Welcome to Episode 32 of the Antioch Podcast, a podcast about learning to lead in the multiethnic church.
Today’s episode is the second in a series of lectures given at Madison Church’s Square Campus in the spring of 2017 based on the book The Next Worship, by Sandra Maria Van Opstal. This talk, called “Is PB&J Ethnic Food?” is drawn from Chapter 2 of her book. If you have not read The Next Worship for yourself yet, we at the Antioch Podcast would strongly encourage you to purchase a copy to augment what you are hearing in this podcast series.
Now about today’s presenter.
Pastor James Lee was born and raised in Temple City, CA. He completed his undergraduate studies in History at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI). While at Calvin, James was fortunate enough to serve in a variety of capacities as a student leader, including being one of Calvin’s Worship Apprentices. Upon graduation, James received a call to serve as a Youth and Young Adults Minister at an RCA congregation in Roslyn Heights, NY. After a few years, James heard God call him to return to Grand Rapids, this time to study at Calvin Theological Seminary where he is slated to graduate with his Masters of Divinity in 2018. Today, James currently serves as the English Ministry pastor at Korean Grace CRC, and also serves as a worship mentor to Calvin College students. James loves to talk about and lead worship, mentor worship leaders, as well as explore innovative ways to bridge gaps between cultures and generations in worship.
James is happily married to his beautiful wife Jin Young. At the time of this recording, James and Jin were expecting their first child, who was born on October 8th of 2017.
This is the beginning of a six-part series of talks called “Worshiping Diversely Together” inspired by Sandra Maria Van Opstal’s recent book The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World. Van Opstal was our first guest on the podcast, way back in Episode 4. As we’ve said in earlier episodes, this podcast comes out of Madison Church, a 100+ year-old multiethnic congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We’ve had our share of struggles and success over the past century, and we would be the first to admit that we don’t have all the answers to how to worship well together as a successful multiethnic congregation. In fact, we’ve made some really big mistakes over the years, mistakes that we’ve learned from, and some that we still make. And as host of this podcast and Director of Worship Design at one of our campus locations, I want to personalize this: I’ve made my own share of mistakes in helping my congregational circle worship well together. At Madison Church, we don’t have all the answers, but we are committed to having ongoing conversations about how we can better follow scripture so that we can worship well together.
This is where Van Opstal’s book comes in. Last year, one of our former Worship Directors, Shelli Fynewever, read this book and felt that this book would be very helpful for us at Madison to read together. Many of our worship team members got copies of the book and read it. Over the ministry year, Shelli and her intern Ben Hoekman, put together this six-part lecture series for the Wednesday Night Out mid-week ministry at one of our campus locations. These talks were recorded, and we are releasing them now to you here.
I would encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, to purchase a copy of The Next Worship, so you can read some of the material that inspired each talk in the series. This episode, by Rev. Reggie Smith, covers Chapter 1: Tension at the Table.
Rev. Reggie Smith was previously featured on the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast in Episode 23. Rev. Smith is the former pastor of Roosevelt Park CRC and the present Director of the Office of Race Relations and the Office of Social Justice for the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). In addition, he works as Program Affiliate for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, is a regular contributing writer to the Grand Rapids Times, and is a husband and father. He and his family attend Madison Church’s Square Campus.
Let’s go now and listen to the episode.
Dianne Williams “Jesus Can Work It Out”
Jaou Santos – church during mass
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Grace Community Church) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evO6rejRSuI
“. . . in 2001, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a margin of 57% to 35%.
Since then, support for same-sex marriage has steadily grown. And today, support for same-sex marriage is at its highest point since Pew Research Center began polling on this issue. Based on polling in 2017, a majority of Americans (62%) support same-sex marriage, while 32% oppose it.”
When looking at how religious affiliation affects opinions on same-sex marriage, all religious groups in the United States are seeing an increase in approval rates for same-sex couples to marry. The report states that:
“Two-thirds of Catholics now support same-sex marriage, as do a similar share of white mainline Protestants (67% and 68% respectively).”
Support for same-sex marriage among black Protestants has now increased to 44% and white evangelical Protestants, while the lowest of all religious groups, even within this group support for same-sex marriage has grown from 27% in 2016 to 35% today.”
