This is where we find today’s guest, a missionary from Nigeria to America, Pastor John Eigege. The gentrifying of Houston’s third ward is rapidly changing the neighborhood he has felt called by God to serve, a neighborhood whose historic significance to the city of Houston is in danger of being demolished, its residents displaced, and its story forgotten. He has written a series of three thought-provoking articles for the Office of Social Justice of the Christian Reformed Church entitled ‘”The Gospel of Gentrification” (http://dojustice.crcna.org/article/gospel-gentrification ) in response to what he is seeing in his mission field: Houston’s Third Ward in Texas. I met John a number of years ago through some mutual friends, and wanted to catch up to him and hear his story after reading what he wrote.
So I invite you now to listen in on our conversation as Pastor John Eigege and I talk about how gentrification is affecting his ministry to the people of Houston’s Third Ward as a missionary Chaplain through the Christian Reformed Church.
This present moment in America will likely be remembered historically for the many social justice movements springing up in response to the societal ills presently plaguing this nation. Black Lives Matter arose in response to the numerous documented incidents of police violence against people of color. The recent March for Our Lives came about as teens respond to the ongoing plague of school shootings across the United States. The Women’s March, #TimesUp and the #MeToo movement have brought the culture of sexual harassment and abuse into the light, as brave women (and a few men) publicly disclose their stories of being raped and sexually abused by powerful men in the public eye.
The #ChurchToo movement has also made it clear that these instances of abuse go far beyond the news headlines of the prior decades where there were scandalous accusation of priests abusing children under the cover of the Catholic church. No corner of the Christian world, it seems, is free from the stain of this sin. Likely, there are numerous stories yet to be told. As a therapist, I’ve heard many. Many churches have cultures where the stories of women are discredited, or where women are encouraged to stay in abusive situations. Other churches acknowledge the sin of sexual abuse, but emphasize forgiving the abuser more than seeking justice for the abused. Christians need to examine their hearts, church cultures, and church systems and make the needed changes in response to this cultural moment. And… there likely will be some people who will be swept up and falsely accused of sexual misconduct, but will be unable to document their innocence. These stories keep coming, and clearly the church in America is no different than the rest of society in having denied, ignored, or under-responded to allegations of sexual misconduct.
This is nothing new. Both the Old and New Testaments are strewn with stories of sexual brokenness, though typically these stories are also “under-reported” in the pages of children’s story Bibles – the same place where the typical Christian adult’s Biblical literacy often ends. All Christians, those leading churches, and those in the pews, are affected. Fortunately, our God is neither surprised nor unequipped to help us address this most historical and still contemporary problem.
Today’s episode comes to you from two prior guests of the Antioch Podcast: Pastor Joy Bonnema and Matt Krieg. This is a recording of a sermon they presented together at Madison Church’s North Campus entitled “Resurrection Matters for Healthy Sexuality.” This is an excellent example of how to talk about this most delicate of topics scripturally and directly, without running the risk of being graphic or overly descriptive. At a time when so many leaders are falling due to allegations of sexual abuse, this message is all the more timely.
I joined my multiethnic church in 1990 at the invitation of my high-school art teacher. As an angst- filled teen, she told me that her church was a “good place for hurting people.” As a result, I found a lot of healing, in particular from being mentored by a number of African-American worship leaders whose transparency and music helped me discover a music that spoke truth with a level of emotion that underscored the power of the lyrics which words on a page could not achieve alone. For me as a white person, being invited to discover the gospel music tradition which married profound scriptural truth with palpable delivery gave me a place in which to pour out my heart to a God who gave me hope while walking with me when I didn’t know if I could take one more step. Being part of a multiethnic congregation helped me find healing.
But this isn’t the case for everyone. In the 1990’s through the turn of the millennium, the phrases “celebrating diversity” an “racial-reconciliation” became familiar terms in larger, white churches, popularized by mass movements such as Promise Keepers which touted cross-racial friendships as a goal for the faithful. I recall reading the 2005 Christianity Today article entitled “All Churches Should Be Multiracial” and thinking to myself (with a twist of pride) that my church were a little ahead of the curve on this issue as we had been a multiethnic congregation since the 1970’s. But the images of racial harmony in multiethnic churches began to be tested in the second decade of the 21st century. In 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot while walking through a neighborhood while eating candy and wearing a hooded sweatshirt by someone who thought he looked suspicious. While not an isolated case, the drumbeat of racial injustice arose again in 2014 with protests erupting in the Ferguson neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri following the police shooting of Michael Brown. The shootings of black and brown people by the police were frequently on the news and social media, leading the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Questions of racism and injustice were in the news and a topic of regular discussion for all Americans, including those in multiethnic churches.
In 2016, 81% of white Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, a candidate who regularly espoused policies and used language which at best could be considered racially insensitive, and at worst publicly affirmed the similar expressions of overtly racist organizations. Following the 2016 election and accelerating after the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, many of evangelical megachurches which touted multiracial harmony a decade earlier now began to see the ranks of the people of color in their congregation thin. This was expertly expressed in the 2018 article in the New York Times titled “ A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches”.
Retonia Brasier is one such person. I got to know Retonia in a private facebook group for Christians passionate about antiracism and Christianity. After eventually deciding to connect by phone, and hearing her story, I asked Retonia if she would be willing to share her story on the podcast.
