Jesus called his followers to be united, and Paul reminded us there are no barriers or distinctions between race or class. So how do we create and live in a multi-ethnic Christian community? Pastor and speaker Efrem Smith presents a blueprint for reconciliation and transformation – individually and as a community – from his book The Post-Black and Post-White Church: Becoming the Beloved Community in a Multi-Ethnic World.
Pastor Smith has asked himself what Dr. Martin Luther King’s church would look like if he was pastoring today. King was able to shape a faith community into a movement and to bring together those from all across cultural and societal divides. So how can today’s church become a movement representing the totality of God’s kingdom?
As we discuss race in our world today, Pastor Smith does believe it’s important to recognize that we’ve come a long way on this issue. If you say that things are still as bad as they were in a distant historical setting, you’re disrespecting the progress that’s been made. Yet there is still a great deal of room to grow in our understanding of unity. The church ought to be hopeful as it looks to make an impact on the broken systems that still exist in our world.
So how can we make a difference in bringing unity to the church? Pastor Smith says the first step lies in our individual call as believers – to disciple new brothers and sisters and to spread the good news of Jesus. In other words, your mission begins right where you are & with those around you.
In many communities, we’re seeing an increasingly multi-ethnic mission field. Let the field you’re presented with determine the way you approach it.
Going a bit deeper, is there a place for ethnic specific churches? Pastor Smith believes that there is, but also encourages us to deeply consider having churches that look like the kingdom.