Today, I am pleased to announce the outstanding line-up of contributors and endorsers who have now weighed-in on my forthcoming (April 2010) book titled, Ethnic Blends: Mixing Diversity into Your Local Church (Zondervan/Leadership Network). Thanks to all of them for doing so and for helping to create what many believe will be a very useful read and minisrty tool for the increasing numbers of ministry leaders, churches and organziations pursuing the multi-ethnic vision.
In the weeks ahead, leading up to the book's release, I'll be sharing some of their words with you in order to wet your appetite for the project. In the meantime, take a look at who all is involved ...
Co-author: Harry Li (Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas)
Forewords:Erwin Raphael McManus (Mosaic LA) and Dr. Michael Emerson (Rice University)
Contributors: David Anderson (Bridgeway Community Church), Daniel Backens (New Life Providence Church), Dana Baker (Grace Chapel), David Boyd (Jesus Family Centre, Australia), Ed Lee (Mosaic Community Covenant Church), Mike Leonzo (Living Water Community Church), David Nelms (Grace Felowship), Alejandro Mandes (EFCA), Mont Mitchell (Westbrook Community Church), Chris Rice (Duke Divinity School), Pete Scazzero (New Life Fellowship Church), Wayne Schmidt (Kentwood Community Church), Jonathan Seda (Grace Church), Efrem Smith (Sanctuary Covenant Church), Chris Williamson (Strong Tower Bible Church)
Endorsers:David Anderson (Bridgeway Community Church), Brian Bloye (West Ridge Church), Chad Brennan (Renew Partners), Matt Carter (Austin Stone Community Church), Tom Cheyney (NAMB), DJ Chuang (L2 Foundation), Rodney Cooper (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), Daryl DelHousaye (Phoenix Seminary), Jonathan Falwell (Thomas Road Baptist Churc), Eric Geiger (Christ Fellowship), Ed Gilbreath (Urban Ministries, Inc.), Major Mary Hammerly (Salvation Army), Alan Hirsch (Author/Activist), George Klippines (EFCA), Gerardo Marti (Davidson College), Miles McPherson (The Rock Church), Bruce Menning (RCA), Paul Louis Metzger (Multnomah Biblical Seminary), Larry Osborne (North Coast Church), Soong Chan Rah (North Park Theological Seminary), Ed Stetzer (LifeWay) and George Yancey (University of North Texas)
I was recently contacted by a univeristy professor looking to document the source and timing of the oft quoted statement, "Eleven o'clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week."
Most attribute this statement to Dr. Martin Luther King; however, Dr. Billy Graham can be quoted as having said it before Dr. King.
But did you know, the observation was made far earlier in American history, in fact even before the turn of the 20th century?
I have summarized my own research on the quote in the following footnote as found in chapter one of my first book, Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church. In the book, I mention the quote on page 4; the footnote itself can be found on page 186.
Should you have a desire or need to use this footnote in its entirety, or in part, please include the reference information listed below as part of your citation.
Here then is what I wrote and believe to be the best statement (currently) concerning the timing of the eleven' oclock observation:
"2. As to when and by whom this sentiment was ﬁrst observed, religious scholar
Martin Marty noted at the end of the nineteenth century,
“White Protestants, however, did little to build bonds with [Black
Protestant] churches, and racially there were at least two Americas or
Christianities. Doctrinal and practical similarity counted for little. . .
. Critics noted that the Sunday Protestant worship hour was the most
segregated time of the week. Indeed, the once righteous churches of the
North, after proclaiming triumph over the evils of slavery and the South, came
during the next century to adopt southern styles of regard for Blacks and
their churches, and there was little positive contact even within
denominational families” (John McManners, ed. The Oxford History of
Christianity [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990], 423)."
Mark DeYmaz, as cited in Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Leadership Network, 2007. p. 186.
Subscribers to Glue know that I am currently writing a new book on the subject of the multi-ethnic church. Harry Li, my colleague of nearly seven years, is also contributing to the book which is due out in April 2010. The book is being published by Leadership Network/Zondervan. It will address day to day obstacles that must be overcome in purusit of the multi-ethnic vision.
