Before you read the following article ... and in honor of Exponential next week, tickets to the Multi-ethnic Church Conference can be purchased by April 30 for the amazingly low price of only $89! Register here and use the special code EXPO10 to save $50 over regular ticket pricing today!
Now, the "M" Word(s) article ...
Mega. Missional. Movement. Common concepts, all beginning with the letter "m," that are guiding local church growth and development today. But there is one significant concept - an "m" word - lying just below the radar of conventional wisdom, yet fast coming into its own and, increasingly, into the collective conscience of evangelicals in the US and beyond.
In just the past few months, this "m" word - the new kid on the block - has emerged from the shadows onto the main stage of evangelical conversation and even into mainstream American media. Consider ...
1. In January, Willow Creek's pursuit of diversity was featured in an article in Time Magazine. This is the same month in which Outreach Magazine began publishing my new column entitled, Ethnic Blends, to help promote the multi-ethnic vision among its readership;
2. In February, Jossey-Bass released Neil Cole's new book, Church 3.0, in which he (rightly) identifies the New Testament Church at Antioch as "missional and multi-ethnic," the first time in print (to my knowledge) that these two concepts have been linked. - In fact, if you want a model for church in the 21st century, you need look no further than the church at Antioch: it was mega (Acts 11:21, 24, 26), missional (Acts 11:27-30), and movement minded (Acts 13:1ff.) ... but before any of these, it was multi-ethnic (Acts 11:19, 20). Indeed, when a church practices a love for all people beyond mere words, you can expect large numbers to respond and to mobilize for the sake of the gospel;
3. In the March 28 edition of the Washington Post, the journey of one church moving away from homogeneity in pursuit of the multi-ethnic vision was featured in an article entitled, Churches Struggle to Meld Cultures in an Era of Diversity;
4. In an April issue of Newsmax magazine, and in an article otherwise discussing faith with Joel Osteen, a very prominent sidebar entitled, Megachurhces Bridge the Racial Divide, featured the multi-ethnic nature of Osteen's church in Houston;
All of this should provide for you incentive to attend a historic conference now planned for November 2-3, 2010 in San Diego - the Multi-ethnic Church Conference! The unique conference format will provide you with opportunity for personal interaction with thought-leading authors, researchers and practitioners to help you grow in your understanding of the theology, principles and best practices of multi-ethnic, local church development! Check out the incredible line-up of speakers already committed to attending. I hope to see you there!