From Brad Wright, a sketch of the challenges when churches are multi-racial:
When churches do seek racial integration, it can bear substantial costs. Among the possible costs that scholars have identified:
- Churches feel like they are losing their identity
- Churches have less feeling of group solidarity
- Worship services are reworked
- Decision making processes are changed
- New staff are hired
- Services and materials are offered in multiple languages
- Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is frequently misinterpreted
- Conflict arises in church about the smallest of issues. (One study told of a race-related row about where to place a statue)
- Food service at fellowship events are changed
- Length and style of sermons are changed
- And on and on and on
One pastor exclaimed that multiracial ministry is simply exhausting, and this seems to be true in terms of time, energy, and material resources.
1. Gal 3:28 — in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female. [Paul would look at these challenges and say, “Yah, that’s what it’s all about.”]
2. Rev 5:9-10 —
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
Which means this: We are charged to lean into the future kingdom by living in fellowship with all today.