verses and concepts stand out to them? I’ll bet you they are quite different from the ones that stand out to me.
  5. Church plants are the Research and Development arm of the body of Christ. We try new ideas and take bigger risks because we have nothing to lose. If I’m not willing to try this as a church planter, what larger church will take the risk?
  6. I want to pave the way for future churches to do the same. Hopefully, our mistakes and our successes can be a learning tool for other churches who want to embrace racial reconciliation.

8 thoughts on “Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati (final reasons)

  1. You used good words that are very well written, and now you get to live them out.

    Coming from a city that is a powder keg of racial tension, I hope you know your enemies well. In Memphis fear and ignorance keep the tension high–maybe its the same for Cincinnati, maybe it isn’t.

    You and Laura (the kids too) are in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. Hello, we don’t know each other but I came across your blog from someone else I know.

    My husband and I are also church planters in Cincinnati. We started a church in Northside a couple of years ago.

    I commend you on your desire to intentionally seek reconciliation but I would caution you not to think you are inventing the wheel. There are a lot of churches in Cincinnati that have been working towards reconciliation for years and decades and, well, a long time. I would suggest that you seek out other pastors who also are working towards having reconciled, diverse congregations and visit their churches, talk with them, see what their struggles and victories have been.

    I will say, that while reconciliation is difficult it’s not as hard as one might think.

    If you’d like to get together sometime to talk about the issue we’d love to meet you.

  3. Exciting stuff to hear, man. To add something to point #2, in John 17 Jesus prayed that his followers would be one just as he and the Father are one. We’re far from it, but through opening our associations to folks outside of our immediate groups with which we identify, we will reflect that oneness.

  4. Speaking from experience, you would be better off converting jews and catholics to the church you have started. Be careful getting on a moral high-ground. The truth is Black people DO NOT tithe like the whites nor do they give much when the offering plate flies by them. Especially in Cincinnati where 80% are on welfare and require government help. Keep in mind that your church is also your business, so you do need to secure your own income.

  5. Bart

    Thanks for commenting here. I suspect that many people who are in poverty don’t tithe, but I don’t know how much that has to do with race. I do know that it isn’t constructive to say things like “black people DO NOT tithe,” because that simply isn’t the case. How else do so many African American churches thrive? Someone is tithing.

    Secondly, I understand that the church is also a business entity, and my I would like to have a church that is able to provide an income for my family. But I God’s calling on my life is build a church that reconciles people to one another. If that doesn’t provide a large salary, I’m prepared to accept that.

    I appreciate your caution. Now, allow me to also caution you to not allow financial concerns to wield too much control over the vision of the church.

  6. Loved your reasons, like the quote says “Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America in the American Church”. I be praying for your work. I plan to plant a church in Minneapolis in 2010 in the heart of our city with the same goal.

    Grace & Peace to You.

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