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A Call for Racial Diversity February 2, 2007

Posted by larrylaz in Links.
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Joe,

I’m off to State College for the weekend and so I trust that you’ll keep things rolling here. But I did want to post one last thing.

A couple of days ago Thabiti Anyabwile blogged on Jesus and Affirmative Action, in a post that seems to at least be partially motivated by John Piper’s recent musings on the same subject which I posted last week.

Of special interest to me were Thabiti’s thoughts on what to do if you live in an area where there is little racial and ethnic diversity. Those who read this blog who attend my church in Pitman, NJ know that this is indeed a great challenge. And I know there are some (and hopefully more will be stirred!) who have a great desire to see more ethnic and racial diversity among us. In fact, a few months ago I led a time of prayer at church along those lines. So here is Thabiti’s advice to those with little diversity in their area of ministry:

  1. Pray for John Piper and other pastors who are… that their churches would look like Rev. 5:9-10… a blood-bought people united in praise for the One Savior of all the world.
  2. Pray that your area would become more diverse. What’s wrong with asking for the nations to be brought close to home?
  3. Pray that you and your people would be ready (free of racial predjudice or indifference, delighted for the gospel opportunity) when and should the Lord change the demographics of your area.
  4. Pray against any desire to leave the neighborhood if/when the neighborhood changes.
  5. In your preaching, apply the gospel to the nations… those around you in the next town and those across the globe. Try to cultivate in your people a large mindedness when it comes to thinking about the world and gospel. Expose them by way of illustrations and introductions to the difference that exists in the world, differences that are meant to be overcome by Jesus Christ in the gospel.
  6. Read Reconciliation Blues. Also, you might consider an older book, Dwight Perry’s Breaking Down Barriers: A Black Evangelical Explains the Black Church. Similar Latino and Asian titles should be read as well. Commit yourself to being informed intellectually, even if being informed experientially isn’t quite feasible.
  7. If the nations aren’t in your town, go to their town. Emphasize missions and strategically direct your mission efforts to nations not like you. And direct some energies to cities or towns whose racial composition is different from your own.
  8. Diversify your staff anyway. Visit the local seminary or your Bible college alma mater and recruit minority students to come to your church as interns or staffpersons. Leave the glorious comfort of your hometown to seek and invest in the stranger. You’ll be surprised what they add to your people and what your people will contribute to them.
  9. Move. Don’t be afraid to pick up and settle in a land the Lord will show you… a land filled with people not like you who need the gospel preached, modeled, and lived even down to residential decisions.

I will continue to pray for our church and for churches around the nation that will better embody the glorious truth of Revelation 5:9, “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,”

Larry

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