With the manuscript due to the publisher on May 1, my regular posts on Glue will be sporadic until then. In the meantime, I invite you to keep up with me daily on Twitter.
How multi-ethnic should your church staff be? Should churches have hiring quotas to ensure diversity? In the spring (2008) issue of Leadership Journal, Mark DeYmaz, pastor of Mosaic Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, discusses the importance of being intentional about diversity. In this podcast Skye Jethani, David Swanson, and Matt Tebbe discuss DeYmaz's article and what happened to all of the racial reconciliation rhetoric from the 90's. To listen, click on the mp3 entitled Ethnic Blends in the right column at the top of this blog.
So I'm here in Dallas, TX, having missed my flight at 6:55 p.m. and at this moment, standing by for a flight at 9:00 p.m. My host thought my flight was to leave at 7:30 p.m. and consequently, I arrived too late:-) Having flown in this morning for a Mosaix Global Network (MGN) board meeting, I then spoke to a select group of businessmen over lunch on behalf of the network. In the afternoon, the board spent time interviewing a potential future staff member and then, it was off to a great meal at PF Chang's ... too good of a meal, I guess! So again, I'm stuck; and it's about 7:00 p.m. CST.
Might as well make good use of the time:-)
Following the luncheon, one of the businessmen approached me and I sensed a strong urgency. "I know why I'm here today," he said, "And I'm sorry, it has nothing to do with MGN. Don;t get me wrong," he continued," I'm totally with you guys ... it's just that I need to ask you about your wife's book."
During my opening remarks, by way of introduction, I had mentioned Linda and the fact that she has authored a book, Mommy, Please Don't Cry, an anointed resource providing comfort and hope for those who grieve the loss of a child. And it was this seemingly passing comment, beyond all others, that had caught his attention.
He continued: "Mark, my wife and I have lost two children to miscarriage; one at twenty weeks, and we had to go through the whole still-birth process. Following that, one church group stood by us for two weeks; but then, when the real grief set in, they were no where to be found. Next, we went to speak to a local church pastor and my wife said to him, 'I just want to know one thing: where is my child?' But the pastor responded, 'What does it matter?'
Because of this, my wife left the church, i.e., organized religion altogether, and the two of us have drifted ever since - from God and from the church. I'm wondering, is your wife's book just what God might use to heal our broken hearts and restore her (our) confidence in God, the church?"
I assured him by faith that I know it would.
"In fact," I said, "the words are very simple, yet speak profoundly to the brokenhearted; the first page reads, 'Mommy, please don't cry; a beautiful angel carried me here.'"
And that's when his tears came; he paused to cry before regaining composure.
Through the rest of the conversation I assured him that his child is wonderfully alive in heaven and that this is not mere "feel-good" theology - my confidence is rooted in scripture. Yes, this theological certainty is based not only in hope of the goodness and character of God but, in fact, on multiple passages in the Bible from which God's mind and heart on the matter are revealed (see John MacArthur's messages entitled, The Salvation of Babies Who Die (I) I and The Salvation of Babies Who Die (II).
He then left encouraged determined to buy Linda's book, to share it with his wife and to contact me soon to let me know how it (the message) is received. Please say a word of prayer for this disenfranchised couple and for their return to the love and family of God.
You might think that such assurance concerning the eternal destiny of infants who die prematurely (from our perspective) is something believers would be anxious to provide. Yet there are some who cannot (or will not) allow themselves to offer such hope to grieving families, choosing rather to withhold it simply because no one verse clearly states what (in my view) God otherwise expects us to understand without need of further clarification. And I believe the time has come to reveal one such bottleneck that if, uncorked, could lead to the healing of thousands of souls still grieving and confused by insensitive, self-righteous church leaders such as I've described above. And I'll do so (I think) in next week's post.
