Hip Hop + Basketball = Urban Ministry

Great post on Baptisttwentyone.com about using hip hop and basketball as a means of reaching people. The idea: When we took that drive back in the summer and observed this sub-culture we recognized immediately two predominant things that interested them: basketball and hip hop music. We knew that we had the facilities and guys who could connect with these young men through basketball. We said, “This is out there but what might really be cool is a hip hop service of some kind with open gym afterwards…” The young men: They were 19-29 year old young men who play basketball nearly every single day, wear baggy clothes strategically placed to show off inked skin, work (or don’t work) part time to support various addictions, go from relationship to relationship sometimes producing children, and are heavily influenced regardless of race by hip hop music. These men, we recognized, may be directionless…

Continue Reading

7 Elements of a Multi-Ethnic Church

George Yancey writes in One Body One Spirit that there are seven characteristics of multi-ethnic churches that are worth noting. Some of these were surprising. 1. Inclusive Worship. Music is so important to people that when they sing to God it needs to take on a form that is culturally meaningful for them. In the Euro-white culture, we have everything from Indie-Rock, to pipe organs, to Coldplay, to acoustic folk in our churches. But others prefer a keyboard and rhythm section driven sound. I suppose in India people would want a Sitar with Ravi Shankar sound. The point is that the musical style of the church must reflect the diversity of the people that come there. 2. Diverse Leadership. Yancey writes, “multiracial leadership is important because members of different racial groups desire to feel represented by the members of the church, especially racial minorities who historically have received a lack…

Continue Reading

Communities of Grace vs. Communities of Performance

Tim Chester posted about different types of church communities and how the ethos of the group affects individuals. Communities of Performance People talk about grace, but communicate legalism Unbelievers can’t imagine themselves as Christians Drive away broken people The world is seen as threatening and ‘other’ Conversion is superficial—people are called to respectable behavior People are secretly hurting People see faith and repentance as actions that took place at conversion The gospel is for unbelievers Communities of Grace People can see grace in action Unbelievers feel like they can belong Attract broken people People are loved as fellow sinners in need of grace Conversion is radical—people are called to transformed affections People are open about their problems People see faith and repentance as daily activities The gospel is for both unbelievers and believers

Continue Reading

Is Racial Reconciliation Dead?

No, racial reconciliation isn’t dead, but perhaps Christians need to talk about the topic differently. God has put in my heart a dream of a multi-racial church in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. In that previous sentence, there’s about three things that people have told me are foolish ideas. I have been told that (1) Cincinnati is “rough soil” for church planting, and (2) downtown Cincinnati is especially difficult, but to be (3) multi-racial is just plain out of the question. I believe that God can and will do it, however. And right now, God has answered my prayers of raising up a core group of Christian leaders who want to see the same thing happen downtown in Cincinnati. But I have been beating my head against a wall trying to figure out how to make our group more ethnically diverse. Yesterday, I met Alvin Sanders, the Chief Diversity Officer…

Continue Reading

Church Plant Updates

Since my blogging has been scarce the last few months, I thought I would take the opportunity to post some ministry updates for those who check this blog periodically for that purpose. Recent Activity The last few months have been a whirlwind. I moved to Cincinnati in July of last year, and have spent the last eight months getting settled into our home, finishing seminary online, enjoying the arrival of my new son Owen, and meeting scores of new people in my effort to start a new church in the downtown area. I have devoted so much energy to these chores that I took a blogging break. That break is over and the blog is on. By the Numbers Here are some numbers: Laura and I have hosted in the neighborhood at least 100 different people (we’ve counted) in our home for meals or other events since we moved here.…

Continue Reading