RCA Document on Multiracial Churches and Leadership

15 Nov

I recently came across this document put out by the RCA (Reformed Church in America) entitled, Five-Fold Multi-Dimensional Test: Pressing Forward into Our Multiracial Future Freed from Racism.”  In this document, the RCA briefly touches on issues regarding the church, racial diversity and the opportunities before us to promote unity and overcome racism.  I was greatly encouraged by it, the test it puts forth, and the end for which it was written.

This document puts forth a five-dimensional test for churches and their leadership to consider regarding the makeup and ministries:

1. Population-How are churches identifying, reaching and embracing peoples from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds?

2. Participation-How are we, both as the church and as individuals who make up the Church, engaging with people from racial/ethnic backgrounds that differ from our own?  What does our engagement look like?

3. Power-To what degree are our churches’ leadership influenced by the perspectives of those of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds?  How are we seeking to promote diversity in leadership and how can we improve in doing so?

4. Pace-Setting-What new mission opportunities become apparent in light of the racial/ethnic diversity within our churches, and the gifts, burdens and perspectives they bring to them?

5. Purposeful Narrative-How do we know and honor the cultures and traditions of other peoples, and how do such cultures and traditions become a part of the church?  How do all these streams flow together into one story, moving forward together?

I think these are great questions to be asking and, by faith, engaged in not only by the local church, but also by para-church ministries and individual Christians (though this will look differently).  Ultimately, the RCA’s purpose in putting forth this test and these questions is to help us to “relate to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ” and to live in light of future realities which Christ will bring.  The document puts it well in saying:

“The population of the United States and Canada is diverse.  The world is at our doorsteps. For the sake of Christ’s kingdom, we must address unique mission opportunities with and among diverse populations..Sin sustains strife among races, ethnicities, cultures, languages, and genders, all of which are gifts God gives to humanity. But Christ, through his death and resurrection, overwhelms sin and is reconciling the world to himself. His coming kingdom will transcend all efforts which divide. Therefore, the church on earth is richer and stronger when it lives now in the light of that future reality.”

For the full document, click here.

 

Photo Credit: “Multicultural Mural” by Robert Lynch, Allison J. Rudoy, Bill Stamos and Dina Weiss (1992)

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