Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati

The number one reason why I’m planting a racially diverse church in Cincinnati is simply this: It’s Biblical. I’m not doing this because a focus group survey revealed a “market niche” for a racially diverse church. I’m doing this because I simply cannot escape what the Bible has to say about race. All the way back in the very beginning of things, back when God spoke to Abraham and made a covenant with him, God promised that Abraham would be a blessing to every nation on the earth (Genesis 12). And then God gives us a flash forward glimpse into the future, when Jesus is praised in heaven precisely because he “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” God’s worth is demonstrated by the diversity of His admirers. Between these two major events in the beginning of all things and at the end of…

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Are Cincinnati’s Race Problems Overblown?

Are Cincinnati’s race problems overblown? It all depends on who you ask. I recently hosted a team of about 20 high school students from Spartanburg, SC, who were here to help me canvass the city, take surveys, and get a better grasp on the spiritual climate in Cincinnati. I made the surveys and specifically asked questions regarding race. When asked to describe Cincinnati in one word, one lady named Mrs. Owens responded “racist.” She also said racism is the greatest problem facing the community. Margaret is African American and she said the racial problems in this city are 98 out of 100. Another African American man said 89 out of 100. When white folks were asked the same question, they were clearly more optimistic. Bethany said racial tension is 20 out of 100, Carol gave it a 25, Matthew a 60, and so on. I have asked that question also…

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Spiritual Warfare

Laura and I have now been living in Cincinnati for over a month. When we first set out to move here, I had two assumptions. First, ministry is going to be difficult and we will likely face opposition. Second, God has given me a great wife and family and our home would be a place of sanctuary and rest. Ironically, Satan has reversed these assumptions and attacked my strongholds. We have yet to close on our house here, meaning that we are living here but not allowed to really settle in and make it our home. Our mortgage company has been uncomfortable with the fact that our income is from support, thereby increasing the paperwork and difficulty in completing this loan. This has caused incredible frustration and stress because we can’t really settle in, which, in turn, has caused a great burden on our family and marriage. It doesn’t sound…

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Hello, Cincinnati

As of today, we have been residents of Cincinnati for one week. We live about a block from a hospital, which is great if we have an emergency, but not so great when ambulances decide to scream into the ER at 2 am every night. This pic is the view from our living room. The house on the left is an inner city ministry called “City Cure.” Their president has agreed to help me learn about inner city ministry. The group of buildings looming just above the City Cure roofline is Christ Hospital. They like to wake us up at night. God has been graciously connecting us with other awesome believers in town, whom I hope will show me around and help me to understand Cincinnati better. I met John a few days ago, who found me by reading this blog. We had coffee and spent a few hours together,…

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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″]

When a Black Man Marries a White Woman

Few people actually think of themselves as racist. It is social suicide. But that doesn’t keep people from harboring subtle prejudices in their hearts that may seem innocent enough. Some of the most bigoted things I have ever heard from other peoples’ mouths were often preceded by the phrase, “I’m not a racist, but…” Many feel that racial reconciliation should be sought — as long as white daughters don’t marry black men, or as long as black daughters don’t marry white men. Of course, this is all couched in the sincerest of concerns, such as, “I’m not a racist, but I just think that this will cause unnecessary problems in your marriage. What will people think?” Or, “I’m not a racist, but what if you have children? Do you really want them to grow up being half-white and half-black?” When I was working at a Circuit City store once, I…

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Cincinnati Round Up

Here’s a compendium of recent internet articles about the Queen City that I found interesting. Cincinnati is a top ten city for relocation. An urban wanderer gives an outsider’s honest take on Cincinnati. Cincy has an embarrassment of riches in top notch cultural institutions, parks, modern architecture, and several Fortune 500 company’s headquarters. The Cleveland Free Times discusses the effects of sprawl on population centers in Ohio. The Cincinnati Reds are on a tear, completing a 6 game win streak, the longest in the major leagues, having just swept in-state rival Cleveland Indians and Florida Marlins before that. Up next: the Dodgers.

Race and the Evangelical Slavery Problem

Pop Quiz. First Question: Who are some of the most beloved figures of American Evangelicalism? Answer. Consider these names: Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Hodge. Great theologians and preachers all. Second Question: Even though most African American Christians believe in a generally evangelical theology, why do so few identify with evangelicalism as a broader movement? Answer. Consider these names: Jonathan Edwards (owned at least 6 slaves), George Whitefield (slave owner, fought for legalization of slavery in Georgie, used slave labor in his orphanage, bought 20+ slaves in his lifetime), Charles Hodge (defender of the slave trade). Also, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody and Billy Graham all preached to segregated audiences even while on some level denouncing the slave trade (source: The American Evangelical Story by Doug Sweeney). In other words, history shows us that white evangelical heroes of the American past have either outright participated in slavery or at least…

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Other Cincinnati Church Plants/Planters…

Paul Peterson has compiled a list of new church plants in the Cincinnati area. To see these other churches is very exciting and I can’t wait to meet all of them. The days of territorialism and competitiveness are dead, and I’m glad for it. Churches on mission need to work together to reach their respective communities. Thanks, Paul.