Now support for legally-recognized same-sex marriage does not necessarily carry over into church polity. There is considerable debate within the church in the United States, and around the world, about if or how individual people with same-sex attraction, and legally-married same-sex couples, are enfolded within congregations. Issues of scriptural interpretation, church governance, as well as cultural issues come into play with these discussions. Denominations, Bible Scholars, and Theologians continue to wrestle with these issues, often times coming to different conclusions, making it even more difficult for individual Christians to know who to take their cues from when relationships with real people are at stake.
Into this “great debate” around how the church responds to its members of the LGBTQ community step Laurie and Matt Krieg of Hole in My Heart Ministries (https://www.himhministries.com). I had an opportunity to visit with Laurie and Matt a week ago at Matt’s other office at Caring Well Counseling where they took a break from moving in furniture and assembling bookcases to talk with me about their ministry. Here is a little about Laurie and Matt from their website:
“Laurie Krieg is the founder and the executive director of Hole in my Heart Ministries, a compassionate teaching, writing, and mentoring ministry for those wrestling with issues related to sexuality. Laurie daily submits her broken same-sex sexuality to the lordship of Christ while married to her best friend (Matt Krieg), and comes alive sharing how and why she does that. Matt daily submits his broken heterosexual sexuality to the lordship of Christ while married to his best friend (Laurie), and comes alive sharing how and why he does that. Matt was a vital part of the launch of HIMH Ministries when it began in June 2015, and now works as a licensed professional counselor with Caring Well Counseling.
Laurie speaks and writes frequently including at HIMH’s Caring Well Conference, alongside Dr. Preston Sprinkle at the Q Conference, at numerous university settings include Wheaton College Chapel, has worked with Our Daily Bread’s Off the Page team, has been on Chris Fabry Live! and was featured on the DVD curriculum The Whole Sex Talk by the Pregnancy Resource Center. Laurie serves on the Board of Directors for The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender.”
All the links mentioned in this opening, including links to Hole In My Heart Ministries, can be found in the show notes for this episode. This is one interview in what will be an occasional topic of this podcast, as we talk about worshiping diversely together.
At the end of this episode, Laurie and Matt reference a pastoral paper from the Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender on low and high-buffer churches. These, and other resources from a traditional Biblical view on same-sex marriage, can be found through the link below:
Today’s episode is a recording of a conversation I had with Pastor Brad Knetsch in which he shares his perspective on some of the things he has learned leading a multi-ethnic church as a young, white, male pastor. Pastor Brad serves as the Pastor of Madison Church’s Ford Campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brad loves Jesus, the Gospel, and how the Holy Spirit is at work in his city. His passion is to fan into flame gifts-based, team-based vision, ministry, and evangelism.
Now, before we go any deeper into this episode, a few things need to be acknowledged.
This is a conversation between two white men about leading in multi-ethnic churches. It is quite likely that Pastor Brad and I may have similar blind-spots as we both grew up in the same church denomination, and have similar races, gender and ethnicity. My co-host partners have not been available to record with me lately, which ordinarily would help correct the kinds of biases which often happen when people who are quite similar talk. They do so much in terms of leadership in our church, and sometimes, that means that they cannot do everything that they would like to do. I have their blessing to do some of these interviews on my own.
Having their blessing matters to me. One of the values of the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast is to highlight the perspectives, stories, research, and insights which people of color bring to the multi-ethnic church. Too often, even in multi-ethnic churches, the voices of white people, and especially white men, are given a disproportionate place of privilege. In fact, many church conferences – even multiethnic church conferences – are still dominated by the voices of white men, a fact which should get anyone’s bias radar bleeping like crazy! So. . . if your bias radar is going off right now because two white guys are going to talk about race and leadership in the church, I hope you see this interview in the context of the broader range of interviews and discussion which this podcast has offered, and will continue to offer in the future.
But here is the thing: There are a lot of white men in leadership in multiethnic churches. And we as white guys come with our white male baggage as people who often have a lot of listening and learning to do before we can even be good partners with, let alone lead, people of color. Too often we white men assume that we already have needed skills and knowledge to lead, but overlook the more important, slower work of earning trust through long-term relationships. We don’t know how blind we really are to systemic racism.
