Saturday, May 21, 2011

Church Diversity book review

I first heard of Scott Williams on Twitter (@ScottWilliams) as I loved reading his #fistbump in the morning...Did you know he created the Twitter #fistbump?  After reading more about him, I learned he served on staff as a key leader and campus pastor for LifeChurch.tv, one of the largest and most innovative churches in America.  Williams has written a fantastic new book entitled "Church Diversity:  Sunday, The Most Segregated Day of the Week".
I grew up in a predominantly white church and we had a "sister" church that was predominantly black.  While we would support each other's events, gospel meetings, etc. we worshiped at our own locations most Sundays.  I want you to understand that the church I grew up in is a wonderful church and I still love the "family of God" there to this very day but thankfully, they are now much more culturally diverse in one location today. When I read more of Williams "tweets" about his upcoming book, I knew this book would be real & personal to me because of the church environment I grew up in. Remember the children's song, "red & yellow, black & white they are precious in His sight"?  Well, Williams takes that line to an entirely new level in this book.  He addresses the topic of modern day churches being segregated by race and color.  Throughout the book, he pinpoints some of the most common "reasons" that churches are segregated by race and color including social groups, demographics of the community, location, etc.  In the end, you realize these are all just "excuses" for not doing what we are called to do. One part of the book that I think will probably be forever ingrained in my mind is a conversation Williams had with his friend Slim, about the church he attended.  He writes:  

My next question to Slim was this: “Is it a white church of a black church?” No sooner than the words came out of my mouth, Slim responded with words that I will never forget. He said “Young man, that is the stupidest question you can ever ask. It’s not a black church, it’s not a white church, it’s God’s church.”

Did you catch that?....It's GOD'S church!  Oh how I love that reminder!!  While most of us would like to believe that racial prejudice don't exist in our towns and churches, the underlying truth is that they do because we are all guilty of sometimes looking at things in black and white rather than looking at them through God's eyes.  Throughout the book, Williams references lots of Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as modern day church leaders such as Bill Hybels and Craig Groeschel.  I also loved his "Oreo" metaphor for the church.  I don't want to spoil it for you but have you ever stopped to consider how many different types of Oreo cookies there are available on the market?  Also, I think he hit the nail on the head with his formula for church leadership:  "No diversity on the staff + no diversity on the platform = no diversity in the church".  

I also enjoyed reading Chapter 6 where he shares stories from church pastors that "have overcome the fear of the scary proposition and huge commitment of church diversity".  There stories are inspiring, encouraging, show you how you can implement church diversity within your own congregation and that even the smallest of churches can diversify and grow.  As Williams says it's "more than a book - it's a movement of God, pastors, ministry leaders, volunteers, congregants & the community!"  This book will create a contagious excitement and zeal to diversify your church and give you the ability to successfully do that without pointing fingers.  This book is a must read for anyone in church leadership, missionaries, church staff or those inspired to begin making Sunday the most segregated diverse day of the week!

To tell you how passionate I am about Williams book and how much I support his writings and teachings in it, I had the opportunity to be a part of the book in a small way.  Through Twitter, I learned that Williams was looking for people who would personally endorse ethnic diversity within the Church. I was excited to be able to participate in this and you can see my personal endorsement in the picture below.  David & I look forward to the day when our current church & our current community become more diverse as well.  Remember, it's not a white/black church, Baptist/Methodist church, etc....it's GOD'S church folks!  So grab your copy of Church Diversity today!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for review purposes only from New Leaf Publishing Group. No monetary compensation was received.  

1 comment:

ape2016 said...

This is a very interesting topic. I remember as a child attending 'black churches' and my sister and I being the only white kids and when I was in Basic Training I chose the 'black' service. About 6 years ago I found a wonderfully diverse church that I attended for about a year, but unfortunately had to move. Since then, I live in a small town with many churches that are again divided by race and economics. There are the black churches, the mexican churches, even the korean church. Among the 'white' churches, there are the 'poor' and 'wealthy' churches. Of course, anyone is welcome at any of the churches, so it is obvious that sometimes we segregate ourselves.