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On Multi-Ethnic Worship

Mark DeYmaz, pastor of the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, is passionate about building a multi-ethnic and economically diverse church. In his book Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church, DeYmaz stresses the church—especially the American church—ought to reflect the many colors and cultures that dot our landscape. The diversity this requires is not an easy task. Nonetheless, the church ought to be "a place in which people are comfortable being uncomfortable." Christians must realize "that they are a part of something much bigger than themselves." DeYmaz goes on to share a story that shows the beauty—and complexity—of multi-ethnic worship:

Let's compare the multi-ethnic church to a multi-generational family. Assume for a moment that Grandma, who is alive and well, lives in the same house with you, your spouse, and several children of varying age. Now in your home, one tradition involves the family meal. Indeed, you expect the entire family to come to the table when dinner is served. However, one night you arrive home, only to be challenged in this regard.
On this occasion, Grandma has arrived early to help feed the baby while you help your spouse set the table. Soon your twelve-year-old twins enter the room arguing over television rights; nevertheless, they are seated and it is time to pray. At that moment, however, you realize someone is missing. Your teenage son is not at the table. Heading upstairs to see what's the matter, you find him playing a video game in his room; he is wearing headphones so as not to be disturbed.
"Why," you inquire, "are you not at the table? Didn't you hear Mom say it's time to eat?"
"Oh yeah," he replies, with just a touch of attitude. "I heard her. But I'm not coming to dinner tonight. Mom's serving meatloaf, and I don't like it."
Now let me ask you a question: If you were a parent, how would you respond?
No matter how many times I have asked that question, the answer always comes back the same. It's likely that you, too, would tell your son to [go to the table whether he likes it or not]. And in so doing, of course, you would teach him a most profound lesson: It's not about the food; it's about the family.
"Look, Son," you might say, "I don't care what we're eating tonight. You're coming to dinner because you're a part of this family. You see, it's not so much the meal but the memories we make that's important. And when you're not there, we miss out on all you contribute, and you miss out, too. Sure it's meatloaf tonight, but tomorrow we're having pizza!"
Of course, the next night you will not need to have the same talk with Grandma. In her maturity, she learned long ago to appreciate the blessing of life and love. And while her stomach will not allow her to eat the pizza, she will enjoy watching her grandchildren tear into it! Yes, in that moment, she will be thankful just to have a seat at the table, still to be alive and a part of the family.

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