Because of our blindness and complicity, we as white men have done the most damage, individually, collectively, and systemically to people of color in the church. This is both true historically and is still true today. We as white men benefit the most from the racism that saturates our culture. And into this sin-saturated mess . . . some of us white men are called to be leaders of multiethnic churches, and we lead imperfectly. Our leadership is continually affected by our sin-nature.
So, as you listen to this interview, I hope you hear Pastor Brad Knetsch as a leader who is learning while he leads. He doesn’t have all the answers. But, even though he is an imperfect leader, if you listen, you might get a glimpse of how white men in leadership in multiethnic churches may want to model their ministry to be more effective leaders in the increasingly browning context of the multiethnic church.
Today on the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast, we are going to explore the story of the African influences on Martin Luther, the Father of the Protestant Reformation. We will talk with Dr. David Daniels III, the Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. For those of you who want to read Dr. Daniel’s articles for yourself, scroll down to the links provided in the show notes for this episode, or head over to Antiochpodcast.org and check out the episode page.
On today’s episode, entitled “The Trauma of the Doctrine of Discovery”, we catch up with Christian speaker and Native American activist Mark Charles. In this conversation, Mark shares his thoughts about the intersectionality of his activism and his Christian faith, particularly around creating a common memory when it comes to the how colonization and Christianity impacted African-Americans and the indigenous nations of the Americas. Sprinkled throughout this conversation, Mark discusses several of his upcoming projects, including the 5th Annual “Would Jesus Eat Frybread” conference, the National Dialogue on Race, Gender and Class, as well as his thoughts on how Christians of all ethnicities may want to mark Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
On September 6, 2017, a fascinating study on religion in the United States was released. The study, conducted by PRRI (the Public Religion Research Institute), was entitled America’s Changing Religious Identity. The researchers, Daniel Cox, Ph.D., Robert P. Jones, Ph.D., open the report by saying:
The American religious landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation. White Christians, once the dominant religious group in the U.S., now account for fewer than half of all adults living in the country. Today, fewer than half of all states are majority white Christian. As recently as 2007, 39 states had majority white Christian populations. These are two of the major findings from this report, which is based on findings from PRRI’s 2016 American Values Atlas, the single largest survey of American religious and denominational identity ever conducted. This landmark report is based on a sample of more than 101,000 Americans from all 50 states and includes detailed information about their religious affiliation, denominational ties, political affiliation, and other important demographic attributes.
So… what does this mean for the multiethnic church?
Eric Nykamp, producer of the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast, considers four possible ways this demographic shift could affect governance, community life, and worship in multiethnic churches in the US. Drawing from historical examples and scripture, each of these potential scenarios is fleshed-out for how the multiethnic church in the United States could look in the coming decades.
Exactly one-hundred years ago, on October 6, civil-rights activist, worship leader, and philanthropist Fannie Lou Hamer was born. This episode celebrates the life of Fannie Lou, the “woman who sings the hymns,” whose life and music continue inspiring activists and worshipers alike in the 21st Century.
In the second half of the episode, we shine a spotlight on two podcasts who have episodes covering some of the same topics we routinely cover in the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast.
Pastor Joy Bonnema is the Campus pastor of Madison Church: North Campus – a four-year-old multiethnic church plant on the NE side of Grand Rapids, MI. She has a PhD. in Immunology from Mayo Graduate School. She taught biology at Calvin College for 10 years before transitioning into full-time parish ministry. She was ordained as a Commissioned Pastor in the Christian Reformed Church in 2008.
Prior to planting the North Campus of Madison Church, Pastor Joy was the Pastor of Congregational Life at the Square Campus of Madison Church. She is a highly-requested speaker and teacher speaking on topics including multi-ethnic ministry, leadership development, science and faith, Christian formation, and growing in life in the Holy Spirit. As my pastor, I am very happy to share this recent sermon from Madison North, entitled “Being the Church In Such A Time as This.” This message was partially inspired by, and an expansion on, the article by Pastor Reggie Smith shared in our last episode.
