I have written four previous posts over the last few months on the top 10 reasons to plant a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati. Here’s a recap of the first four, and the remaining six reasons as well.
- Racial reconciliation is biblical. Every society has its own racial tensions to deal with. The early church had the Jew/Gentile tension. We have the black/white tension. We apply the same biblical principles to both.
- The world wants racial reconciliation, but only the gospel can achieve it.
- Change needs to begin with Christians, like me, dealing with their own racial pride in order to love their Christian brothers of other races.
- Racial reconciliation cultivates a missionary mindset.
The remaining six reasons are more practical than theoretical, so they require less comment.
- Cincinnati is about evenly divided between white people and black people. Any person who is called by God to be a missionary to a city, as I am, cannot single out certain people as more favorable to hear the message of Jesus. Part of my calling is to tell everyone about Jesus, not just the white people.
- A reconciled church is a powerful witness to the community. Reconciliation should begin in the church. When that happens, it stands out as a monument to the greatness of the God we serve.
- This is a great time in our country’s history to deal with this issue. I was working toward this goal long before Obama was elected president, but his election does affect the way people think of race. The most powerful man in the world comes from a race that has been oppressed historically. This alone can open new avenues of dialogue that were more difficult before. We should be able to discuss racial issues a little more freely now.
- A church that is mono-racial has isolated itself from the insights and spiritual vitality of other Christian communities. White Christians can learn a great deal from black Christians, just as black Christians can learn from white Christians. I want to learn biblical insights from people who read the Bible through the lens of a minority class. What verses and concepts stand out to them? I’ll bet you they are quite different from the ones that stand out to me.
- Church plants are the Research and Development arm of the body of Christ. We try new ideas and take bigger risks because we have nothing to lose. If I’m not willing to try this as a church planter, what larger church will take the risk?
- I want to pave the way for future churches to do the same. Hopefully, our mistakes and our successes can be a learning tool for other churches who want to embrace racial reconciliation.