The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

New Church Plant labels...

In the “what the heck” category of web-serving, I recently headed towards a conference website to read their update, as occasionally it has some good ideas and thoughts. I noticed that in the capacity to search for new churches, there is an Ethnic Code section.

So, as my blood pressure rose, I thought “Surely, this is some kind of error.” Then I decided to check it out. And sure enough, you can search for new churches by the following “Ethnic codes”: African-American, Anglo, Asian/Indian, Brazilian, Chinese, Haitian, Hispanic/Latino, Kenyan, Korean, Liberian and Multi-Ethnic. By selecting one you are able to find your appropriate Ethnic Code.

I am deeply, deeply saddened for a lot of reasons.

  • I personally think that folks that are looking for a new church tend to be pretty web savvy. What kind of message does this send to new folks who are looking for a United Methodist Church in this area that we are segregating ourselves? We need to be launching new churches because we know and believe that we need new churches. Can we not trust God to send us the people He wants to entrust in our care?
  • Heaven will be diverse. It is about time that we moved away from the whole “White people worship with white people, etc.” model of doing church. It grieves the heart of God that we would so divide ourselves this way. (And I am not one to throw around the idea that we are grieving the heart of God, but you can’t read John 17:20-26 and not see that.)
  • It is abhorrent to think that the new churches we are starting carry on some of the worst parts of who we are, namely our divisions. And let’s not get all happy because there is a Multi-Ethnic Ethnic Code…it only has 2 churches in that category and one of those isn’t exactly in a diverse area.
  • I doubt the church planters involved are doing church with this division in mind. If a white couple finds their way into a predominately African-American congregation, do we not welcome them, love them and minister to them? “Open hearts, open doors, open minds” needs to be more than a weak advertising slogan that makes church people feel better about themselves.

Come, Lord Jesus...


At 4:55 PM , Blogger Will said...

Interestingly, both of the "multi-ethnic" churches are pastored by women.

At 1:30 PM , Blogger Jmac said...

That seems mighty weird to me, particularly coming from the current public relations campaign of the United Methodist Church (as you note). Of course, I've been out of the Methodist Church for some time now ... perhaps I'm a mere carperbagger! The pull of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was too much!

When did you head up to Tennessee?

And, Jason Sansbury ... what the heck!? How are you?


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