After the events in Charlottesville in August, I came across an article by Doug Paul of Missio Alliance with a catchy and convicting subtitle: “When a Generation of Church Planters Reach Only White People” In reviewing the book The Creative Class, Paul argues (persuasively) that in creating ‘hip’ church plants, many young pastors may be inadvertently signaling a bias toward white upper-middle class individuals and families. With no malicious intent, we may build churches that widen racial gaps and keep Sunday morning the most segregated hour in America.
I doubt I have to persuade anyone that nearly every church in America could use some help engaging fruitfully with issues of race and class.
Toward the end of Paul’s article, there’s a mention of an organization called Arrabon. This was the first I’d heard of this nonprofit that seeks to equip Christian leaders and their communities with the resources to increase their cultural intelligence to effectively participate in reconciliation. Their name, I discovered, is derived from the Greek word meaning foretaste. They desire for God’s church to become a visible foretaste of a reconciled heaven in the midst of our divided world.
So, How are We Doing?
Let’s ask directly: How does your church engage in reconciliation? Is your church leading the way in your community?
I’m going to be honest here—we could be doing better. My own church has given my family some really fruitful avenues to engage and befriend families who don’t look or think like us, and we are all the better for it. But on Sunday morning, when we look around the room, there’s a discomforting homogeneity. I’m not sure how to solve this, because I can’t actually even spot the problem—it’s not like we exclude anyone and everyone in our congregation is warm and welcoming to all. So, what’s going on here?
Enter Arrabon. I had the chance to speak with their Director of Training, Elena Aronson, about how they help churches begin to understand more fully the context in which they operate. It was refreshing to speak with someone who had confidence and authority on a subject that most of us approach with trepidation, afraid we will put our feet in our mouths.
Not only that, but Arrabon has just launched a new website that includes three free videos that introduce the concept of moving from “Division to Shalom” and a study series for your church entitled Race, Class, and the Kingdom of God. They are also available to lead live workshops in your community.
Watch the video below and take the time to check out the work of Arrabon. Learn how your church could become a foretaste of God’s unified and reconciled kingdom right in your community.
Kolby Kerr serves as a bi-vocational minister at Restoration Anglican Church and high school English teacher in Richardson, Texas. He has contributed to Anglican Compass and several literary and educational publications. Kolby and his wife, Emily, have two sons, Beckett and Samuel, who generally keep him busy the rest of the time.