There has been an increased demand for conversations regarding race, justice, diversity, and the multiethnic/multicultural church. This is undoubtedly a good thing! It has been encouraging for me to see pastors, leaders, and Christians across denominational lines lean into these conversations with a renewed passion. Yet, even with the increase in conversations, there has been a decrease in clarity. Even a basic and Biblical word such as “justice” is now loaded with political and cultural meaning. In response, theologians and pastors have risen to the challenge to reclaim and even redefine these words, thoughts, and ideas to remind Christians that these concepts are Biblical, good, and necessary.
What is sometimes overlooked in all of the (necessary) defining of terms is the doing of the work. In 1975, Nobel Prize winning Author, Toni Morrison, gave a series of lectures at Portland State University. During one of her lectures, Dr. Morrison insightfully remarked:
“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”
This same truth applies to conversations supporting the work of starting and sustaining intentionally diverse churches. So much of the conversation today is almost exclusively focused on the defense or defining of the multiethnic church. There are many Christian leaders who are already convinced of God’s desire to see local churches reflect God’s heart for all people in the diversity of their congregations and leadership. Where can those leaders turn to learn best practices and connect with other like-minded leaders? That’s the problem the Cross Culture Collective was built to solve.
The Cross Culture Collective exists to create an ecosystem of resources and relationships to fuel a movement of cross culture churches.
My hope is that the Cross Culture Collective will be a hub of practical resources for Christian leaders who are committed to developing the people, practices, and purposes of the multiethnic/multicultural church.
This Collective will not be for everyone. If you are not yet clear about how diversity fits into God’s plan for your church, or not yet committed to the work of justice and diversity in your local church, then these resources may not help you. The starting point for all resources in the Cross Culture Collective will be how, not why. Make no mistake, the why will be upfront and center in all that we do because ultimately this is God’s plan for His church.
I’m grateful for the many men and women who have risen to the challenge to defend the biblical mandate for the church to intentionally embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Now, we need to add to the conversation the practical tools to help Christian leaders live this reality out in their churches. The Cross Culture Collective exists for that purpose.
So what exactly do we mean by the term: “cross culture”? In the next few weeks, I will begin unpacking “cross culture” and how it may be slightly different than multiethnic or multicultural. Lastly, why a “collective?” The Oxford dictionary defines a collective as “a cooperative exercise.” In order to create the resources needed it will take a community of Christian leaders connecting, thinking, trying, failing, and sharing. I don’t have all of the answers, I’m just starting the conversation. Will you join me?