Or does it matter?
Multiracial churches are defined as congregations in which no one racial group is 80% or more of the congregation. So, if you have one African-American family or one Hispanic family--most likely you do not qualify. The authors of the prophetic book United by Faith state that only 7.5% of over 300,000 "religious" congregation in the US are racially mixed. In "Christian" congregations, the percentage drops to 5.5%. Is this disturbing to you? Should we care?
We have all heard the statement, "Christian worship is the most segregated hour in the US!" Okay. But it is time for us to move beyond this statement.
A few observations:
-This is at the heart of the gospel. You cannot read the NT without acknowledging that the good news of Jesus came to break down existing walls between people--Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, male and female. The baptismal waters compel us to enter into relationships with people that do not look like us, live like us, or dress like us.
-The "white" churches were decades behind the integration laws of the 60's. Forgive me for finger pointing, but the "white" congregations should have been pleading for forgiveness while living as people with a mission to embrace the essence of Gal.3:27-28.
-It is "nearly" impossible for homogeneous, "white" churches to transition out of the mold in order to become multiracial. It can happen, but there are MANY obstacles to climb over. Though we should be striving to unite as faith communities, I believe that multiracial churches are going to have to be birthed by church plants. Unification must be in their DNA from birth. This means while churches dream of planting black churches and Hispanic church, they also need to be dreaming of how to be intentional in planting multiracial churches.
-To get minorities into a church building is not the goal of being multiracial. You can get people of all different ethnicity's into the same building, yet still be just as segregated. The goal needs to be to form a new kind of community--one where people of different ethnicity's can sit on the same pew handing the bread and cup to one another...one where different "groups" join with one another for Sunday lunches...one where people can join one another during the week around tables. When this happens, know this, the Kingdom of God has come.
-"White" churches cannot strive to be multiracial while insisting on doing church the "white" way. To become multiracial is not just about people of different shades of skin, it is about embracing different cultures. It is about embracing different worship styles. It is about learning to pray differently. This calls for great humility!