Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Multicultural Worship’

Showing Our True Colors – Multicultural Worship

Multicultural WorshipBefore God ushered in the Church, Paul acknowledges, Jews were the accepted insiders while the Gentiles were the excluded outsiders. But now, he insists, these barriers of exclusivity, both religious and racial, have been dismantled.

So to what extent has the elimination of these barriers been reflected in our congregations?

Interact with God’s Word

Ephesians 2:14-18

  1. What characteristics differentiate people in your church from those in other churches in your community—theological perspective? Age? Political persuasion? Race? Economic status? Intelligence? Appearance?
  2. Is it fair to consider any of these to be dividing walls?
  3. In what specific ways (vv. 14, 16, 18) has Jesus’ death removed the walls that people erect between themselves?
  4. How, according to verse 15, did Jesus break down the “wall of hostility” between two groups?
  5. Do you think that continuing to think and react in terms of separate groups undercuts Christ’s sacrifice for you?
  6. Spell out how the unity of the Church involves each member of the Trinity (v. 18).

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God for wisdom to discern the extent to which the diversity of His Church universal ought to be duplicated in your local fellowship.

Ephesians 2:14-18

14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – Local Flavor

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse: But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent.  – Acts 6:1

Bonus Reading: Acts 6:1-7

At the inner-city Chicago high school where he coached, Wayne Gordon launched a Fellowship of Christian Athletes program. Guys lifted weights in his storefront apartment and talked about serious issues.

When Wayne’s bride, Anne, moved into the ‘hood with him, the gathering took on a coed flavor. The newlyweds urged several youths who became followers of Christ to become involved in a good church. But after an in-depth Bible study on the subject, the youth determined that their fellowship was a church and that Wayne was their pastor!

Soon the Gordons’ storefront living room was packed, and guitar-strumming young professionals showed up to lend support. The teenage “elders,” concerned that white folk were molding the young church to their own cultural preferences, called a closed meeting. They unanimously voted that while others could attend, only neighborhood residents could belong to their Lawndale Community Church.

Curious parents began joining. Professional outsiders relocated to the community. Today 600 families attend the church, which has reclaimed entire city blocks, started small businesses, and operates a health clinic and a residential drug rehab program.

—Robert Lupton in Renewing the City

My Response: Do I see ruling out commuter church growth as negative or positive?

Thought to Apply: What I am is God’s gift to me; what I do with it is my gift to Him.—Warren Wiersbe (pastor & author)

Adapted from Renewing the City (InterVarsity, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – Well, Excuse You!

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse:  So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified. Romans 15:7

Bonus Reading: Romans 15:5-9

Seven of us spent the summer in England, extending ourselves to international students who’d come to study in Oxford. This was my second summer mission, so I felt I’d mastered how to be a team player. But one team member started to drive me crazy. During meals Susan would reach over to my plate, grab one of my french fries (“chips” in England), and proceed with dinner as if nothing had just transpired. Where was “May I have one?” or “Do you mind?”

One morning I was in the kitchen preparing food at the counter. Susan needed something on the other side of me. Without saying a word, she reached across me to get it. That was the last straw!

“Susan,” I blurted, “you can’t keep violating my personal space any time you feel like it.” In Korean culture, she explained, a sign of friendship is to treat one another like family. There’s no need for such formalities as “Excuse me” or “May I try some of your food?” She’d just been paying me the compliment of being relaxed in my presence. As Susan spoke, I became aware of my own unwritten rules. We white people, I thought, are very dependent on verbal cues for interactions.

—Doug Schaupp in Being White

My Response: Do I let a friend shape how I view him or just make up my mind about him on my own?

Thought to Apply: To get a person to understand our point of view, we must first get to understand his.—Source Unknown

Adapted from Being White (InterVarsity, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – Who Died?

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples”. John 13:35

Bonus Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-18

A dozen years ago, my wife and I parachuted into Columbia, Maryland, to start a multicultural church. This community of 95,000 is racially diverse; we hoped that would increase our odds for success. But you can count on one hand the churches there with significant integration. Planting Bridgeway Community Church proved difficult.

What church consultants were saying was no help. One told me, “David, I’ve never seen a racially mixed church grow without one culture having to die. If there were blacks and whites in the church, then one of the cultures died.”

This statement perturbed me. I went back to my congregation of 50, composed mainly of whites and blacks at the time. After repeating the consultant’s statement, I threw my hands in the air and bellowed, “Why can’t we both die? Let’s all make a pact to die to ourselves to build a new culture, a multicultural army of devoted followers of Christ!”

