MULTIETHNIC & “It’s… impossible to grow a multiethnic church without having multiethnic leadership in place first”

“(Bob) Whitesel agrees that diverse leadership is a crucial point,

‘Oftentimes, the dominant culture will have a tendency to try and run a multicultural church,’ he said. ‘We teach in this book about shared leadership. It’s almost impossible to grow a multiethnic church without having multiethnic leadership in place first. You have to include these people and their voices in the decision-making process before you make structural change’.”

From “Move to multiethnicity is not easy, but worth it” by Emily Snell, United Methodist Interpreter Magazine (n.d.), retrieved from http://www.interpretermagazine.org/topics/move-to-multiethnicity-is-not-easy-but-worth-it

MULTIETHNIC & Move to multiethnicity is not easy, but worth it #UMCIntrepreterMagazine

“Three congregations share learnings”
By Emily Snell

“If heaven is not segregated, why on earth is the church?”The work of Mark DeYmaz inspired the Rev. In-Yong Lee to challenge her congregants to think about this question.

Lee is pastor of Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her church has been striving to become a more multiethnic congregation.

In the early stages of its renewed emphasis on diversity, Lee said Cokesbury hosted small groups, which intentionally met outside of the church building, to discuss The Multi-Ethnic Christian Life Primer (Mosaix) by DeYmaz, who is a pastor, author and leader on multiethnic ministry.

This was important in “challenging our preconceived notions about race and pushing us to the higher level of cross-cultural competence,” Lee said.

Change consultants often cite Garfield Memorial United Methodist Church in Cleveland as an example of a successful multicultural body. The Rev. Chip Freed said the church views its multiethnicity as “a faithful commitment to the great commission, to go and make disciples of all nations, not just some nations.

“We’re really serious about reaching non-church people. Non-church people live in diverse environments. It’s only church people who live in segregated environments.”

For Freed, the church’s multiethnic identity is about “presenting a credible witness to the gospel.”

“If we want to be relevant, if we want to connect with a growing new generation of people, we need to commit to this, or people will write us off as irrelevant,” he said.

In 2011, the Rev. DeAndre Johnson began serving as pastor of music and worship at Westbury United Methodist Church in Houston — another congregation focused on reaching diverse people.

As Westbury saw its neighborhood demographics change, Johnson said, the congregation began asking, “How do we let our multicultural identity shape everything about us?”

The church envisioned being “a church for all people with more than enough love to go around.”

“We are committed to maintaining and living out what it means to come from different places but have a common vision and life together,” Johnson said.

The church’s first core value is “multicultural inclusivity.”

Ministry for reconciliation

The Rev. Bob Whitesel, author, professor and national church change consultant, said multiethnic ministry is about reconciliation.

“We are given the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation is more than just reconciliation to God. That’s the most important, but it also means reconciliation of people from different cultures,” he said.

In his latest book, re:MIX: Transitioning Your Church to Living Color (Abingdon Press), written with DeYmaz, Whitesel said multicultural identity is a crucial aspect of the church’s mission on earth.

“We’re never going to reconcile people unless we get the established church today to embrace this, to embrace a church of living color,” he said.

Moving toward multiculturalism, Cokesbury decided that listening sessions would allow groups within the church to learn.

“We’ve realized, not only in different ethnic groups but across the economic divide, there are so many classes and groups that are divided from one another,” Lee said. “They all act out of preconceived notions, assumptions, prejudices. So we are intentionally breaking those barriers between us by reaching out and listening to one another.”

Cheryl LaTanya Walker, director of African-American ministries at Discipleship Ministries, said her goal is to “demystify” differences and break down “assumptions based on race or class.”

“We can worship together, be vital together if we break down the assumptions on what we see with the physical eye but look to God’s spirit,” she said. “We will see that we are more the same than we are different.”

To that end, Walker suggests that historically black churches begin by “doing pulpit exchanges” with congregations that seem different.

“Take your congregation, confirmation class and other ministry groups to churches that have different worship styles and persons who are outside of the African descent family,” she said. “Tour the facilities. Observe what is on their bulletin boards. Listen to the announcements. What are they doing in the community? Listen and observe what they are doing that may be the same or different.”

