“The Integrated Church”

Posted in Book reviews on August 31st, 2011 by Linda – 2 Comments

The Authentic Church book coverThe Integrated Church: Authentic Multicultural Ministry
by Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts

I remember the first time I walked into an all-white church and felt unwelcome. An usher approached me as I began my stroll down the plush red carpet. He leaned close and told me, in a quiet helpful tone,  that I might feel more comfortable in the ‘black’ church across the way. That was in Raleigh, North Carolina, 1990. That was not of God. That was racism.

Thankfully today, those days of blatant racism in the church are are fewer and farther apart. But Christians are still hanging out in the comfort zones. I’m grateful for women like Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts who don’t tolerate comfy Christianity. In her new book, The Integrated Church, Tracey uses an easy-to-read, conversational style to challenge those who are comfortable with mono-cultural church.

The Integrated Church is practical and real, offering insights into how any church can have an active and sustainable multicultural ministry. This is evident in the four elements for building a multicultural strategy that Tracey explores. Pastors and lay people alike will find The Integrated Church helpful. Tracey’s insights into multicultural ministry are interwoven with quotes, anecdotes, and scriptures.

I think many church-going folk expect church to be comfortable and easy, tied up in a tidy package of assimilated sameness. That makes for good cinema but not real Jesus-ordained church. As Tracey points out, ministry building involves conflict. In fact, conflict is inevitable (albeit combat is optional).

“Implementing a multicultural strategy must be gradual and there must be an anticipation of the challenges that are bound to occur.”

She goes on to illustrate the crucial roles that the multicultural leadership must play in driving the formation of the ministry. Prayer, she adds, is also key in the journey to form authentic multicultural ministry.

I found that many of the principles in the book were things I’d heard, read, or written before. Blame that on too many racial reconciliation ministry books on my shelf, I suppose. All in all, The Integrated Church is worth a read. A good resource for group and individual study exploring multicultural ministry for the first time.

Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts is a writer, educator, and consultant who speaks nationally on subjects related to identity, faith, and purpose within the multicultural context. With wit and transparency, the author of the upcoming book, The Integrated Church: Authentic Multicultural Ministry, effectively challenges church leaders and laypersons who seek authenticity and relevance in ministry. A Louisville, KY native, Lewis-Giggetts resides in a suburb of Philadelphia with her husband, William.

The Integrated Church is available at http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/bhol/index.jsp

Visit Tracey Online
ISBN: 9780834127241
Format: Paperback
Available: 6th September 2011

“Oneness Embraced”

Posted in Book reviews, Racial Reconciliation, Reading for Reconciliation, Social Justice on August 30th, 2011 by Linda – 4 Comments

Oneness Embraced book coverOneness Embraced: Through The Eyes of Tony Evans

The cover of Oneness Embraced  positions the book as a fresh look at reconciliation, the kingdom, and justice. The book, written by Dr. Tony Evans senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, is indeed a fresh look at these topics but it is so much more. Within its pages, Dr. Evans has produced a book true to his customary hard-hitting, deep-thinking style.

In the mid 1990s I heard Dr. Evans speak on racial reconciliation to a standing-room-only crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina. That was back when racial reconciliation was all church folks could talk about. What Dr. Evans shared that night was inspirational and radical. Standing shoulder to shoulder with thousands of others, I knew that God had used this man to speak directly to me about my role in bridge building and social justice. Oneness Embraced skillfully presents yet another layer of the message he delivered that night so many years ago.

In what amounts to a satisfying mixture of theological discourse, church history, and biography, Evans shows a more radical approach to reconciliation. Dr. Evans’s presentation of black evangelicalism is eye opening to me as a black woman. But Evans doesn’t stop there. He uses Oneness Embraced to speak to Christians of all hues and creeds about empowerment, personal responsibility, and the church’s mission in society. The examples from his own life and current events drive his points home.

“The solution to our problems won’t land on Air Force One, nor does God ride the backs of either donkeys or elephants. To put it another way, Christians should be representing God’s kingdom by caring for people across racial, gender, political, and class lines so well that the government experts come to us to find out how we do it.”

Evans is quick to point out that although racial oneness is crucial, it is not the end game. The ultimate goal of all our Christian earthly work–the evangelism, missions work, racial reconciliation efforts, social justice struggles–is to glorify our Reconciler and King. Embracing oneness in its fullest is only one way to help believers reach that ultimate goal.

Oneness Embraced: Through The Eyes of Tony Evans is not a quick easy read, but it is more than worthwhile. I recommend it to those who are student/practitioners of biblical racial reconciliation. Get ready to embrace oneness for the sake of the Kingdom.