When Black People Visit White Churches…

Between Two Worlds has this summary of a blog post by Curtis Allen. Curtis Allen, a black man, offers some of his insights regarding black people visiting mostly white churches. Of particular note are these four challenges to African Americans joining a predominately white congregation. He closes by discussing some things that will be a struggle for most (though not all) black people: 1. Worship style will be a challenge. 2. The expectations of biblical manhood and womanhood. 3. Theological emphases. 4. Over-greeting. From Between Two Worlds… Here’s an outline of part 1: Black people are not monolithic Does your church have the heart that you have for blacks coming into your church? Is your church in proximity to a black community? What sacrifices are you willing to make? So what are some of the sacrifices that may need to be made? And of part 2: Where possible, invite some…

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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…

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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

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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…

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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.…

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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. 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. The world wants racial reconciliation, but only the gospel can achieve it. Change needs to begin with Christians, like me, dealing with their own racial pride in order to love their Christian brothers of other races. Racial reconciliation cultivates a missionary mindset. The remaining six reasons are more practical than theoretical, so they require less comment. Cincinnati is about evenly divided between white people and black people. Any person who is called by God to be a…

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati (reason #4)

The fourth reason to plant a racially reconciled church in downtown Cincinnati is this: racial reconciliation forces us to have a missionary mindset. One of the most important things for aspiring missionaries to learn in preparation for the mission field is how to best communicate with people who are different from them. This is called contextualization. Basically, the patterns of communication that work for me in my context may not work so well in someone else’s context. For example, I have spent two summers in Argentina leading short term mission projects. I had to speak to people who didn’t know English primarily and had different culture and customs. It was perfectly acceptable for men to kiss each other on the cheek. In fact, to not greet someone with a “beso” would have been perceived as an insult. But they also had different customs in terms of food, time, family, and…

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati (reason #3)

There are so many reasons why its a good idea to plant a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati. Numbers one and two have already been covered, and I’ve got 8 more good reasons to write about. Three months after moving here, I’m very optimistic that this will work and that its God’s desire for this to happen. Fortunately, I’ve identified the biggest obstacle to planting a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati: me. And the third reason why I’m planting a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati is to strip away my own barriers and, God willing, the barriers that other people have to forming genuine relationships with people of another race. Am I willing to do what it takes to apply the gospel comprehensively to lingering and even undiscovered racial residue? If I am ready to do that in my life, the real test will be whether or…

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church In Cincinnati (10 Reasons)

The first reason why I’m planting a racially diverse church in Cincinnati: it’s biblical. The second reason is this: The world wants racial reconciliation, but only the gospel can deliver it. Everywhere you look, from corporate advertisements to college promotional materials to fashion magazines, it is clear that people want to see a diversity of faces in the imagery. Martin Luther King, Jr. did our country a great service by helping to expose racial hypocrisy. He was (perhaps naively) convinced that white Christians would rush to his aid but most didn’t. During the civil rights era, our country has come a long way to give all people of various races equal opportunities for advancement. Everyone is clamoring for it. You can’t watch the evening news without seeing it in the advertisements, or hearing of someone being sentences to probation and “diversity training,” or a story about someone violating political correctness…

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Help me name a new church!

I have compiled a list of potential church names and I need your feedback. Please choose up to three different names that you like best. Here’s a few things to keep in mind: 1. This will be an “urban” type church in downtown Cincinnati. 2. This will be a church that focuses on racial unity. 3. This church will try to reach college students. 4. This church will try to reach professionals. 5. This church will try to reach the poor. 6. This church will be a Gospel-centered church. Ok. Tell me what you think! Please leave any additional church name ideas in the comments section or anything else you think. [poll id=”2″]

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