This episode of the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcasts is an interview with my friend, Pastor Reggie Smith. Pastor Reggie is the Director of the Offices of Race Relations and Social Justice for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. He advises churches, and organizations, on cross-cultural and urban ministry. He has written extensively through devotionals, articles, book reviews, and web articles as a senior pastor over the past 20 years. He has spoken widely as a guest preacher, seminary professor, and workshop leader. He also serves as a program affiliate with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in the areas of faith, work, and worship; universal design for worship; urban ministry; and justice issues. I had the opportunity to meet with Pastor Reggie in his office at the headquarters of the Christian Reformed Church of North America to talk with him about a recent article he published in the Grand Rapids Times entitled “Dear White West-Michigan People, ‘West Michigan Nice’ Is Not Working.”
This is a remix episode of the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast of Jemar Tisby’s presentation “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Christian Complicity with Racism and the Imperative for Immediate Action,” given at 1 Charleston 2017 and orriginally shared on the Pass the Mic Podcast on July 10th, 2017.
Jemar Tisby is a former school teacher and principal, and currently is a PhD student in History at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. While at RTS, Jemar was involved with the African American Leadership Initiative (AALI) at RTS Jackson. The AALI seeks to increase the number of African Americans at the seminary and prepare Christians of any race for African American, multi-ethnic, and urban ministry.
Jemar is perhaps best known as the president of the Reformed African American Network (RAAN). He writes and speaks about race, religion, and culture as president through RAAN as well as for many other prominent newspapers and magazines. He is also the co-host of the “Pass The Mic” podcast, put out by RAAN and Podastary Studios, which is where I first heard this message. Thank you to Jemar and “Pass the Mic” for giving us permission to share this message on the Antioch podcast.
Additional thanks goes out to Derek Winfield and Katt Tait, for the vocal tracks on this remix episode.
Eric Nykamp is the Director of Worship Design at Madison Church’s North Campus, the Director of the Antioch Worship Leadership Trainings for all of Madison Church’s campuses, and the producer of this podcast. He also is worship leader and speaker, giving talks on using visual art as a method of prayer, utilizing drum circles in worship, and worship leadership in multi-ethnic congregations. This talk, “Worshiping Whiteness, ” is a talk he recently gave as part of an ongoing worship leadership training to a majority-white congregation desiring to transition into a multi-ethnic church.
Many urban white churches realize that their congregation doesn’t reflect the diversity of the cities they reside in, and many of these churches desire to becomemulti-ethnic communities. However, moving from this desire to developing into an actual multi-ethnic community can be challenging, especially for churches with a track-record of being a “whites only” worship space in their city. Since most white people have little awareness of their white cultural norms, they mistakenly assume that what is normal for them is also the norm for all people … and are puzzled when their “outreach” or “welcome and enfolding” efforts fall flat with people of color. Due to this cultural blindspot, they are unable to recognize that some of their white cultural norms send the message that people of color with different norms of worship are not welcomed, unless the person of color is willing to assimilate.
Some majority-white churches realize that changing their worship norms will help them develop into the multi-ethnic space they desire to become … but find that they are stuck in making this happen. This talk, given at one such church, addresses how white Christians need to recognize and understand how white norms about worship may operate within their church. The presentation asks questions about what it would mean for white people to change their ways and give up power in order to become a multiethnic community. He concludes with a challenge to white Christians in multiethnic churches to love their brothers and sisters of color with Christ self-sacrificial love for the church, especially when it comes to issues of power and control in multiethnic churches.
Ekemini Uwan is a bold and insightful theologian, and perhaps now is best-known as one of the three co-hosts of the thought-provoking podcast “Truth’s Table”, which is highly recommended listening for every Antioch Podcast fan. It is a privilege to have been able to remix and share her talk “The Fall: How did we get here?”, a chapel talk which she gave in February of 2017 as a lament grounded in scripture on social injustice around the United States and the world at large. Since mutuality is a core foundation for multiethnic churches to worship well together, this timely lament informs the way we sensitively approach God as a community, interceding for our world in unity.
Ekemini received her Master of Divinity degree in 2016 from Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) in Philadelphia, PA. She is also the 2015 Greene Prize in Apologetics Award recipient. As one who is passionate about sound theology, Ekemini has a fierce commitment to biblical orthodoxy and its implications for issues pertaining to racial injustice, police brutality, and white supremacy.
Ekemini believes that theology can and does speak to the culture, social, and political issues of our present day. As a result, she often speaks, opines, and writes about the aforementioned for various online publications.