The inspiration and resolve from that Sunday lives on. Today Bridgeway is 60 percent African-American; 13 percent Asian, Latino, or other ethnicity; and 27 percent Caucasian. We celebrate the beauty in the body of Christ within our congregation. And it’s rich!

—David A. Anderson in Multicultural Ministry

My Response: What cultural preferences might I have to forego in a diverse fellowship?

Thought to Apply: Racial reconciliation is one of the best roads to humility we can take because of the opportunity to die to self.—Glen Kehrein (Chicago ministry leader)

Adapted from Multicultural Ministry (Zondervan, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

Showing Our True Colors – Dealing the Race Card

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse: He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us. Ephesians 2:14

Bonus Reading: Ephesians 2:14-17

Moving to an urban Boston neighborhood after high school opened my eyes to the tensions between African- and Asian-American residents. “They call us ‘chinks’; we call them ‘niggers’!” blurted out the Korean-American owner of a mom-and-pop store who lived across the street. Today he visits his son and grandchildren in a multi-ethnic church that is a sister congregation to our own.

Our church is intentionally becoming multi-ethnic. But my wife and I at times grit our teeth as we entrust our kids to the nursery or Sunday school classroom. Why? Because “red and yellow, black and white” make comments about each other without thinking.

“Why do your eyes slant? Because you’re Korean!” my adopted Chinese daughters heard from one classroom.

“I don’t want to put my kids in a class with inner-city kids!” exclaimed a suburban African-American dad another week.

“That teacher is a Jew!” muttered an Arab man, shaking his head as he exited our English-as-a-second-language (ESL) class.

We need God’s power to work through our weakness so we can live out the reality that Christ has smashed the wall, and so we can enter a “conspiracy of kindness.”

—Doug Perkins in Delaware

My Response: Does my church conform to, or resist, community racial patterns?

Thought to Apply: All the people like us are we, and everyone else is they.  —Rudyard Kipling (English author)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – All Souls

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse: “Your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”.  – Revelation 5:9

Bonus Reading: 1 Peter 2:9-10

During a research stint at Oxford University, I visited historic All Souls Church in London. The preaching of its eminent pastor John Stott was insightful. But it was the array of nationalities that amazed me. I was greeted by people from all over the world. This, I thought, must be what heaven is like!

The apostle John must have been captivated to find himself peering into a worship service in heaven. If he were writing today, I imagine he’d express his vision like this: “Wow! I was amazed to see brothers and sisters from every conceivable people group worshiping our Savior. Some had slanted eyes and straight hair. Others had dark skin and thick lips. There were men and women, light and dark, young and old, sincerely worshiping our God.”

This vivid picture of the church purchased by the blood of the Lamb isn’t only in the mind of John but in the heart of God. Can you imagine segregated worship services in heaven? Are only white Anglo-Saxon Protestants there? Black Baptists? Korean Presbyterians? Latino Pentecostals? Of course not! So now picture a colorful rainbow of saints singing a chorus of worship and praise to the Lamb here on earth.

—David A. Anderson in Multicultural Ministry

My Response: When have I experienced a true cross-section of Christ’s church all together?

Adapted from Multicultural Ministry (Zondervan, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – As It Is in Wal-Mart…

Multicultural WorshipWho Said It…David A. Anderson

David A. Anderson is the founder and pastor of Bridgeway Community Church, a multicultural congregation in Columbia, Maryland.

He earned a doctorate in sociology and religion from Oxford University and teaches cultural diversity at the University of Phoenix’s Columbia campus. He also hosts Reconciliation Live!—a Washington DC, radio talk show on race relations.

What He Said…As It Is in Wal-Mart …

I was in Orlando as a consultant on diversity for business leaders. I was surprised at how segregated Orlando is. But near our meeting place was a Wal-Mart. When I walked through its doors, I bumped into Koreans and Puerto Ricans, whites and blacks, the disabled, the young, and the aged.

Hmm. While churches worship uniculturally, Wal-Mart spans color, class, and cultural lines by meeting the common needs of various groups. The common value that draws people to the Wal-Mart is their desire for a myriad of products for less money. Rich or poor, white or black, young or old, most people want to save money.

Your vision for ministry, if it doesn’t include cultural diversity, isn’t 20/20! What is the church’s common value that will cause people to come together? How will our churches become places where the common needs of all are met? How can they learn to be a place where everyone feels welcome, included, and valued? When we discover the answers, people will surface from pockets of obscurity.

