NNCC: Planting Multi-Ethnic Churches

This morning at the Exponential Conference, I attended a session that focused on multi-ethnic church planting. This is becoming a growing passion for me. I believe that church planting in America must embrace starting multi-ethnic churches.

In today’s session, George Yancey discussed several approaches to assessing churches and identifying the multiracial potential of your church.

Rev. Ed Lee, pastor of Mosaic Community Covenant Church in Missouri City, Texas (mosaicpeople.org), presented a very helpful comparison of a variety of approaches to being a multi-ethnic church. The reality is that not all churches that would identify themselves as “multi-ethnic” will look the same or have the same emphasis, fundamental commitments, or motivations. I would encourage you to spend some time studying this chart: Variations 2-4 are true expressions of multi-ethnic churches. You may discover that your church is a hybrid of a couple of these variations.

Mark DeYmaz, pastor of a proven multi-ethnic church in Little Rock, Arkansas (mosaicchurch.net), described a timeline of the development toward a movement of multi-ethnic churches in the United States. He identified four books that are significant in the pioneer stage of this movement:

  • Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (2001) by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith
  • United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation As an Answer to the Problem of Race (2003) by Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Michael Emerson, George Yancey and Karen Chai Kim
  • One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches (2003) by George Yancey
  • Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church: Mandate, Commitments and Practices of a Diverse Congregation (2007) by Mark DeYmaz

He believes that this multi-ethnic church movement is “the single greatest movement in the 21st century.” I am inclined to believe him!

Executive Director of Mosaix, Jim Spoonts, then shared the vision for a Multi-Ethnic Church Movement. They are seeking to inspire unity and diversity in the local church throughout North America and beyond through casting vision, connecting, conferencing and coaching.


Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
4 replies
  1. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    As a multi-ethnic family we would love a multi-ethnic church! Our un-churched friends are multi-ethnic also. Unfortunately our church friends are all caucasian and now that we are planting a church it doesn’t reflect the variety we wanted so I will read these books.

  2. Robin
    Robin says:

    I attended a Mosaic Church in LA when we lived there two years ago and my eyes were really opened to the importance of multi-ethnic music and worship. I’m involved in a network for people involved in music and other arts in multi-ethnic and cross-cultural contexts. It is called ICE – the International Council of Ethnodoxologists. We are putting on a course that will have a “global song” component and I thought I’d let you know about it. If you’d like to spread the word through your church channels, we’d be grateful. Here’s the press release:
    LOOKING FOR TRAINING IN USING MUSIC IN CROSS-CULTURAL CONTEXTS? — The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary offers a new, interactive workshop May 31-June 6, 2008 in ethnodoxology, the cutting-edge field integrating ethnomusicology and the arts with worship applications. The course “Introduction to Ethnodoxology: Connecting Global Worship to Global Mission” will be taught by a team of scholars and global song experts from the International Council of Ethnodoxologists (ICE). The course equips students to cultivate culturally appropriate, biblical worship in international or multi-ethnic contexts. Early registration fee for the Workshop (postmark by May 15) is $375.00, postmark after May 15 is $475.00. Workshop Fee is noncredit. Graduate credit (3 hours) is also available. See http://www.sbts.edu/ethnodox
    For more information, call 1-800-626-5525 (extension 4115) or email ecrookshank(at)sbts(dot)edu

    Robin Harris
    ICE Coordinator http://www.worldofworship.org

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