All Churches Should Be Multiracial
While I’ve been a proponent for multiracial churches for years at this website and during my time in the pastoral profession, it’s not the same as getting a cover story in Christianity Today. Or having a book published (granted, excellently researched, from a sociological perspective). Their current web strategy is to post select articles online for a limited period of time, after the print edition has rolled out. I happen to have a print edition of the magazine at hand (and I would scan it into PDF format for you to see, but I don’t want to create ill will.)
So, in a few weeks, stay tuned for the following, in the April 2005 edition of Christianity Today Magazine: All Churches Should Be Multiracial: The biblical case. An Excerpt from United by Faith by Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim. And, Harder than Anyone Can Imagine: Four working pastors – Latino, Asian, black, and white – respond to the bracing thesis of United by Faith. The pastoral voices are Noel Castellanos (Latino Leadership Foundation), Bill Hybels (Willow Creek), Soong-Chan Rah (Cambridge Community Fellowship Church), and Frank Reid (Bethel AME Church). Also sidebar, Big Dream in Little Rock: what multiracial church looks like in the town formerly infamous for segregation, featuring Mosaic Church, led by Mark & Linda DeYmaz.
Some compelling excerpts:
- If we define a racially mixed congreatin as one in which no one racial group is 80 percent or more of the congregation, just 7.5 percent of the more than 300,000 religious congregations in the United States are racially mixed. For Christian congregations, which form more than 90 percent of congregations in the United States, the share that is racially mixed drops to 5.5 percent. Of this small percentage, approximately half of the congregations are mixed only temporarily, during the time they are in transition from one group to another. [that is, less than 3% of Christian congregations are racially mixed 80% pro rata]
- Soong-Chan Rah: If we were to hear of any other institution in the United States that had those kinds of statistics, we would be outraged. If less than 6 percent of universities or government institutions were integrated, we would say there is something seriously wrong.
- Bill Hybels: A true biblically functioning community must include being multiethnic. My heart beats so fast for that vision today.
[updated 3/31/05] CT cover story posted online, and sidebars too. Also see October 2000 CT article, Color-Blinded: Why 11 o’clock Sunday morning is still a mostly segregated hour. An excerpt from Divided by Faith. By Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith.