In recent years I’ve been deeply encouraged by what I’m seeing when it comes to the multiethnic church. When I first became a pastor in the early 2000s, I had very little models to look to. Now gospel saturated, Christ-exalting churches are popping up everywhere, and I have had the honor of helping to strengthen several of them.
Just the other day I spent time with my friend Jeremy Treat and the people of the church he serves, Reality LA. Encouraged does not even begin to describe how I felt on the plane ride home. In fact, as I reflect on our day together, along with other recent experiences I’ve had with flourishing multiethnic churches, I see five commonalities that contribute to their success:
Intentionality. Pastors like Jeremy Treat have a vision for being a multiethnic church and are fiercely intentional when it comes to their worship experience, leadership and preaching. These multiethnic churches are not by accident or some organic process.
Courage. The difference between those who desire a multiethnic church and those who are experiencing a multiethnic church typically comes down to courage. As God communicated to Joshua, it’s one thing to see the Promised Land, but to actually move in will necessitate leaders to “be strong and very courageous”. Leaders of diverse churches are willing to do the hard thing, the courageous thing.
They’re New. I don’t have any data to point to this, but I’m just speaking from my eyes. The churches who are killing the game in the area of Christ-exalting diversity tend to be church plants who’ve started some time during this century. In many ways it’s easier to start something this bold, than to transition an existing church in this new and daring trajectory.
Young. Millennials and GenZ have proven to be much more open to matters of ethnic diversity and overall justice matters.
A White Aftertaste. What’s interesting is these churches have an historic white base in which minorities have trickled into. Sadly, this hardly ever works the other way. I wish this were different. Over time, minorities have proven much more open to follow white leadership than vice versa.