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.
The Antioch cast returns to talk about the unique challenges of leading a multi-ethnic congregation in the post-election season of 2016.
Any group of people are sure to have a few differences, but in multi-ethnic churches, these differences of opinions sometimes run along racial or ethnic lines. This is a unique challenge as a leader in a diverse congregation. We each vote our conscious, and only get to vote for one person. While holding our personal opinions (perhaps strongly), we as leaders are called to represent a church of all people, a large number of whom we are called to love, even though the systemic outcomes of these votes may make our lives very difficult… and yet, we are called to worship together. Hard stuff. But the church has never been about taking shortcuts or gathering only with people “like us.” Let’s talk about it.
Dr. John Lee is a professor of Psychology at Michigan State University, therapist, and frequent lecturer and consultant on matters of race, ethnicity and Christian faith. In the second-part of this two-part interview, Dr. Lee concludes his discussion of the historical development of race-theory in the United States, illuminating how the western church both shaped and was shaped by these ideas. In conclusion, he reflects on ways in which members of a post-racial church might worship together.
Dr. John Lee is a professor of Psychology at Michigan State University, therapist, and frequent lecturer and consultant on matters of race, ethnicity and Christian faith. In this two-part interview, Dr. Lee discusses the historical development of race-theory in the United States, illuminating how the western church both shaped and was shaped by these ideas. In conclusion, he reflects on ways in which members of a post-racial church might worship together.
Sandra Maria Van Opstal is the author of numerous books, including The New Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World, which received Christianity Today’s 2017 Book of the Year Award of Merit for Church/Pastoral Leadership. She is a second-generation Latina, and the pastor at Grace and Peace Community in Chicago. Sandra is sought-after as a speaker, trainer and activist because of her passionate and incisive messages on Christianity and multi-ethnic worship. Sandra took time to do this interview about her life and her book at a coffee-shop amidst a busy week of trainings and consultations.
Recorded live at a group discussion for the Antioch Worship Leadership Trainings at Madison Church, Shelli Fynewever and Eric Nykamp talk about the notion of creating a culturally-hospitable worship environment. As a part of this panel discussion, Shelly and Eric introduce the work of the pastor and activist Sandra Maria Van Opstal and the humor of comedian (and YouTuber) Kev On Stage.
Members of the Antioch Podcast team gather around the microphones to share stories of their experiences leading worship outside of the worship tradition in which they were raised. This early episode of the podcast may exhibit some of the quirks of our early attempts at podcasting and not be of the quality that later episodes exhibit.
In this inaugural episode, the members of the Antioch team (Laura Pritchard, Attah Obande and Eric Nykamp) talk about the reason for making this podcast, as well as a bit of their personal backstories about how they each came to lead worship in the multi-ethnic congregations of Madison Church. This episode was recorded to help answer the frequently-asked questions about the podcast, summarized below:
The Antioch Podcast’s tagline is “Leading Worship Diversely Together”, which is a great way to summarize the topics our podcast covers. This is a podcast of conversations about:
Worship Leadership (e.g. worship leading skills, leadership development, theology of worship etc.)
The Unique Aspects of Worship Leadership in Ethnically-Diverse Congregations (e.g. non-expert stance, new standards of excellence, musical homes, inclusive decision-making power etc.)
Ethnic Diversity Within the Church (e.g. history of racism, histories and personal stories, building common origin-stories of the church)
Worshiping Together as One Diverse Body (e.g. discussions of current songs, music, art forms etc. which are relevant to ethnically-diverse congregations)
Congregational Unity Forged Through a Commitment to Biblical Justice (e.g. The core belief that if one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers with it.)
Who is on the podcast?
There are two kinds of podcast interviews that we create:
Cast Interviews. A circle of regular “cast members” composed of worship leaders from the Madison Church campuses regularly gather around the microphones to discuss topics related to worship leadership. You might want to think of these episodes as “One Topic: Many Speakers.”
Expert Interviews. We also record interviews with various writers, thinkers, theologians and worship leaders from both inside and outside of Madison Church whose thoughts, ideas, and wisdom has relevance with worship leaders in ethnically diverse congregations. You may think of these interviews as “One Speaker: Many Topics.”
Who is your target audience for the podcast?
There are two audiences we have in mind for every podcast. The primary audience is worship leaders at Madison Church. This podcast was initially created to help both novice and experienced worship leaders share their “best practices” for leading worship in the ethnically diverse congregations that make up Madison Church. The secondary audience, which is considerably larger, are other worship leaders outside of Madison Church who similarly want to grow in their skill and knowledge of how to lead worship well in their ethnically-diverse congregations as well.
Why have a podcast for worship leaders in ethnically diverse congregations? Isn’t worship leadership the same everywhere?
Every congregation certainly is unique, and knowing your congregation is an important part of tailoring worship designs to help each congregation uniquely experience and understand God more fully. However, many mono-ethnic congregations have shared understandings about what “excellence” is because of their shared cultural values. In multi-ethnic congregations, there are not as many shared cultural norms around appropriate use of time, volume of music, style of music, language of worship, ways of making decisions, interaction styles with authority figures, conflict resolution, what “following the Holy Spirit” means, uses of prayer, disclosure of personal information, and history of interactions with dominant ethnic groups … among others. Because there is not a common standard of excellence, worship leaders in diverse church settings need to develop skill sets that goes beyond what any worship leadership conference or training does when it comes from a mono-ethnic viewpoint. Most of the materials available on worship do so from a white-normative viewpoint, which is not generally applicable in a multi-ethnic setting.