Start with leadership

At Garfield Memorial, “empowering diverse leaders was a very important strategy,” Freed said. “We don’t want the people on stage to be all one race. We try to represent diversity from top to bottom in our staff.”

Whitesel agrees that diverse leadership is a crucial point,

“Oftentimes, the dominant culture will have a tendency to try and run a multicultural church,” he said. “We teach in this book about shared leadership. It’s almost impossible to grow a multiethnic church without having multiethnic leadership in place first. You have to include these people and their voices in the decision-making process before you make structural change.”

Walker observes, “Bishops are assigning black pastors to historically Anglo churches that were in downtown with a specific mission of moving that pretty much Anglo congregation with some black members, to a more diverse, more multiethnic congregation,” she said.

Renovate worship, outreach

Westbury shifted from a “traditional, middle class, Anglo worship service” to something “in the language and style of peoples worldwide.”

“We started singing in languages other than English — some represented in our congregation and some not,” Johnson said. “We did this to nurture this sense of multicultural inclusivity within us and to challenge us to go further.”

Another key for all of the churches was a renewed vision for ministry in the community.

Walker pushes congregations to be creative in their outreach.

“What mission things are you doing for the neighborhood?” she asks. “What is your piece to get them in the congregation? Once they’re in the congregation, you begin the disciple process and inviting them to be involved.”

That involvement is not limited to Bible study or even to something in the church building, she adds.

“Particularly for our young folks, they are the ‘do’ generation. Sitting in a service for two to three hours doesn’t make a lot of sense to them, unless they see some output from doing that,” she said, “but they will go volunteer.”

In July, Garfield Memorial hosted “freedom week,” similar to vacation Bible school, at its South Euclid campus.

“It’s focused around teaching some of the Civil Rights movement,” Freed said. “As part of that, we have police officers come in and talk to the youth. They played a whiffle ball game.”

Partner with schools

Cokesbury and other churches are working to “do even more for the school” in their neighborhood. “Every time we meet and talk, we sense that it is not we who are doing this, but God is guiding us,” Lee said.

Garfield Memorial hosts an annual back-to-school event to assist low-income families by providing health screenings, haircuts, backpacks and supplies. “We’re trying to meet a need,” Freed said. “We’re bringing joy to the city. We want to make Cleveland a better place.”

Westbury also created the Fondren Apartment Ministry (FAM), a ministry at a nearby apartment complex, which houses many refugee families.

The ministry has led the congregation to be “tremendously blessed” as people from all over the world join in Westbury’s worship services.

“Many of these dear friends of ours have also become part of our worship life,” Johnson said, adding that they “faithfully participate” in worship despite some language struggles. “You can watch them begin to feel comfortable in the space and to take ownership of their own place here.”

“A person who doesn’t know the love of Christ, they’re our VIPs,” Freed said. The mentality is, “I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll set aside my personal preferences to reach those who are unchurched. When you do that, diversity will walk through your door.”

As churches embrace new cultures, Whitesel said, it’s important to create short-term wins. “Demonstrate to the congregation that this is going to work, that this is a worthwhile way to go.”

Humility, courage, vulnerability

DeYmaz emphasizes that, if a congregation tries to grow into a multiethnic church, “there is a 100 percent chance to offend each other.”

“Humility is the only way to approach one another,” Lee said. “We will offend the others without meaning to, because we don’t know them well, but we will be willing to approach each other. If offense happens, (we apologize), and mutually we will learn better together.”

Moving toward diversity requires pastors to take risks — and not worry about themselves.

“When you venture out to something new, there is a big possibility of failure,” Lee said. “Only when you are ready for failure can you do something.

“Those of us, when we are trying to grow in diversity, we need patience, persistence and perseverance. It’ll turn out to be a blessing to your local church, to your community and to yourself, so do some-thing!”

Emily Snell is a freelance writer living in Nashville, Tennessee. She writes frequently for Interpreter and other publications.

Read more at … http://www.interpretermagazine.org/topics/move-to-multiethnicity-is-not-easy-but-worth-it

RECONCILIATION & The Power Struggle Involved in Transitioning to a Multiethnic Church

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Reconciliation is not about acculturation or blending, but about “giving up power.” That’s what Mark and I tried to say in our book: re;MIX Transitioning Your Church to Living Color (Abingdon Press, 2017). Read this article below for a good corollary.

