Response Magazine | Seattle Life | Student Life

Learning to build multiethnic, missional churches

As cities grow increasingly diverse, the Church and other Christian communities are called to witness to Christ’s love in multicultural and multiethnic surroundings.

Seattle Pacific Seminary students are partnering with Seattle-area churches to promote racial reconciliation (read more about that). The seminary also hosted a panel discussion over lunch in May for Seattle community members, students, pastors, and ministry leaders about how to lead diverse, missional churches.

At the event, which was also livestreamed, Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies Brenda Salter McNeil and Darrell Guder, professor emeritus of missional and ecumenical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, discussed ways to create diverse and missional churches in a conversation moderated by Associate Professor of Missiology David Leong. Attendees also split up into small groups to discuss best practices in multicultural leadership and how to engage neighborhoods and communities, seek truth and reconciliation, and approach missions work.

The Church has historically used the word missional to talk about going outside church walls to do work in other cultures, but it should really convey a more central idea, Guder says.

Missional defines the actual character and purpose of the Church,” he says. “Everything the Church does is about God’s mission.”

Facilitating multiethnic church communities is an integral part of that mission.

“When we seek to reclaim a biblical understanding of the people of God, we see that the people of God are made up of all the ethnicities of human culture,” Guder says. “We don’t attain our missional vocation until we are a multiethnic Church similar to the multiethnic world we are called to.”

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