In the meantime, who do you know that is desperate for answers, hope and healing? You might give them Linda's book and/or steer them to MacArthur on the subject.
Now, be honest. Does the word evoke a feeling of boredom within you, i.e., like the feeling you get on a rainy day when shades are drawn and all you want to do is sleep? Or perhaps, you feel a sense of guilt over the lack of enthusiasm you have for prayer, the lack of time you spend actually praying or in any other way, like a failure in this otherwise expected discipline of the Christian life so critical to discipleship, church development and leadership, etc.
If so, you are not alone. And that's why I recommend Daniel Henderson's work, Fresh Encounters: Experiencing Transformation Through United Worship-based Prayer (NavPress, 2004). This book deals personally, honestly and practically with the elephant in the room, i.e., a wide-spread, pastoral lack of experiential understanding when it comes to authentic, vibrant prayer. Henderson says, most people and pastors feel such things (as described above) because they have not been taught or exposed to anything other than "request-based prayer." In contrast, he recommends and describes the concept of "worship-based prayer," suggesting that a shift in focus will lead to a shift in attitude and, ultimately, a shift in practice that will benefit not only pastoral leadership, but entire congregations.
Most helpful for me was his analogy comparing a sailboat to a powerboat with reference to prayer. With this as a backdrop, he shares his own moment of awakening: "Lord, for so many years I've wanted to be a powerboat for you. As a pastor, I've kept my hand on the throttle of a man-made machine, enjoying the exhilaration of impressive speed. I've sliced through the choppy waters of church life impressing people with my dynamic ability to navigate and steer. Please give me the grace to learn to be a simple sailboat. Let this be the attitude of my heart. Let me set my sails everyday through prayer ... and wait for the wind of Your Spirit to blow."
Concluding this thought, he writes, "A powerboat advances on a predictable journey at the hands of the driver, propelled by man-made fuel. A sailboat is at the mercy of an unpredictable force and magnifies the beauty and energy of the wind. This example represents two different approaches to life and ministry," i.e., to prayer.
In the end, the book answers the question, "How can private and corporate prayer be transformed from an obligation to an oasis?" And if you're, like me, ready and needing to unfurl the sails, you'll benefit from this most helpful read!
Here's an informative, three-minute media piece featuring myself, Dr. George Yancey and U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, recently put together by Leadership Network for distribution among pastors, educators and church leaders throughout North America and beyond. In fact, I have already heard from ministry leaders in Australia and New Zealand!
Following your own review, I would greatly appreciate you forwarding the link to those within your own sphere of influence. And thanks in advance for doing so!
Admittedly, through nearly twenty-four years of full-time ministry, I have not often viewed prayer as something I enjoy. Of course, I know I am “supposed” to pray, but I struggle with a temperament compelled to action. Surely, I am not alone.
With a desire to advance in this critical area of my life/ministry, I have recently turned to Philip Yancey and his work, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference (Zondervan, 2006). Written by one who states that his “main qualification for writing about prayer is that I feel unqualified-and genuinely want to learn,” the book offers a refreshingly balanced assessment of the subject: of all that prayer is, is not and still can be for those, like me, who are not yet satisfied.
One section entitled “Guilty” has me thinking. There, Yancey reminds that God asked only two questions of Adam and Eve: Where are you? What is this you have done?
The first question, he notes, addresses our present reality. Are we attempting to hide, feeling exposed, suffering from guilt or shame, the hurt and rejection of others, or perhaps even angry with God due to unmet expectations, etc.?
The second question recalls the past and, if we are honest, provides an opportunity for proper assessment of what exactly has brought us here.
Having answered these questions before God, we are prepared to leave the garden (of prayer) newly clothed and rightly positioned for the journey ahead.
In other words, authentic prayer is that excerise through which I realign myself with God; through which I again admit, “Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.” Prayer compels me, therefore, to cease from striving to control, and to will myself to be controlled by the One who not only knows me best, but who is, truly, about what is best for me.
Perhaps prayer, then, is time to answer once again the question, “Do I really believe that?”