Adapted from Multicultural Ministry (Zondervan, 2004)

Prayer for the Week:  Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

Showing Our True Colors – Multicultural Worship

Multicultural WorshipBefore God ushered in the Church, Paul acknowledges, Jews were the accepted insiders while the Gentiles were the excluded outsiders. But now, he insists, these barriers of exclusivity, both religious and racial, have been dismantled.

So to what extent has the elimination of these barriers been reflected in our congregations?

Interact with God’s Word

Ephesians 2:14-18

  1. What characteristics differentiate people in your church from those in other churches in your community—theological perspective? Age? Political persuasion? Race? Economic status? Intelligence? Appearance?
  2. Is it fair to consider any of these to be dividing walls?
  3. In what specific ways (vv. 14, 16, 18) has Jesus’ death removed the walls that people erect between themselves?
  4. How, according to verse 15, did Jesus break down the “wall of hostility” between two groups?
  5. Do you think that continuing to think and react in terms of separate groups undercuts Christ’s sacrifice for you?
  6. Spell out how the unity of the Church involves each member of the Trinity (v. 18).

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God for wisdom to discern the extent to which the diversity of His Church universal ought to be duplicated in your local fellowship.

Ephesians 2:14-18

14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – Local Flavor

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse: But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent.  – Acts 6:1

Bonus Reading: Acts 6:1-7

At the inner-city Chicago high school where he coached, Wayne Gordon launched a Fellowship of Christian Athletes program. Guys lifted weights in his storefront apartment and talked about serious issues.

When Wayne’s bride, Anne, moved into the ‘hood with him, the gathering took on a coed flavor. The newlyweds urged several youths who became followers of Christ to become involved in a good church. But after an in-depth Bible study on the subject, the youth determined that their fellowship was a church and that Wayne was their pastor!

Soon the Gordons’ storefront living room was packed, and guitar-strumming young professionals showed up to lend support. The teenage “elders,” concerned that white folk were molding the young church to their own cultural preferences, called a closed meeting. They unanimously voted that while others could attend, only neighborhood residents could belong to their Lawndale Community Church.

Curious parents began joining. Professional outsiders relocated to the community. Today 600 families attend the church, which has reclaimed entire city blocks, started small businesses, and operates a health clinic and a residential drug rehab program.

—Robert Lupton in Renewing the City

My Response: Do I see ruling out commuter church growth as negative or positive?

Thought to Apply: What I am is God’s gift to me; what I do with it is my gift to Him.—Warren Wiersbe (pastor & author)

Adapted from Renewing the City (InterVarsity, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – Well, Excuse You!

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse:  So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified. Romans 15:7

Bonus Reading: Romans 15:5-9

Seven of us spent the summer in England, extending ourselves to international students who’d come to study in Oxford. This was my second summer mission, so I felt I’d mastered how to be a team player. But one team member started to drive me crazy. During meals Susan would reach over to my plate, grab one of my french fries (“chips” in England), and proceed with dinner as if nothing had just transpired. Where was “May I have one?” or “Do you mind?”

One morning I was in the kitchen preparing food at the counter. Susan needed something on the other side of me. Without saying a word, she reached across me to get it. That was the last straw!

“Susan,” I blurted, “you can’t keep violating my personal space any time you feel like it.” In Korean culture, she explained, a sign of friendship is to treat one another like family. There’s no need for such formalities as “Excuse me” or “May I try some of your food?” She’d just been paying me the compliment of being relaxed in my presence. As Susan spoke, I became aware of my own unwritten rules. We white people, I thought, are very dependent on verbal cues for interactions.

—Doug Schaupp in Being White

My Response: Do I let a friend shape how I view him or just make up my mind about him on my own?

Thought to Apply: To get a person to understand our point of view, we must first get to understand his.—Source Unknown

Adapted from Being White (InterVarsity, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – Who Died?

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples”. John 13:35

Bonus Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-18

A dozen years ago, my wife and I parachuted into Columbia, Maryland, to start a multicultural church. This community of 95,000 is racially diverse; we hoped that would increase our odds for success. But you can count on one hand the churches there with significant integration. Planting Bridgeway Community Church proved difficult.

What church consultants were saying was no help. One told me, “David, I’ve never seen a racially mixed church grow without one culture having to die. If there were blacks and whites in the church, then one of the cultures died.”

This statement perturbed me. I went back to my congregation of 50, composed mainly of whites and blacks at the time. After repeating the consultant’s statement, I threw my hands in the air and bellowed, “Why can’t we both die? Let’s all make a pact to die to ourselves to build a new culture, a multicultural army of devoted followers of Christ!”