We are intentionally keeping the identity of her now former church private, because this is not a story being told to “get back” at any people or institution in particular. Because this story has resonance around the country, Retonia is sharing her story as an example of how multiethnic churches who are unwilling or do not know how to talk about racism actually harm people in the church by allowing the sin of racism rooted in white supremacy to remain intact. This exodus of people of color from predominantly white churches is happening all over the United States as there is a reawakening among many people that the church, that God cares not just about saving us from our individual sin, but also to rid the world of the systemic sins of society at large.
Let’s go now and hear Retonia Brasier’s story.
It is my pleasure to welcome back Rev. Ricardo Tavárez to the Antioch Podcast. Ricardo is an ordained Minister of the Word in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He is the pastor of En Vivo Church, a growing multi-ethnic and bilingual (Spanish/English) congregation in the Burton Heights neighborhood of Grand Rapids. He was a previous guest on the podcast way back in Episode 14 where he talked about bilingual worship at En Vivo. In this talk, Rev. Ricardo talks about designing worship, based in part on Chapter 5 of Sandra Maria Van Opstal’s book “The Next Worship”. You can connect with Ricardo and En Vivo Church by following the link in the show notes of this episode.
It is a great honor today to introduce today’s presenter, Laura Pritchard. Laura is presently the Director of Multicultural Living at Madison Church’s Square Campus. Among her many duties is oversight of the work of the anti-racism team, outreach to the Madison Square neighborhood, and leading worship at Madison Church’s Square Campus. She has mentored numerous worship leaders over the years, modeling by example how to love a multiethnic congregation by learning and singing the worship songs of many people groups while continually striving to do so with increasing excellence. Laura is an experienced anti-racism trainer, facilitating “Understanding Racism” 2.5-day workshops both at Madison Church and other churches around Michigan. For decades Laura has been a long-serving member of Madison Church’s leadership team, offering a voice of wisdom and often challenging the church to continually grow in its desire to be a more fully reconciled body that actively works to dismantle systemic racism. She knows Madison Church is not a perfect church and yet has stayed committed to the mission of this body in spite of numerous hurts, misunderstandings, and difficult periods. She also is a regular panelist on the Antioch Podcast, and has been a guest on the Truth’s Table podcast. Above all else, Laura is a faithful servant of God, walking out what she believes by her faithfulness to this imperfect body of multiethnic believes at Madison Church.
On a personal note, Laura has deeply impacted my own life. I met Laura in 1992 through Madison’s Gospel Choir, and our relationship continued through serval worship teams in the ensuing decades. Laura’s commitment to truth-telling and transparency about her faith and her struggles, including struggles about race, deeply shaped me. Her voice and passion as a singer inspired me and helped to shape me as a gospel musician. I have been fortunate to know and be sharpened by my friend, Laura Pritchard.
Let’s go now to hear Laura give this presentation, entitled “Hosting Well.”
This is a link to the article by Daniel Jose’ Camacho briefly mentioned in this presentation:
This latest series of the Antioch podcast is called Worshiping Diversely Together, exploring the themes of multicultural leadership in worship from Sandra Maria Van Opstal’s book “The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World” . For those of you following this series in the book, today’s lecture is based on chapter 7, which talks about the importance of acknowledging our elders, intentionality, and patience as skills multiethnic leaders need to have in leading multiethnic congregations. Author and speaker Kinita Schripsema shares her perspectives on these skills in today’s talk.
Kinita is a Jesus lover, wife, and mother to four children. She was born in India and has lived cross-culturally since the age of 5 between Canada and the U.S.A. As a published author and speaker, Kinita shares, with passion, her love for Jesus and her desire to see other believers grow in their faith in the spaces and places God has called them to be.
In this talk, titled “Understanding Culture”, Kinita gives an overview of her Understanding Culture workshop, which she gives in a longer format to groups and churches in the US and Canada. Links to Kinita, her book and talks are provided here in the shownotes for this episode.
Welcome to Episode 33 of the Antioch Podcast, a podcast about learning to lead in the multiethnic church. Today we return to our series on Sandra Maria VanOpstal’s book The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World. For those of you who have already purchased a copy of The Next Worship, you may have picked up on this already. If you haven’t purchased a copy of Sandra Maria Van Opstal’s book, you can do so here by clicking on the link provided in the shownotes of this episode.
Leading the discussion of Chapter three – Food Fights: Reconciliation in Worship, is Rev. Shannon Jammal-Hollemans. Shannon is a Collaborative Program Developer for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She serves in the Offices of Faith Formation, Social Justice and Race Relations. She is a married mother of three with a Master of Divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary. Shannon was ordained by Oakdale Park CRC for her work with the denomination in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Church’s One Foundation
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow
FYI í Today’s episode is powered by vibranium from our branch offices in Wakanda. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, its because you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, so . . . make that a priority whether you are a Wakandan, a colonizer, or none of the above . And if you want to hear three wonderful discussions of the film, check out the Black Panther and Wakanda Episodes from three of my favorite podcasts: Pass the Mic, Truth’s Table, and We Talk Different for three thoughtful discussions of this blockbuster film. We will provide links to these episodes in the shownotes for Episode 33 on AntiochPodcast.org.
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.