“Transitioning to a Multiethnic Church” By Eric Nykamp, Global Christian Worship, 8/25/17.

Many urban white churches realize that their congregation doesn’t reflect the diversity of the cities they reside in, and many of these churches desire to become multi-ethnic communities. However, moving from this desire to developing into an actual multi-ethnic community can be challenging, especially for churches with a track-record of being a “whites only” worship space in their city. Since most white people have little awareness of their white cultural norms, they mistakenly assume that what is normal for them is also the norm for all people … and are puzzled when their “outreach” or “welcome and enfolding” efforts fall flat with people of color. Due to this cultural blindspot, they are unable to recognize that some of their white cultural norms send the message that people of color with different norms of worship are not welcomed, unless the person of color is willing to assimilate.

Some majority-white churches realize that changing their worship norms will help them develop into the multi-ethnic space they desire to become … but find that they are stuck in making this happen. This talk, given at one such church, addresses how white Christians need to recognize and understand how white norms about worship may operate within their church. The presentation asks questions about what it would mean for white people to change their ways and give up power in order to become a multiethnic community. He concludes with a challenge to white Christians in multiethnic churches to love their brothers and sisters of color with Christ self-sacrificial love for the church, especially when it comes to issues of power and control in multiethnic churches.

Read more at … http://globalworship.tumblr.com/post/164621929550/transitioning-into-a-multi-ethnic-church-eric

Hear it at:

http://cdn.antiochpodcast.org/021.mp3

and go here for more:
http://antiochpodcast.org/podcast/episode-21-worshiping-whiteness-a-presentation-by-eric-nykamp/

RECONCILATION & 5 Non-Negotiables for White Folks In Pursuing Reconciliation

by Andrew Draper, Taylor University, 8/8/17.

…Pursuing reconciliation … does not mean that having white skin is inherently sinful or that appreciating historically “white” cultural particularities is necessarily problematic. However, this is not the way white identity has functioned in modernity. Since at least the days of colonization, whiteness has been presented as the universal “good.” In this sense, “whiteness” names a way of being in the world, a sociopolitical order that is best understood as idolatry. Pursuing reconciliation demands that the altars of whiteness be cast down and its high places laid low.

Here are 5 practices in which white folks must engage if we are to seriously pursue reconciliation:

  1. We must repent for complicity in systemic sin.
    White folks must repent for histories of slavery, subjugation, segregation, and a racialized criminal justice system…
  2. We must learn from cultural and theological resources, not our own.
    Rather than gravitating toward books and sermons from “white” sources, white folks must listen to other interpretive trajectories on those tradition’s terms…
  3. We must locate our lives in places and structures in which we are necessarily guests.
    Christian theology and ecclesial practice has often understood itself as being “host” to the world. White Christians often enter unfamiliar places not as guests, but as self-appointed arbiters of divine hospitality. How different it would be if white folks practiced withholding judgment about what is “needed” in specific places and structures…
  4. We must tangibly submit to non-white church leadership.
    …White Christians desiring to practice reconciliation must not unilaterally start churches, plan worship services, design cultural events, and organize community activities and then invite “others” to them. Rather, white folks must join churches or ministry associations in which they are a minority and which are led by non-white folks.
  5. We must learn to hear and speak the glory of God in unfamiliar cadences.
    If white folks practice being guests and submitting to non-white leadership, we will begin to hear God spoken about in ways with which we are not familiar. Rather than jumping to evaluation of previously unfamiliar modes of discourse, white folks must learn to “sit with it” for a while, to join in and experience the praises of Jesus in ways that may be initially uncomfortable…

Read more at … http://fuller.edu/Blogs/Global-Reflections/Posts/Five-Non-Negotiables-for-White-Folks-In-Pursuing-Reconciliation/

#DMin LEAD 716

MULTIETHNIC LEADERSHIP & Insights from Ray Chang on #MultiethnicChurch at #Exponential16

These are notes gleaned from Ray Chang’s breakout at Exponential 16 (4/27/16). Dr. Chang is the pastor of a multicultural church pastor Ambassador Church, founder of the AmbassadorNet, and church planting leader with the Evangelical Free Church of America.

Dr. Chang suggests the vision for starting a multicultural church begins with three realities.

