RECONCILIATION & Lessons learned by one Anglo church on their journey

by SHANE HUEY, 9/09/14

Pursuing Reconciliation - Reformed African American Network (RAAN)

Over the last year, our big, white church has been striving to more fully reflect the diversity of Columbus, Ohio and the Kingdom of God. In the first few years, we perpetuated the racial segregation that exists in so many churches across America. Then in just four short years, we became a church of 1,000 white people, and our gracious Lord has made some of us increasingly uncomfortable with that ever since. So now, our infant church is stumbling our way through trying to figure out what it looks like to be a Gospel-centered, multi-ethnic church in the city. Here are a few of the lessons we are learning along the way.

The “Man of Peace” Myth

One of the first things you’ll hear when you seek out advice on how to become a more racially-diverse church is the phrase “man of peace.” Essentially, a man of peace is someone (a minority, for example) within your church who gives off those “don’t let this sea of white people freak you out” kind of vibes to all visitors.

Starting with one person is good and necessary because racial diversity usually doesn’t happen all at once, but it’s a bit naive to believe that having one minority floating around your church is enough to disarm entire centuries of hostility. It’s not enough to post them up at the front door and hand out bulletins, or even give them five minutes of stage time to make a few announcements.

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