“11 o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is credited with this statement, although history teaches it was actually Helen Kenyon who said it first in 1952 during an annual Christian Frontiers forum of the Women’s Society of Riverside Church in New York City.
Almost 64 years have passed since her statement and it still remains true. The lack of diversity is heartbreaking. We, as The Wesleyan Church, pursue a different narrative—one that begins with discipleship and church multiplication.
In recent days, over 85 Wesleyan pastors and leaders gathered in Dallas, Texas, to join 1,300 others as part of the third annual Mosaix Conference, a multiethnic church event. To date, this was the largest gathering of multiethnic church pioneers and practitioners in North America. Each time the attendance has grown dramatically and has helped generate a greater awareness of the growing movement, proclaimed the biblical mandate, provided competent training, promoted best practices, strengthened relational connections between practitioners, and others to stay the course.
As part of a pre-conference event, leaders within the Evangelical Free Church of America and The Wesleyan Church convened to be part of the larger conversation. A few conversations were had, including conversations about an English and Spanish-speaking church merger (Greenville Multicultural Church in the South Carolina District), churches moving from monoethnic to multiethnic, diversifying church staff, new multiethnic church plants, two churches sharing one building, effective community-based multiethnic ministry, immigrant connections, The Wesleyan Church’s Native Ministries movement, and church relaunches.
Mosaix offered worship and approximately 90 speakers in plenary sessions and workshops designed to celebrate and champion the vision of reaching all people. The conference also served to challenge the North American Church to get beyond systemic segregation in advancing the gospel in an increasingly diverse and cynical society. Many participants at the conference received a free copy of conference convener Mark DeYmaz’s new book, reMIX: Transitioning Your Church to Living Color, co-written with Dr. Bob Whitesel, Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University founding professor.
Given the denomination’s history, it is within the DNA of The Wesleyan Church to be on the frontlines of this movement. Unfortunately, that narrative changed during the Civil Rights movement and we were mostly absent. The question remains: What will history say about us when it is written about this next season of church history? Our prayer is that we, as The Wesleyan Church, will return to our roots, live out the gospel, resist the temptation of pursuing our comforts more than our calling and simply watch God move.
Church Multiplication and Discipleship (CMAD) of The Wesleyan Church will continue to roll out several new initiatives such as Multiethnic Innovation and Learning Labs and Monday Multiethnic Moments, as well as continue our Multiethnic Conversations Cohorts. Join the Wesleyan Multiethnic Movement Facebook group to hear more and to continue the conversation.
We want to celebrate every time a disciple makes a disciple and the church multiplies itself until The Wesleyan Church has a faithful presence in every zip code. You are invited to join the movement. The Wesleyan Church’s Multiethnic Ministries is led by Rev. Santes Beatty and is here to serve you, your church, district, or university. Contact him or Josmar Trent, CMAD support staff and translation specialist, to hear more.