Being a part of a predominantly white church (PWC) as a minority has multiple benefits and minorities should not feel remorse for it. As an African-American believer who has been a part of multiple predominantly white churches I have discovered people view you differently when you tell them you don’t go to a “black church.” On multiple occasions, I have had my “blackness” put on trial by my family and friends. I have heard multiple statements directed towards me that implied I would be bringing a white girl home (I did and married her) and people talking to me like I don’t belong to the African-American community anymore. These experiences made me feel remorse around other African-Americans sometimes because I felt like I abandoned my culture because I didn’t worship with an African-American congregation. However, I have discovered that being a part of a PWC should not lead to remorse but to pride. It should lead to pride because being a part of a PWC helps minorities get a preview of heaven, sharpen their theology of worship, and understand the struggle of the early church.
A Window Into Heaven
Minorities who become a part of a PWC experience what it is like to worship consistently with brothers and sister in Christ that are different. On earth, we are separated by tribes, nations, and tongues, which causes us to be inclined to worship with individuals who share our cultural background. I admit to having this inclination as well, which I don’t necessarily think is sinful. When I moved to New Orleans I remember thinking “It would be much easier for me if I just join a black church and worship there.” However, I remember a conversation with a friend, which reminded me of the beauty of diversity. In addition, he said, “Most people cry for diverse churches, but they continue to go back to homogenous congregations.” Should we wait for Revelation 7:9 to worship consistently with brothers and sisters in Christ who are different from us? Heaven will consist of people from all nations, tribes, and tongues worshipping the Triune God together consistently. A benefit of being a part of a PWC is that it is a rehearsal for heaven.
Theology of Worship is Sharpened
Minorities that worship consistently with a PWC are presented with a number of questions about worship, which results in them maturing in their theology of worship. When you become a part of a church where the worship service is different from what you grew up hearing then you start pondering several things. I began to ponder how much of worship services are cultural and how much of it is biblical. Once an individual begins to ask these question they can develop a more accurate theology and practice of worship. In addition, the answers to these questions will help individuals dispel the idea that worship is limited to certain genres of music. If a person was a part of a charismatic church like I was, they will begin to ask whether “whooping” is biblical or cultural. However, an individual from a different background may begin to ask questions like how often should communion be taken or what should the altar call consist of. Discovering the answers to these questions helped me to understand that worship transcends preaching styles, musical styles, and worship expressions. Minorities have the opportunity to understand what it means to “worship in spirit and in truth.”
Learn a New Culture Together
Culture is an important aspect of a person’s life and it should be acknowledged. As believers, our primary culture is the Christian culture, which is the culture that defines our secondary culture. We don’t totally obliterate our secondary culture when we join a church in which we are a minority. When the Lord saved us he gave us a new way of living, new values, and new a purpose for living. In short, the Lord gave us a new culture. Despite our secondary culture, we all struggle with sin, we all are being conformed into the image of Christ, and we all have one gospel. The fact is we all start the journey of life as heathens, and we have to learn to be holy through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have to learn how to live the new lifestyle because nobody that becomes a part of the Christain culture is sinless.
I have built many relationships with people who come from different cultures and as we talk we both learn about the Christian culture together. We discuss the uniqueness of our secondary cultures and how they interpret the Bible, which defines how they worship. Through our conversations, we acknowledge our differences and how we are united under that fact we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. In addition, we are united under the fact that sin causes us to fail to serve Jesus daily. When you join a church in which you are a minority you learn more about how to put aside cultural differences and walk with Jesus along aside your fellow Christians. You learn how Jews and Gentiles walked through life together in the early church, which wasn’t always easy. There were conflicts in the early church such as the Jews thought the Gentiles should be more Jewish. However, Jew and Gentile alike must renew their minds so they don’t follow the ways of the world, but follow Christ, the one who gave us a new culture.
I am not advocating for people to jettison from their home church and to have a sort of spiritual minority experience. In addition, I am aware these benefits are not bound to minorities joining a PWC. I acknowledge that it is a sacrifice to be a minority in a PWC, however, there are a number of benefits. Remember the words of Paul:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
Feel free to contribute to the discussion.
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