Archive for the ‘Diversity’ Category

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Unity in Christ Magazine

Saturday, January 23, 2010

On Monday, January 25 Multi Cultural Ministry will launch a new e-zine called Unity in Christ Magazine.

The purpose of this e-zine is to equip, inform, and educate our readers on how to serve a multi-ethnic society in a multi-cultural world. It will feature ministries that are reflecting the love of Christ in their multi-ethnic multi-cultural communities.

Go to “7 Days to Unity” to watch video testimonies of lives impacted by attending a multi-ethnic church, written testimonies in support of Unity in Christ Magazine, and descriptions of articles in the first issue.

To view the inaugural issue on Monday, January 25, 2010 go to www.unityinchristmagazine.com.

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Reaching the Nations Among Us: Part 3 The Seven Fatal Errors of Ethnic Ministry: Error #1 – Lack of Unity

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Many conflicts between a host and immigrant church are the result of unfulfilled expectations. Unfulfilled because they were not expressed and written down prior to launching the immigrant ministry.

Here is a three step process I use to create a spirit of unity.  It takes me an average of eight months to walk a church through the first two steps.

1.  SOW the Vision. Helping people take ownership of a vision cannot be done in one 45-minute presentation. People need time to process the vision. 

·      The Pastor. The pastor is the key person. Nothing will be accomplished without the pastor’s full support.

·      The Leadership.  The leadership needs to work through the issues and ask all of the questions necessary before moving ahead. Only then can they confidently respond to questions from the congregation.

·      The Congregation. The congregation should receive the same information that the pastor and the leadership received. They are the ones that will have to give up exclusive use of facilities, worship styles, and leadership positions to reach all levels of assimilation within an immigrant group.

2.  SURVEY the Body.

·      Determine your acceptable losses. The leadership should determine the number of families or individuals they are willing to loose in order to implement an ethnic ministry. Whether you change your style of worship music, name, or drop Sunday school for small groups, there are always some who will leave the church.  It’s no different with starting an immigrant ministry.

·      Conduct an informal survey.  Following the Vision Casting to the congregation (I recommend a series of messages) divide the families of the church among the leadership and ask them what they think about the possibility of starting an ethnic ministry.  This casual survey will help you get some idea if you are within the range of acceptable losses.  If not, go back to casting the vision.  Consider some of the negative feedback received from the casual survey.  Address these concerns from a biblical perspective. Remember we are not asking for permission, we are preparing the hearts of our people for transition.

·      Conduct a formal survey.  Proceed with this step if the informal survey is positive. The purpose is to solicit the opinions, concerns and fears of the people so they can be addressed at an announced congregational meeting for this purpose. 

3.  SECURE a Covenant.

 A covenant outlines the commitments the church is wiling to make to launch an immigrant ministry.

·      Facility Use. The usage of rooms, days, and times for regular services and a process for requesting usage for special events and activities.  Rooms are no longer for the exclusive use of any one person or ministry.

·      Equipment Use.  The usage of audio/visual equipment for regular services and a process for requesting usage for special events and activities.

·      Chain of Command.

                   o     Ministry Leaders: Children’s, Youth, Audio-Video, Greeters, Ushers, etc… should provide training for counter parts in the immigrant church for continuity across language ministries regarding church policies, practices, and care of facilities and equipment.

                   o     The Immigrant Pastor and congregation must be aware of the church’s process and protocol for dealing with issues.

·      Finances. Since the immigrant ministry is part of the local church then all offerings go into the church treasury.  The church should create a line item(s) to cover the expenses of the immigrant ministry.  This should include, as soon as possible, the immigrant pastor’s compensation package.

That’s my opinion.  I welcome yours.

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December 19, 2008 ~ Interracial Churches | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This video is about Wilcrest Baptist Church and City of Refuge Church in particular and ethnically diverse churches specifically was posted on PBS.org’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. Lucky Severson is the narrator.

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Healthy Respect

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jay Pankratz talks about respect, the flip side of humility, and its importance to multi-ethnic ministry.

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What is the Biblical Concept of Unity?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What is the biblical concept of unity? This the second of a series of questions asked by David Hall, Escondido, CA

 

The pursuit of unity is not limited to the multi-ethnic church.  Every local body of believers, because of sin, is susceptible to attitudes and behaviors that can lead to conflicts, divisions, and the exclusion of people groups in their ministries.

That is why we are to strive for unity. The following is a brief outline of the biblical teaching on Unity.

·       Unity is the desire of Christ for his disciples, “I pray…that all of them may be one” (Jn. 17:20-21).

·       Unity is based on Word of God, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

·       Unity is lived out among believers, “those who will believe in me” (Jn. 17:20).

·       Unity is a testimony to the world of Christ’s coming, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn. 17:21); “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (Jn. 17:23).

·       Unity must be earnestly and sincerely pursued, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).

·       Unity is achieved with love, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:34, 35), “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sin” (1 Pet. 4:8),”Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1Jn. 3:18).

·       Unity is contingent upon certain character traits that are the result of spiritual growth: humility, gentleness, patience (Eph. 4:2), unselfishness (Phil. 2:3,4), kindness, goodness, meekness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23), respect (Rom. 12:10; 1Pet. 2:17), and peace (Heb. 12:14; Js. 3:18).

·       Unity is lived out as we intentionally practice the “one another’s” of scripture; love (1Jn. 4:7), devotion (Rom. 12:10), honor (Rom. 12:10), live in harmony (1Pet. 3:8), accept (Rom. 15:17), instruct (Rom. 15:14), admonish (Col. 3:16), greet (Rom. 16:16), agree (1Cor. 1:10), serve (Gal. 5:13), bear (Eph. 4:2), forgive (Eph. 4:32), speak (Eph. 5:19), submit (Eph. 5:21), encourage (1Thess. 5:11; He. 3:13), spur (Heb. 10:24), offer hospitality (1Pet. 4:9), be humble (1Pet. 5:5), have fellowship (1Jn 1:7).

