All over the United States, and even beyond, Christ-followers are embracing the vision of local churches that reflect the heart of God for all people on earth as it is in heaven, beyond race and class distinctions. Yet few tools to date have been developed to teach diverse believers how to walk, work and worship God together as one in the local church for the sake of the Gospel. For this reason we have written The Multi-ethnic Christian Life Primer, the first individual daily and small group study on multi-ethnic life and church designed not only for leaders but also, more specifically, for the people in the pews.
Through this eight-week daily experience you will grow in your understanding of the biblical mandate for the multi-ethnic church, and gain practical insight for doing life together with diverse others beyond the distinctions of this world that so often and otherwise divide. Patterned with permission after the good work of Hugh Halter and Matt Smay’s The Tangible Kingdom Primer, each chapter (week) provides seven daily readings to stimulate personal and missional formation focused on Theology, History, Considerations, Relationships, Communication, Competence, and Biblical Reflection.
As you’ll see, this study is not at all like any other so-called “diversity training” you may have had at
work or school. Rather, it is rooted in God’s Word. As such it is focused on reconciling diverse men and women to God and to one another through faith in Jesus Christ, and on reconciling local churches to the principles and practices of New Testament multi-ethnic churches such as existed at Antioch, Ephesus, and Rome.
Each week’s study of Theology will help you understand that unity is a central aspect of God’s character, an imperative to the local church, and essential for credible Gospel proclamation in an increasingly diverse society. Through each week’s study of History and demographic Considerations we’ll provide context for understanding theological truths in light of church and culture today. By considering cross-cultural Relationships, Communication, and Competence, you’ll learn what it takes to develop trust across cultural divides. And through Biblical Reflection, the Spirit of God will encourage your mind, heart and soul.
Much more than a simple devotional, The Multi-ethnic Christian Life Primer can be used by churches as a small group curriculum. In fact, we recommend that you come together with diverse others each week to discuss the reading and questions that you otherwise consider alone. Pastors, too, can use the primer as the basis for an eight-week sermon series focused on the topic. In so doing, the entire church will exponentially gain from simultaneous interaction with the primer at three levels: as individuals, in small groups, and from the large group setting.
When using the primer in a small group context do not be afraid to share, especially when your thinking runs contrary to what you are hearing from others involved. As others share, you may hear comments or stories that feel very foreign to you. In such moments, take good notes to gain insight into another’s perspective and culture, perhaps one very different than your own. Indeed there is something to learn from everyone, no matter who they are or from where they’ve come.
Finally, keep in mind that the topics raised in this primer will not always be comfortable for you to consider. Indeed, few things are when dealing with issues of ethnicity, class and culture. Even when this study gets difficult, however, we encourage you to keep going. The rewards of new understanding and relationships will be well worth it.
Excerpt from: Mark DeYmaz & Oneya Fennell Okuwobi. “The Multi-Ethnic Christian Life Primer.” Mosaix Global Network, 2013. iBooks.