We strongly desire to grow in our ethnic diversity, but realize that if we are to fully live out our 5th core value of egalitarian ministry: unleashing the invaluable gifts of every ethnic group, we must seek assistance from those on the outside who have expertise in this area. One of the ways ECO has taken steps forward is by purchasing a Multi-Ethnic Learning Community cohort from Exponential for 25 participants. Interested in participating? We have great news: spots are still available!
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23).
According to the latest research, 86.3 percent of U.S. churches fail to have at least 20 percent diversity in their attending membership. Churches are 10 times more segregated than the neighborhoods where they’re located, and 20 times more segregated than nearby public schools. The problem? An increasingly diverse and cynical society is no longer finding credible the message of God’s love for all people as proclaimed from segregated pulpits and pews. The solution? A return to the principles and practices of first-century churches. Scripture tells us about churches in Antioch, Ephesus and Rome where diverse men and women walked, worked and worshiped God together as one, so that the world would know God’s love and believe (John 17:20-23).
The same potential exists for today’s 21st-century churches. But we will have to be intentional and learn from others. In this new Learning Community, we will explore the theological foundations, historical obstacles, core commitments, common challenges and promising practices, of established healthy multiethnic communities of faith (outlined in the book Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church by Mark DeYmaz). A pioneering church already on the journey will host each gathering, demonstrating both why we should and how you can establish healthy multiethnic churches that intentionally and joyful reflect their communities for the sake of the gospel.
Primary text: Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church by Mark DeYmaz
Secondary text: Leading a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church by Mark DeYmaz and Harry Li
- November 4th-5th in Grand Rapids, MI
- February 3rd-4th in Cincinnati, OH
- May 4th-5th in Little Rock, AR
"Living out the key value of unleashing every multi-ethnic group will take a lot of work! But it is clear in scripture that the gospel of Jesus Christ is what takes down the walls that society normally erects to divide us. If we are going to make God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven, we must live out our values in our churches and among our people." - ECO Synod Executive, Dana Allin
"Multiculturalism is not easy. Obviously, it has its own challenges indeed but still remains the best reflection of the gospel of peace. It is my persuasion that with love, cultural education, tolerance, faith, and a Christ centered approach to life and worship, multiculturalism will be possible." - Rev Dr. Aluu Williams Nnali, Senior Pastor of The Presbyterian Church Chapel of Grace, Houston TX