The inspiration and resolve from that Sunday lives on. Today Bridgeway is 60 percent African-American; 13 percent Asian, Latino, or other ethnicity; and 27 percent Caucasian. We celebrate the beauty in the body of Christ within our congregation. And it’s rich!

—David A. Anderson in Multicultural Ministry

My Response: What cultural preferences might I have to forego in a diverse fellowship?

Thought to Apply: Racial reconciliation is one of the best roads to humility we can take because of the opportunity to die to self.—Glen Kehrein (Chicago ministry leader)

Adapted from Multicultural Ministry (Zondervan, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

Showing Our True Colors – Dealing the Race Card

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse: He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us. Ephesians 2:14

Bonus Reading: Ephesians 2:14-17

Moving to an urban Boston neighborhood after high school opened my eyes to the tensions between African- and Asian-American residents. “They call us ‘chinks’; we call them ‘niggers’!” blurted out the Korean-American owner of a mom-and-pop store who lived across the street. Today he visits his son and grandchildren in a multi-ethnic church that is a sister congregation to our own.

Our church is intentionally becoming multi-ethnic. But my wife and I at times grit our teeth as we entrust our kids to the nursery or Sunday school classroom. Why? Because “red and yellow, black and white” make comments about each other without thinking.

“Why do your eyes slant? Because you’re Korean!” my adopted Chinese daughters heard from one classroom.

“I don’t want to put my kids in a class with inner-city kids!” exclaimed a suburban African-American dad another week.

“That teacher is a Jew!” muttered an Arab man, shaking his head as he exited our English-as-a-second-language (ESL) class.

We need God’s power to work through our weakness so we can live out the reality that Christ has smashed the wall, and so we can enter a “conspiracy of kindness.”

—Doug Perkins in Delaware

My Response: Does my church conform to, or resist, community racial patterns?

Thought to Apply: All the people like us are we, and everyone else is they.  —Rudyard Kipling (English author)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – All Souls

Multicultural WorshipKey Bible Verse: “Your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”.  – Revelation 5:9

Bonus Reading: 1 Peter 2:9-10

During a research stint at Oxford University, I visited historic All Souls Church in London. The preaching of its eminent pastor John Stott was insightful. But it was the array of nationalities that amazed me. I was greeted by people from all over the world. This, I thought, must be what heaven is like!

The apostle John must have been captivated to find himself peering into a worship service in heaven. If he were writing today, I imagine he’d express his vision like this: “Wow! I was amazed to see brothers and sisters from every conceivable people group worshiping our Savior. Some had slanted eyes and straight hair. Others had dark skin and thick lips. There were men and women, light and dark, young and old, sincerely worshiping our God.”

This vivid picture of the church purchased by the blood of the Lamb isn’t only in the mind of John but in the heart of God. Can you imagine segregated worship services in heaven? Are only white Anglo-Saxon Protestants there? Black Baptists? Korean Presbyterians? Latino Pentecostals? Of course not! So now picture a colorful rainbow of saints singing a chorus of worship and praise to the Lamb here on earth.

—David A. Anderson in Multicultural Ministry

My Response: When have I experienced a true cross-section of Christ’s church all together?

Adapted from Multicultural Ministry (Zondervan, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.

 

Showing Our True Colors – As It Is in Wal-Mart…

Multicultural WorshipWho Said It…David A. Anderson

David A. Anderson is the founder and pastor of Bridgeway Community Church, a multicultural congregation in Columbia, Maryland.

He earned a doctorate in sociology and religion from Oxford University and teaches cultural diversity at the University of Phoenix’s Columbia campus. He also hosts Reconciliation Live!—a Washington DC, radio talk show on race relations.

What He Said…As It Is in Wal-Mart …

I was in Orlando as a consultant on diversity for business leaders. I was surprised at how segregated Orlando is. But near our meeting place was a Wal-Mart. When I walked through its doors, I bumped into Koreans and Puerto Ricans, whites and blacks, the disabled, the young, and the aged.

Hmm. While churches worship uniculturally, Wal-Mart spans color, class, and cultural lines by meeting the common needs of various groups. The common value that draws people to the Wal-Mart is their desire for a myriad of products for less money. Rich or poor, white or black, young or old, most people want to save money.

Your vision for ministry, if it doesn’t include cultural diversity, isn’t 20/20! What is the church’s common value that will cause people to come together? How will our churches become places where the common needs of all are met? How can they learn to be a place where everyone feels welcome, included, and valued? When we discover the answers, people will surface from pockets of obscurity.

Adapted from Multicultural Ministry (Zondervan, 2004)

Prayer for the Week:  Lord, Your Church should be validating Christ’s reconciling power. Help me to do my part.