A biblical reality:

  • Creation (Gen. 1)
  • Fall (Gen 3)
  • Flood (Gen. 10:5)
  • Tower of Babel (Gen. 11)
  • Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12)
  • Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20)
  • Pentecost (Acts 2)
  • Epistles (Gal. 3:8)

>> today the church lives between the above scriptures and the below scriptures <<

  • Heaven and Kingdom (Rev. 5, 7)

A sociological reality: homogenous bridges in a heterogeneous church.

McGavran’s idea was correct, that Good News travels across cultural chasms when there are “bridges of God” that are mono-cultural or homogenous.

But “this was a practical reality” that people turned into a “theological reality” to target specific groups and miss the mosaic that McGavran had in mind of a heterogeneous church that has built homogenous bridges of God to multiple cultures.

The missiological reality: making disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20).

MULTICULTURALISM & A Consice Definition w/ a Preference for Intercultural

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min. Ph.D., 1/15/16.

Augusto Portera offers a helpful yet concise definition of “multiculturalism” in his chapter, “Intercultural and Multicultural Education: Epistemological and Semantic Aspects” in Intercultural and Multicultural Education: Enhancing Global Connectedness, ed.s Carl A. Grant and Agostino Portera (New York: Routledge, 2013), p. 16:

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But, Portera argues that multiculturalism does not lead to intercultural understanding, for Portera states (p. 19-20):

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EVANGELISM & Getting out of the “Leave it to Beaver” age of Evangelism #Multicultural

“…Training to reach the nations that have come to our backyards, especially those who relate to an Asian culture, is vastly underdeveloped.”

by Steve Hong, 10/27/15.

I’ve watched every rerun of that show. And here’s the picture of America I remember. Everyone had a mom, a dad, a single family ranch-style house in a suburb, and a car. Everything was neat and tidy and of course, everyone was white, even the guy who would star in “Kung Fu” years later. I’m extrapolating here, but I would imagine that everyone went to church and held the Bible to some authority. Sometimes, I feel the church’s “way” to reach people is stuck in “that” era. We still assume people know the Bible, that everyone is essentially white, and much more. Let me explain…

(graphic courtesy of YWAM-San Francisco)

Here’s what the “world” looks like for me here in the Bay Area. I live in a hyper-diverse place that looks like anything BUT what I saw in those old reruns. 60 of these ethnic groups alone come from nations where there is no home church. Switching from the “Beaver” reference to an “Oz” one, it’s certainly true that we’re “not in Kansas anymore.”

However, churches are still mainly using a Western approach to share the Gospel AS IF we were still in the pre-civil rights 1950s. This worked fine in past generations when many of the popular Gospel presentations were written before immigration opened up in the mid 1960’s to waves of immigration from the East. Trouble is, many Christians are not even aware that their approach is rooted in the West; for a large majority, there is no other known option. So we keep sharing a Gospel that’s very propositional, one that assumes an individual sense of self, one that assumes an authority of Scripture, one that appeals to guilt, and much more. In other words, the very way we share the Good News invisibly says, “this is a Western gospel.” At its worst, this approach says “you are invited into the Kingdom so long as you have our Western culture.” From my perspective, it’s no wonder how the church in China did not grow phenomenally until after all the Western missionaries got kicked out. The majority church today is ill-equipped to share anything other than the Western gospel.

This problem of a Western approach is compounded by an age-old rural approach to the Bible, and henceforth, a rural approach in our methodology. This approach is losing grip in the context of today’s world, where people are increasingly living in urban cores.

Consider what percent lived in urban places a hundred years ago compared to today:

  • 1900 – 8%
  • 2014 – 54%
  • 2050 – 60%

Much of the population growth is happening in Asia and Africa. In the US, the minority culture will soon outnumber the majority culture. This will be true in the nation’s colleges within a decade (and already true in many colleges), and will be true with the overall US population in a few decades.

So far, I’ve pointed out that the world is BOTH urbanizing AND “Asianizing.” Yet, training to reach the nations that have come to our backyards, especially those who relate to an Asian culture, is vastly underdeveloped. This is sad when we consider that both of these things compounded together represents the forefront of missions today. Theologian Ray Bakke says this …

Read more at … https://kingdomrice.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/getting-out-of-the-leave-it-to-beaver-age-of-evangelism/