One of the issues in the debate is the differences between planting a new church as a multi-racial (or cultural/ethnic church) or transitioning an existing mono-cultural church to a multi one. Most agree that, with some exceptions, transitioning is harder. Whatever the case may be, let me share the story of two multi-cultural churches, one planted and one transitioning.
Caprock Church in Arlington, Texas was planted by Francis Calimbahin in 2005. Francis says that his vision was to plant a church that would reach internationals. Granted, most of the initial outreach was to other Filipinos, since that is who Francis is. It was not too long, however, before people of all races and backgrounds started coming to Caprock, and not just internationals. Why? Was it because Arlington is an ethnically diverse city? Was it because Francis is a good expository preacher, who stays focused on the word? Was it because Francis and his family love people? Was it because the congregation was open to anyone and everyone? I imagine it was all of these.
Whatever the answer may be, Caprock is now a congregation of Asians, African-Americans, Anglos, and Hispanics, not only in attendance, but in leadership positions. I know. I have been there several times and have experienced vibrant multi-cultural worship, fellowship, and food!
Francis says: “Our church is intentional in reaching out to anyone regardless of ethnicity or race who is unsaved . . . we deliberately change our outreach strategies, methods, and approach . . . but the message remains the same.”
Want to learn more about how Francis and Caprock did it? Check out their website and contact info here http://www.caprockchurch.com/
Meadowridge Community Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX has been in existence since 1986. It has been through several pastors, some mergers, and a couple of name changes. Originally started on the predominately Anglo far south side of Fort Worth, by the turn of the 21st century the church found itself in a growing diverse area of town. The zip code for the church is now 46% White, 35% Black, and 7% Asian. About 22% are Hispanic. (Remember, race and ethnicity are two different things, so “labels” may overlap). Moreover, the church found itself in a plateaued, if not dying condition. What to do?
Enter Wedgewood Baptist Church. They sent Pastor Randal Lyle and a group of people over to help Meadowridge make a comeback. And they did . . . to a point. Randal was convinced, however, that God was leading the church to intentionally reflect the community in its racial and ethnic diversity. Easy, right? Well, no. It took lots of prayer, lots of explaining, lots of bridge building, and lots of changes in music style, organization, and relationship building. It took work and commitment. It took giving up a lot and moving out of the proverbial comfort zone.
And it worked. Today Meadowridge is a healthy, growing, and vibrant multi-racial fellowship. I had the privilege of visiting there last Sunday and was wowed by the genuine friendliness, love, affection, and respect people had toward each other and toward visitors. The place was full. The first worship song was “salsa” style. The sermon was outstanding. Black and White hugged each other, sat together, worshiped together, and serve the Lord together on a daily basis (yes, there really is a multi-racial staff).
Randal and his staff are eager to share their experience with other churches needing to be revitalized and willing to make the same transition. To learn more about Meadowridge and to get contact information, go to http://www.meadowridgechurch.org/. You can even watch a video that tells their full story.
Want to know what it takes to plant a multi-cultural church? Want to know what it takes to revitalize and transition a church to a vibrant multi-cultural ministry? Contact these two godly men and they will be glad to tell you.