Her writings have been published in the Huffington Post Black Voices, Christianity Today, and The Reformed African American Network to name a few. Her insights have been quoted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mashable, and The Huffington Post Religion.
In her spare time, she enjoys discipling women, spending quality time with loved ones and working out. As a self-proclaimed part-time fashionista, she has a penchant for thrift shopping.
NOTE: The Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast team is planning on doing a full interview with Ekemini in an upcoming episode, but wanted to give you a taste of her cutting edge work and delivery style now to wet your appetite for this later interview.
Darrell Delaney, who asks to go by “Pastor Darrell”, is the Campus Pastor of Madison Church’s Square Campus. He has a deep love of learning, and holds degrees from many of the predominant colleges and seminaries in the Reformed tradition: Kuyper College, Calvin Seminary where he earned his Masters of Theology, and Western Theological Seminary where he earned his Masters of Divinity.
While at Calvin Seminary, Pastor Darrell wrote a research paper on the correlations between racial microaggressions / microtraumas and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among racial minorities in the USA. The idea of cultural forces being a source of trauma is one which peaked my curiosity, as on its face this proposition makes sense. Wanting to hear more, I reached out to Pastor Darrell, who graciously agreed to share his paper and do an interview with me on race and PTSD.
In this episode of the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast, Eric and Attah are joined by fellow Madison Church staff member, Jermale Eddie, to discuss the article “A Negro’s Guide to Surviving a White Cookout” by Sharhonda Knott Dawson. At first glance, this article may seem farfetched from any discussion about worship or community life in the multi-ethnic church … but just wait! The cast discusses cross cultural aspects of both preparing and sharing barbecue, with insightful parallels to gathering at the table of worship in multi-ethnic communities. There are many mouthwatering metaphors in this episode, so don’t listen on an empty stomach! Many thanks to Daddy Pete’s Barbecue in Grand Rapids, for providing ribs and sides for us at the beginning of the episode.
Joella Ranaivoson is the Associate Chaplain of Upper Class Students at Calvin College, her alma mater. She is a native of Madagascar, but was raised in Papua New Guinea, the US, and Kenya. The world, its cultures, and the global church are among her loves. She completed her Master of Divinity at Calvin Seminary (she’s clearly fond of Calvin), and she lives in Grand Rapids. Joella is a Do Justice columnist, the official blog of the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice. A member of Madison Church’s Square Campus, she graciously came in to talk with us about her most recent piece for Do Justice entitled “Let’s Talk About Self-Care.”
They were offended by him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and in his own house.”
– Matthew 13:57, from the World English Bible
To many, Mark Charles speaks with the voice of a modern-day prophet, bringing the unvarnished word of God to the Christian churches throughout the United States of America. Speaking boldly, his difficult message of national repentance from racism, paired with God’s promise of grace, draws strong responses from those who hear him speak. This episode of the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast is a recording of one of Mark’s most recent messages, given at Madison Church’s Ford Campus, in January 2017, shortly after President Trump took office – which he references in this sermon.
Mark Charles is a speaker, writer, and consultant who recently moved to Washington DC from the Navajo Reservation. The son of an American woman of Dutch heritage and a Navajo man, Mark seeks to understand the complexities of American history regarding race, culture, and faith in order to help forge a path of healing and reconciliation for the nation. He partners with numerous organizations to assist them in respectfully approaching, including, and working with native communities.
Mark serves as the Washington DC correspondent and regular columnist for Native News Online and is the author of the popular blog “Reflections from the Hogan.” Mark also serves on the board of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and consults with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW). He is a founding partner of a national conference for Native students called “Would Jesus Eat Frybread?”
Mark is also the founder and director of 5 Small Loaves, an organization that pursues racial conciliation through honest education, intentional conversation, and meaningful action. Under this organization, Mark has proposed the development of a Truth Commission to shed light into the injustices perpetrated against Native Americans.
Mark is currently writing a book about the Doctrine of Discovery along with Dr. Soong-Chan Rah. Mark is a friend of Madison Church, and frequently preaches or leads workshops with us, bringing his thought-provoking perspectives to our congregation’s ongoing discussions on being a multiethnic church body.
