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
Available: 6th September 2011