Ed Stetzer is doing a blog series on churches in transitional neighborhoods (part 1, part 2). He lays out three options (the second and third will be in upcoming posts, which I’m looking forward to seeing):
- congregational relocation to a context more in line with their congregation,
- intentional multicultural integration in one congregation, or
- multi-congregational partnership in one building.
Pembroke (long before I got here) decided to pursue a hybrid of the second and third options. We have four different language congregations on our campus (English, Haitian, Spanish, Korean), which is awesome. But something more amazing, I think, is that our English congregation is 55% black (with a large percentage being Caribbean), 35% white, and 10% Hispanic. By God’s grace, the cool thing is to see how closely this represents our community (the data is from the New York Times interactive demographic mapping site, which if you haven’t seen it, is suh-weet!):
One thing I love about our church is the beautiful tension of cultural and generational diversity we see every Sunday. It’s something only Jesus can create and only Jesus can sustain. We have not by any means figured out everything, but I’m grateful that we’re on the pathway to seeing God’s new humanity and Ephesians 2 as a reality, heaven breaking on earth.