‘My President is black, my Lambo is blue…’- a line from secular artist Young Jeezy’s song ‘My President. It is not an unknown fact that our current president, President Barack Obama looks African American. In reality, He is mixed with African and Caucasian. Because of his color, many people can now ‘relate’ to the office of the president because the president physically looks like them. How often do we apply that same mindset to our churches?
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in an 1960 interview that ‘Eleven o’clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour.’ Although it is 52 years later, I have to agree with Dr. King. If you don’t, look around your church next time to see how many different cultures and races are represented in your place of worship.
What we can’t argue is that we are called to worship and fellowship together.(Deut. 31:12-13,Ps.122:1, Heb.10:24-25, Acts 2:42) I do understand that many people have numerous values and requisites for attending a particular church. This list may include, but is not limited to: church size, location, opportunity to serve, clear teaching of the Word, alignment with doctrinal values, and conducive worship atmosphere. All of these requirements are legit and understandable. But there is 1 requirement that many people do not state apply it into choosing a local body to join.
My pastor has to be the same color I am.
This requirement is one that can detour many from even visiting an unfamiliar congregation. Thanks to technology, we can Google a ministry and by looking at the homepage with a picture of the facility and pastor make a decision to visit or not. By no means is this fair to the ministry, but in our shallow hearts, we chose to not accept another race’s anointing or calling as we do our own.
1.Growing is better than just going.
Plenty of people go to a church where their pastor is their ethnicity, but they are just going. It defeats the purpose to join into a family of faith just to say you are part of a church. Church should be a place that you not only go to but you grow with. If your spiritual growth can be retarded by the color of the man holding the mic, you should check the integrity of your spirit.
There are various preaching styles, and a preference is different from a prejudice. Just because you ‘grew up’ a certain way, does not mean that way is holy, appointed, or anointed. That just means that is what you’re used to. God is able to use the person that yells and screams while preaching just as he uses the person that sits in a chair to teach. Don’t let the color of the vessel God is using detour you from being reached by His Word.
2. Getting rid of the line:’A ________ *insert color here* church.’
What exactly is ‘a white church’, ‘a black church’, ‘an Hispanic church’, ‘an Asian church’? Colors should be used to describe the structure of a church not the composition of the church. In order to change our mindset regarding race in the church, we have to stop using terms and phrases that that perpetuate our prejudices.
Labeling a church by the majority of it’s members or pastor reduces your view of the anointing to just a color matching game. The comfort and ease of worshiping with someone that not only shares your faith but your skin color can not be denied. When someone looks like you, you do see them as easier to relate with. (i.e. My President is _________ *insert your race here*) However, these comforts should not be capitalized on as a means to dictate where and with who you worship.
3. God does not care.
God can use so many different types of people. If he can use so many different personality types, of course He can people of different races to spread His gospel. In 1 Tim. 3:1-7, Paul explains to Timothy the requirements for pastors. No where in that passage does it mention a specific ethnicity, race, or culture that should be followed over the other.
God literally does not care what your skin color is. He cares about the message of the death, burial, and resurrection being spread to the ends of the world. No where in scripture is is written that only people who look like you are able to give you a scripture.
Tradition, by definition, is ‘a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on in this way.’
Traditions are not always God’s way.
When preparing for this article, I had several conversations with the older and younger generation, just to make sure I understood their reasoning for joining the body they did. 1 word that continuously came up during conversation was: Tradition.
The older generations was very resistant to the idea of attending a church where they are the minority. My generation was definitely more accepting of a mixed congregation, but often, have ended up just going with the flow. When asked ‘Why do you go to the church you go to?’ Many answered ‘That’s all I know because I grew up on that.’ Just because that’s what Grandma and Grandaddy did does not mean it was right or even biblical.
A certain church or church membership does not change your salvation. However, your Christian walk can be severely hindered by not being where God has called you because of a race issue. Focus on the heart not the skin the heart is in. (1Samuel 16:7) As with any decision, prayerfully consider what God wants and let Him lead.
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