The topic of racial unity within the church is an old one. Since before the civil rights movement to this year’s Lectureship, the church focuses on race relations.
Long discussions have been made about this topic, but for it to still be around there has been little change.
In many denominations, churches split according to culture and race. Within a denomination there may be a white church, black church and Hispanic church.
The main problem does not lie with the distinction of different churches though; the problem comes from one not knowing of another’s existence. Churches work independently from one another and wonder why a congregation lacks cultural balance.
Unity does not come from bringing everyone into the same church. Different churches within denominations exist because of other traditions and styles of worship. Trying to bring about unity by putting two or three churches together is not the answer for now. There need to be steps taken first for that to ever be possibility.
This was tried in Chapel when songs were sung in Spanish in an attempt to add culture. The response was unenthusiastic and unwelcome at best.
In a utopian world, complete cultural unity may be the solution, but the first steps need to be taken before you get there. Complete cultural unity comes when everyone can feel comfortable worshipping together.
If we truly call for cultural and racial unity in the church, then churches must start by communicating with other churches in their denomination. Churches can be so isolated that members may not be aware of a sister church’s existence. There should be a connection of brotherhood and community, not a divide of competition and rivalry.
Most people are comfortable with how and where they worship and may not be open to major change. But, a relationship with a church with some different culture can be healthy. Guest speakers and announcements of events outside a particular church can help foster the unity everyone talks about but doesn’t see.
The church structure does not need remodeling to accommodate these changes, if they are changes at all. What the church does need to do is open up to what is outside the church parking lot. Introducing new beliefs and ideas is not a bad thing. One of the best ways to grow spiritually is to be challenged.
No one is perfect enough to stay the same in their faith. Challenging that faith by mixing different cultures and ideas is a good way foster the growth of one’s faith.