“Purge Me,” Urban Doxology
Nate Glasper is the highly-talented director of worship at Grace for the Nations Church and the director of the Gospel Choir at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. Nate also writes, records, and performs his own music in addition to attending Calvin Theological Seminary. As a sought-after choir director and worship leader, he was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about how worship has been instrumental for him in building bridges across racial and cultural divides that separate many people from one another.
Rev. Ricardo Tavarez is a comissioned pastor through Madison Church and is currently the church planting pastor of En Vivo Church in the Burton Heights neighborhood of Grand Rapids, MI. In this interview, Rev. Tavarez talks about his many bi-cultural childhood, planting a bilingual multiethnic church, and approaches to bilingual worship which En Vivo Church employs.
In this episode, Dr. John Lee returns to join the Antioch team around the table. to discuss the phrase “Institutional Reconciliation”. Our team invented the phrase “Institutional Reconciliation” to describe principals of governance and decision-making which stand in contrast to the often unexamined organizational processes which then keep Institutional Racism intact. If Socrates was right when he said “the unexamined life is not worth living”, by extension the unexamined multi-ethnic church may not be a place where people can live. Throughout the hour, the team delves into scriptural themes drawn from the prophets and the church in Antioch for ideas of how to model the Biblical, multi-ethnic “new communities” like the early churches of the New Testament. This round-table discussion is packed with humor and thoughtful discussion of what often are thorny issues that multi-ethnic churches in particular must skillfully learn to talk about.
The staff at Madison Church regularly share articles with each other about diversity and the church. These articles shape conversations about how the church is run and how decisions are made. One article that church staff have continued to talk about ran in the May 2016 issue of Christianity Today entitled “Can People of Color Really Make Themselves at Home?” by Kathy Tuan-Maclean.
The central premise of the article is that there is a difference between feeling like an invited guest, and being an owner, when it comes to having the power to impact change in an organization like a church. She uses the metaphor of being invited into a house, but not always sensing that she has the power to move the furniture, to explain what it feels like to be a racial minority in a multi-ethnic (but predominantly white) Christian organization. Like many multi-ethnic churches, Madison Church also continues to wrestle with examining what roles both scripture and our cultures play in how we make decisions, conduct worship services, and live life together as the body of Christ. These conversations often take place in the context of safe friendships where individuals can speak truthfully to one another. For this episode, the members of the Antioch cast gathered around the microphone to discuss this article as friends, and invite you to listen in.
Sam Salguero is a children’s worship leader at a small Spanish-speaking church in the West Michigan area. In this interview, she shares about the multi-ethnic worship culture of her Hispanic congregation, sharing about coritos, a genera of Latin worship music, which she describes as her congregation’s musical “sense of home.” Later, Sam describes how the Trump administration’s heightened focus on searching for and arresting illegal immigrants, is now affecting the children of her congregation and challenging their understanding of the sovereignty of God.
Joseph Kuilema and Christina Edmondson are scholars at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Joe is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Work, and Christina is the Dean for Intercultural Student Development at Calvin. In January 2017, Joe and Christina co-wrote an article entitled “Confronting White Privilege” for the Banner Magazine, the official magazine of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. In this interview, Joe and Christina share the backstory out of which this article arose, as well as their own expertise on how Christians can confront white privilege and structural racism which exists within many multi-ethnic churches.
Scott Huebl and Linda Naranjo-Huebl have been leading worship together since their teenage years in the Jesus People movement of the 1970’s. They came to Grand Rapids from their home in Denver at the turn of the millennium, and have continued leading worship at Madison Church’s Square, Ford, and North campuses. As a couple, they are passionate about social justice and draw their song selections from a broad variety of musical homes while actively developing worship leaders on their teams from each Madison campus. Scott and Linda excel at weaving scripture into their worship sets, as well as tell great stories. Scott and Linda are my personal friends, and I hope you come to enjoy them as well through this interview.
Every church has its own story, and our story at Madison Church starts in 1915. We celebrated our centennial in 2015, and our present Senior Pastor, Pastor David Beelen (known as “Pastor Dave” to most in the church), has been leading this church for nearly one-third of Madison’s existence. Before leaving on sabbatical, I had an opportunity to interview him, asking him to tell the story of Madison: how it came about in the first place and how it developed the way it did to become the multiethnic church it is today. In this interview, Pastor Dave traces the development of worship practices over the decades at the church, telling pieces of his own story along the way.