Multicultural. It’s the thing most churches want to be these days, and rightly so.
But it seems we have run into some problems about what a multicultural church really is; and how can you become something you don’t understand?
Let’s start our discussion with what does NOT qualify as a multicultural place of worship.
What it’s NOT:
1) A church that happens to have people of color who attend sometimes
2) A church that happens to have people of color who attend all the time
3) A church that happens to have people of color who are in leadership or who use the facilities to run their own worship service
4) A church that makes use of diverse forms of worship
While some of these things may be qualities of a multicultural church, none of them in and of themselves qualify the church as being truly multicultural.
Being a multicultural church doesn’t just mean that you have other races who attend the church. It means that you honor them by incorporating their cultural ways of experiencing God into the church’s worship experience for the sake of growing together.
What it IS:
1) A church that SEEKS OUT people of color because Jesus seeks them just like he seeks white folks (not seeking them out for the sake of diversifying)
2) A church that RECOGNIZES and VALUES the unique contributions people of color bring to the Body of Christ (utilizing styles like gospel and rap in worship for reasons other than “it’s cool”)
3) A church that knows how to ASK for the perspectives of their ethnic brothers and sisters and actually LISTEN to the response
4) A church that EMPATHIZES WITH and ACTS ON the struggles people of color have in and out of their church lives (not to feel sorry for them but to walk in solidarity)
We live in a time where people need to know the genuineness of Christ more than ever. Everyone is asking the question, “Is this real?”
We need to get real; be honest with ourselves. We can do all the same things and still get it wrong. You can have all the elements and be abusing rather than serving our brothers and sisters of color.
The reality is that the body of Christ is already a multicultural Church. We just spend so much time in our cozy subgroups that we’ve convinced ourselves that we aren’t diverse.
Maybe we should focus more on getting to know the other parts of the Body than trying to make our personal branch of Zion look like the ideal church.
Jesus is always concerned about the heart, and so should we be. Where your treasure is, there your heart is. Time is currency more valuable than money. Where are you investing your most valuable resource?
I hope this perspective serves to stretch you in the way you do and view church.