We're a multi-racial church with a multi-racial school, so I, ahem, have room to talk. And if you are not the former, then you've got to sit and read quietly. No comments please. You, my friend, can't say anything unless you've got the proper balance in your congregational demographic. You want a congregation that looks like America. And America aint all caucasian last I checked, amigo.
Listen closely (and I am joking when I say that). The way that we got multi-racial was by not trying to get there. We didn't do anything with our music and we didn't do anything with our outreach. We didn't contextualize. I didn't revert to an urban dialect like you'll hear with certain politicians. We just knocked on every door and treated everyone the same. We did what the Bible says and it turned into what it turned into. No strategy. No techniques. I don't see it as any unique success that we are multi-racial. It wasn't a goal. We didn't customize the message for anyone. We preached it the same to everyone. If people wanted it, they did, and if they didn't, they didn't. We didn't assume that we needed racial reconciliation. Parallel with the former paragraph, I wrote this some time ago:
I’m guessing that, per capita, our church is as or more racially diverse than most churches in the United States. I would like to point out, however, that living and ministering in an urban area, I have found that there many forms of racism. We don’t cater at all to race. The Scriptural standard is the same for everyone; catering to it, I believe, is also racism, and I believe equally as evil as any other kind of racism. No one should be getting a different version of the ministry because they have a different skin color. That itself is pragmatism. People should be treated equally—no respect of persons either way. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation and salvation is a miracle that does not depend on fashioning the message to fit a focus group.
John Piper has thrown fuel on the racial reconciliation flame in two recent ways. First, he promoted black rappers in his church. I don't believe they got to rap to the main congregation, the one that Piper preaches to, but he was used for a special gathering there (read Peter Masters' essay). Second, Piper wrote a book recently in which he said he was once a racist, but now he's not, even though in the book he saw the need for a kind of apology for his church being all white.
I am not a good example of an urban pastor. Because of the way I believe God calls me to use my time, I don't have significant relationships with most of my neighbors. Nor does our church reflect the diversity of this neighborhood.
He had time to write the book, but still no time to do what it takes to preach to his neighbors. Do we really love them if we don't take the time to preach to them? We should spend less time thinking about racial reconciliation and more time preaching the love of Christ to everyone.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Tim Keller's mention of Martin Luther King, Jr.. It seems to me that "racial reconciliation" is code language for using pandering to race as a method for church growth. Biblical truth takes a back to seat to political correctness.
If you google "racial reconciliation" and evangelicalism, you'll get 112,000 results. Numerous articles have been written about it, as if it is an important topic for churches. In 1 Corinthians 7, the theme of the chapter is that no particular social condition is necessary to live the Christian life. You can be a slave and live for Christ, free, single, married, Gentile, Jew---add to that black, white, red, yellow, and brown. None of these conditions matter to your success as a Christian.
The major problem that I see with this racial reconciliation movement is the ignorance of biblical orthodoxy and truth for the sake of the non-biblical cause of racial reconciliation. The example of MacDonald and Driscoll with Jakes is a prime example, but it is all over the place today.
I like the metaphor of trojan horse. Not bad for a blind poet (Homer). I don't see racial reconciliation as anything but a trap. No true reconciliation occurs without the grace of God in the gospel. That's good enough.