• Krista Bontrager

Should Every Church Be Multiethnic?

Monique and Krista discussed a popular question: Should every church be multiethnic?


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Discussion with Krista and Monique


Tonight's big question: Should the Church be multiethnic?


While on the road at conferences and speaking engagements, Krista and Monique get many questions from pastors and leaders regarding the topic of the multiethnic church. The question lingering in the background is this:


Is there something defective about my church (if it is not multiethnic)? Or is my church racist?


When talking about multiethnic churches in this context, the definition typically means: A predominantly white church taking steps to become more ethnically diverse


Verse most often quoted by pastors:


Revelation 7:9-10

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

We would propose that this verse is not meant to be prescriptive, but descriptive. In other words, this verse is not presenting the ideal local church, but is instead a reflection of the global church.


Matthew 28: 18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Acts 2: 5-12

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from EVERY NATION under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

As our friend, Dr. Harold Felder says, "The Church has been multiethnic since the beginning!"


As the verses above show, the idea of the Church being white is not the perspective of Scripture, nor is it the reality when we look at the Global Church.


So, we have established that the Global Church is multiethnic, multicultural, and multilingual, but what about the Local Church?


Having a monoethnic/monocultural church *might* be a sin problem, but it might not! The cultural thinking of CRT is seeping into the church and more data is needed! *If* certain ethnic groups are being purposely excluded, that would be a problem of partiality (ie sin).


Main question to investigate: WHY is my church monoethnic?


Worship style, music, etc...could be benign or maybe not.


Considerations for pastors/elders to investigate:

  • Does the church reflect the demographics of the surrounding community (within a 2-5 mile radius of the church building)?

  • If not, why not? Maybe the leadership is apathetic...or maybe the congregants are apathetic? Maybe there is a misunderstanding of the vision? Have we done proper discipleship?

  • Maybe this is a blind-spot or un-detected? Or maybe the community is "unchurched" or the soil is hardened ground.


What can church elders/pastors do if they want to take a proactive approach?

  • Preach the Gospel! Bring the Gospel to that community! Don't be content with ONLY social programs, backpack programs, etc.

  • How are we as leadership going to mobilize our congregation to engage in this Gospel ministry? What type of discipleship will we do?...What are our goals in the next 3-5 years...? Does my congregation even know how to share the Gospel?

  • How will we reach these people in my community?


***Diversity for the sake of diversity is not the goal! The Gospel is the goal! Diversity happens when the Gospel goes out!***


Common question we hear: Can I fix my monoethnic problem in my church by recruiting black elders?

  • Culture has seeped into our thinking within the church!

  • These leaders are likely wanting to correct the "power dynamics" of the elder team, but what does the Scripture say about power? Is it always a bad thing? Hierarchies are part of the created order!


What about Biblical leadership?

  • Titus 1, 1 Timothy 3 (prescriptive passages)

  • There is specific Scriptural criteria for leaders--melanin is not one of them!

  • Acts 13: 1-3 (Example of diversity in the early church, brought about by the Holy Spirit)

  • Acts 6: 1-7 (Descriptive example of how cultural insiders helped a specific people group in the community)


How are these multicultural pressures impacting the Black Church?


These conversations probably aren't happening.


Shout-out to all the pastors who are grinding it out everyday for the Gospel! We are here to support and encourage you!


Segment #1 Resources


Look up the stats of the demographics around your church!

Census website: https://www.census.gov/


Check out Krista's recent article on this topic:

https://www.centerforbiblicalunity.com/post/should-every-church-be-multi-ethnic


Be sure to check out the latest episode of Off Code with Monique Duson and Kevin Briggins! The duo invites a special guest and they examine Freemasonry within the Black Community.




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