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Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church: Mandate, Commitments and Practices of a Diverse Congregation Hardcover – October 26, 2007
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Q&A with Mark DeYmaz, Author of Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church
Q. What is the big idea of your book?
A. Local churches should increasingly embrace ethnic and economic diversity for the sake of the Gospel.
Q. What prompted you to write your book?
A. An increasingly diverse and cynical society is no longer finding credible the message of God's love for all people as preached from segregated pulpits and pews. For too long segregation along the lines of race and class has been promoted as a strategy for planting, growing and developing local churches. While pragmatic, this strategy is not biblical and unintentionally undermines the very Gospel we preach.
Q. What is the most challenging concept in your book?
A. That the multi-ethnic church is not optional, but biblically mandated in the New Testament for the sake of the Gospel: envisioned by Christ (John 17:20-23); described by Luke (Acts 11:19-27); prescribed by Paul (Ephesians).
Q. How does your book improve leaders' lives?
A. By challenging and correcting long-held, erroneous, assumptions concerning the segregation of the local church, this book equips and empowers leaders to be more biblical and relevant in the 21st century for the sake of the Gospel.
Q. What's your favorite sentence/quote from your book?
A. "Jesus taught us to pray, 'Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.' So if the kingdom of heaven is not segregated, then why on earth is the local church?"
Q. If leaders only have time to read one chapter of your book right now, which one would you recommend and why?
A. Chapter 3: The Pauline Mystery. This chapter will completely rework the reader's understanding of Paul's letter to the Ephesians in an exegetically sound way.
Q. Step out of your role as author -- if you were recommending your book to a friend, what would you tell them?
A. This book will help you understand and articulate what it is you've been feeling for a long time: that diverse people ought to be able to walk, work, and worship God together as one in and through the local church.
“The Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas is influencing a systemic rethinking of things and setting an example that few churches to date have been willing to address.”--From the preface byU.S. Senator Mark L. Pryor
“We cannot ignore the topic of multi-ethnic churches as we live in a multi-ethnic world. Mark DeYmaz writes [with] practical insight, not from theory but from leading an extremely strategic multi-ethnic church that is paving the way for so many others.”
--Dan Kimball, senior pastor, Vintage Faith Church, Santa Cruz, California, and author, They Like Jesus But Not the Church
“Mark DeYmaz has provided the body of Christ with the answer to one of its most embarrassing dilemmas: Sunday segregation. Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church is a very biblical plan for church leaders committed to building a church that looks like the world in which they minister.”--Miles McPherson, senior pastor, The Rock Church, San Diego, California
“This book unpacks theological and practical principles for local churches interested in truly serving their neighboring communities in an increasingly diverse America. It paves the way for the future of the local church and the next generations of its leaders.”--D. J. Chuang, director, Asian American Church Research at Leadership Network and executive director at L2 Foundation
“Drawing from his invaluable experience as a multi-ethnic church pastor, Mark DeYmaz writes with keen practical insight and foresight. For those committed to building multi-ethnic churches for Christ in an increasingly diverse culture, this is a must read.”--Dr. Paul Louis Metzger, professor, Christian Theology and Theology of Culture, Multnomah Biblical Seminary, Portland, Oregon
“Here’s the book many of us have been looking for—a book that lays a solid biblical foundation for the multi-ethnic church and includes the building plans! Whether seeking to plant a multi-ethnic church or transform a homogenous congregation, this book will inspire and show the way.”--Jonathan Seda,senior pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Dover, Delaware
Top customer reviews
According to DeYmaz, a healthy multi-ethnic church has seven core commitments. These are: embrace dependence; take intentional steps; empower diverse leadership; develop cross-cultural relationships; pursue cross-cultural competence; promote a spirit of inclusion; and mobilise for impact. Many of the larger churches in Melbourne including Syndal Baptist Church have been heading down the multi-ethnic path for some years, with Chinese and other Asian-language congregations; however DeYmaz's preferred model involves fully integrated multi-lingual worship services, rather than separate services in separate languages.
When a church makes a deliberate choice to be multi-ethnic, it is definitely not making the easiest available choice. It needs to be ready for plenty of conflict and intercultural misunderstanding. It won't necessarily be the fastest growing church in town, and it might scare away some people. But a multi-ethnic church does seem to be more reflective of God's plan for the church than a mono-ethnic church.
His points go beyond ethnicity, but are poignant for the health of any church.
Part 1 is a must-read as it focuses on where multi-ethnicity is stressed in the Bible. Part 2 has more practical applications which is a great starting point. Part 3 is the weakest part of the book, sharing stories of churches where the practical applications of part two are played out. Though the stories are unique, they get a bit redundant.
All in all, very good read.
Mark DeYmaz has the credentials to write this book: pastor of the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, a multi-ethnic and economically diverse church where men and women from more than thirty nations currently worship God together. And he writes it unlike so much of what has recently been penned on the topic. He artfully integrates theory/theology and methodology/practice.
He unites these twin themes around seven core commitments of a multi-ethnic church: embrace dependence, take intentional steps, empower diverse leadership, develop cross-cultural relationships, pursue cross-cultural competence, promote a spirit of inclusion, and mobilize for impact.
Pastor Miles McPherson has said it well. "Mark DeYmaz has provided the body of Christ with the answer to one of its most embarrassing dilemmas: Sunday segregation. Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church is a very biblical plan for church leaders committed to building a church that looks like the world in which they minister."
Church leaders already along the path and those no where yet near the path all need this book. It's challenging exhortations, biblical explanations, and practical implementations are invaluable.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of
Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction.