Ethnic Blends: Mixing Diversity into Your Local Church
Authors: Mark DeYmaz and Harry Li
Paperback: 240 pages
This was another one of those books that when I saw the invitation to join the blog tour, I knew I had to sign up. The biggest reason for signing up for this blog tour? The church that I work at is trying to figure out how best to engage the ever changing community they are located in. This book looked like it would be a good resource for that conversation.
The Good: I liked the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I think they are a benefit to any church facing the conversation of what their strategy should be in their every changing community context.
The one chapter that really jumped out at me was chapter 3, Harvesting Tips From the Old Country: Overcoming the Theological Obstacles. What really jumped out at me in this chapter was the section on ‘Justice and Jesus’. Here, the authors make two points concerning justice in a multi-ethnic church: 1) Justice is not a program; and 2) Justice cannot be championed if Jesus is not championed. (94) As someone who is very interested in social justice, I found these two points to be very true of not just multi-ethnic churches, but of all churches that “do” social justice. The authors write, “Jesus without justice is insufficient, yet justice without Jesus is also insufficient.” (96)
I like that the authors did not sugar coat anything, to the point of putting their own failures into print. The authors stated, “[A]llow yourself the freedom to dream, experiment, fail, revise your dreams, and try again.” (127) One thing that pastors seem to struggle with, and something I have a difficult time with, is allowing dreams to fail. Whether that dream is a program begun 25 years ago or a new program begun by a new staff member, we all have difficulty allowing things to fail. Sometimes all we need is permission to let things fail and die. I think that the authors have given pastor everywhere permission to let something fail. But note, it’s fail with a caveat. It’s not fail and walk away. It’s fail and go back to the drawing board, learn from your mistakes and try again.
Scattered throughout the book are profiles of churches that do multi-ethnic ministry to some extent. I found these to be encouraging and uplifting. It’s nice to know you’re not alone out there if you’re pushing to make changes in your congregations DNA.
There are fifteen pages of Appendix that includes Mosaic’s Vision, Mission and Developmental Strategy. I appreciate that level of transparency.
The Bad: There was nothing in the book I would consider bad.
The Ugly: None
Overall, I found this book to be extremely useful for the discussion that is going on in my own church. It opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and will hopefully prove to be an invaluable resource as my congregation moves forward in this conversation. This book is a must read for any church that finds itself in a changing community context and is wondering what to do next, even if it is not planning on going the route of the multi-ethnic congregation.
I received this book free from Zondervan as a part of the Ethnic Blends Blog Tour. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”