Unity is to be pursued by every member of the body of Christ regardless of the degree of ethnic, socio-economic, or gender diversity in the church. It is best measured by the character and practices of the individual believers toward one another, than by the number of diverse groups, the greater our commitment to character and practice, the broader the diversity of our ministry and its potential for unity.

That’s my opinion I welcome yours.

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Jay Pankratz: The Power of Humility in a Multi-ethnic Church

Thursday, November 27, 2008

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Is Multi-ethnic Ministry Biblically Prescriptive or Descriptive?”

Friday, November 14, 2008

“Does the Bible MANDATE the church to engage in multi-ethnic ministry? Or is it best viewed as a matter of strategy (or methodology) to carry out effectively other biblical mandates (like reaching and discipling the lost)?”  – Dave Hall, Escondido, CA


       While there is no absolute Biblical mandate, “Thou shall be a multi-ethnic church” (prescriptive), that does not mean that the concept is not in the Bible.  In fact there is substantial Biblical evidence that supports and illustrates multi-ethnic ministry (descriptive) in the Book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles. 

       Historically the ethno-centric church reflects a prescriptive nature established by society over centuries of practice. The Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. by Emperor Constantine granted equal rights to Christianity. Philip Schaff in his History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, writes that this religious freedom brought about the “conversion of the nations,” during the middle ages. It “was effected or introduced by a few individuals, St. Patrick in Ireland, St. Columba in Scotland, St. Augustine in England, St. Boniface in Germany, St. Ansgar in Scandinavia, St. Cyril and Methodius among the Slavonic Races” (p. 20). In essence these missionary endeavors established mono-ethnic churches aimed to reach a people group in their language and cultural context.

      The Reformation continued to minister to mono-ethnic groups. Lutherans could be found in Germany, Scandinavia and the Reformed in Switzerland, France, Holland, England and Scotland (Schaff, Vol. VII, Modern Christianity, The German Reformation, p. 45). 

      In the New World the racist attitudes of many Northern Europeans justified by the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny toward Native Americans, African Slaves, Mexicans and later toward Chinese and Japanese institutionalized segregation not only at all levels of society but in the church as well. This act gave rise to the necessary formation of ethnic churches and denominations by minority group believers. Giving birth to the Christian version of separate but equal.  Equal within the Body of Christ, just not the local church.

       America has sought to break down segregation in our society through congressional legislation. The recent election of Barak Obama as President of the United States is an indication that we as a nation have made some major advances against institutional racism, prejudice, and segregation. Regrettably the Church still lags behind. This historical fact in no way implies that all ethno-centric churches today are racist. What it does establish is that our ethno-centric churches are such by historical default and not by Biblical precepts.

       Secondly, multi-ethnic ministry is not a strategy or a methodology to help carry out the Great Commandment (Luke 10:27), the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19, 29; Acts 1:8), and the New Commandment (John 13:34,35).  It is the end result of having faithfully carried out these mandates in an ethnically diverse community. 

Jay Pankratz, Sunrise Church Rialto, transitioned into a multi-ethnic church out of a commitment to the mandates of Christ, he states, “I had no vision for ethnic diversity; but, when I began to study God’s Word, the Lord’s mandates, and I looked at the ethnic diversity of our community I came to the conclusion that we could not be anything less.

Mile McPherson, The Rock Church, San Diego, stated that “God wants [his church] to reflect heaven…the more ethnically diverse your church is the more firepower for evangelism you have…”

       These multi-ethnic ministries reflect a biblically descriptive nature as depicted in the New Testament. Once again, not every local church must be multi-ethnic.  If the demographics of a community reflect only one ethnicity then the church will be mono-ethnic. This exemption, as illustrated in the Book of Acts, eliminates a mandate that all churches must be multi-ethnic. For example, seven of the nine church plants listed in the Book of Acts were multi-ethnic; Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:43), Iconium, Acts 14:10, Thessalonica (Acts 17:4), Berea (Acts 17:12), Athens (Acts 17:17), Corinth (Acts 18:4, 8), and Ephesus (Acts 19:8-10). Luke states that these churches consisted of both “Jews and Greeks”, “Jews and Gentiles”, and “Jews and devout converts”.  Only two, Derbe, a small town (Acts 14:20b, 21) and Philippi, a Roman colony (Acts 16:12-40) did not have a multi-ethnic congregation. But in the communities that were ethnically diverse and the Gospel was intentionally proclaimed to all, the church became multi-ethnic.

       If the mandates of Christ instruct us to reach all within our immediate community then expand that Gospel outreach to the outermost parts of the world, and to love one another as he loves us, then ask yourself the following questions.

  • “How is it possible to begin to accomplish the Great Commission by practicing selective evangelism in an ethnically diverse community and growing a mono-ethnic church?”
  • “Does the lack of a mandate for the church to be multi-ethnic nullify Christ’s Great Commission mandate to make disciples of all nations when individuals from those nations live in our community?” 
  • “Should the history and traditions of a local church or denomination exempt it from ministering to all in their diverse community? In other words does the prescriptiveness of history trump the descriptiveness of scripture?”
  • “How can the unity that Christ prayed for and the testimony of the church to the world be achieved in an ethnically diverse community if we remain in segregated churches?”

      The Multi-ethnic Church model, is certainly not the historical model of the church or incontestably mandated in the scriptures, but it is most certainly demonstrated in the New Testament and offers a better reflection of the mandates of the Father and of the Son.

That’s my opinion I welcome yours.