Recently Collin Hansen of The Gospel Coalition posted his Top 10 Theology Stories of 2014 (http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/my-top-10-theology-stories-of-2014). He noted the role race relations have played the last six months, and that this issue will not move by the wayside soon. Since the death of Michael Brown several Evangelical voices have begun to speak and organize the Church for racial reconciliation in Christ (http://erlc.com/article/erlc-set-to-host-leadership-summit-on-the-gospel-and-racial-reconciliation) (http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/our-time-to-speak).
Renting to Peacemakers Bible Fellowship, a predominantly African-American congregation, The Master’s Community Church has a unique opportunity to foster racial unity. Our churches have participated together in worship and fellowship gatherings, sporadically. In 2015 we wish to change that…
PLAN: The first Sunday of each month in 2015 we will have combined worship gatherings with PBF at MCC.
GOAL: To enjoy fellowship around the Word and do our small part in fostering racial unity in Christ.
STRUCTURE AND SCHEDULE: Maybe the easiest way to think of this is that whoever is preaching is like a guest preacher in the other church. Whoever is doing music would be the ‘host church,’ and we will follow their order of service (prayer, announcements, sound team, et). We will begin by preaching through James, and the second service will pick-up right where the first left off. The January 4 schedule is as follows (then in February we would switch so that PBF is the host at 10:30 and MCC is responsible for the sermon; MCC hosts at 1:30 andPBF will provide the preacher):
Music/Host Church: MCC
*12:15-1:15 Lunch (pot-luck; everyone brings at least one dish to share, MCC takes care of drinks, plates, utensils, et.; both churches help with set-up and clean-up)
Music/Host Church: PBF
ATTENDANCE: We would encourage everyone to attend both worship gatherings, and enjoy lunch together.
OFFERING/TITHES: We would set out offering plates for each church in both services.
We may adjust things as we go, but I think this framework will get us started. Let me close with an exhortation from Danny Hays in From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race.
“The New Testament proclaims that in Christ believers form a new humanity. The old barrier of hostility and division between ethnic groups has been demolished by the Cross, and now all peoples of all groups are to be one in Christ. Our primary identity as humans is to be based on our union with Christ, and no longer based on traditional human sociological connections. Christians of other races are not just equal to us; they are joined to us. We are both part of the same body, united by the presence of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us both. We are also fellow heirs, brothers and sisters of the same family. While there may be practical and sociological reasons for creating and maintaining Churches that are ethnic specific (Black Churches, Hispanic Churches, White Churches, Korean Churches, etc.), this division into ethnically based worshipping communities is contrary to the imperatives of Paul. Furthermore, the exclusion from full participation in a worshipping community of someone of another race reflects such a disobedient attitude that it can only be classified as sin. The continued maintenance of racially divided Churches in the United States points only to the fact that a large majority of Christians in that country are probably identifying themselves more with their racial background, with all its cultural baggage, than they do with Christ and the gospel” (pp. 204-05).