USA Today: Churches open doors to all
... The number of multicultural churches -- those in which at least one in five people is from a different ethnic group -- is still relatively tiny. Even within diverse denominations such as the Assemblies of God, where about a third of the churches have minority congregations, or the Southern Baptists, where 20% of churches have minority congregations, only a small percentage meet that one-in-five criteria.
Mark DeYmaz, pastor of Mosaic Church, a diverse non-denominational church based in Little Rock, says he believes the number is going to grow. DeYmaz said his congregation of 600 is about 40% white, 33% African-American, 15% Hispanic, with the rest from a variety of backgrounds.
When Mosaic opened in 2001, DeYmaz said he knew of few diverse churches. Now he knows of several hundred. ...
... Gary McIntosh, professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., doubts that multiethnic churches will ever become commonplace.
He said it's human nature for churches to attract people who share a common background or culture. That doesn't mean they are intentionally segregated, McIntosh said.
"Churches gather around to worship Jesus Christ -- but there are always secondary factors that draw people together," he said. ...
... "If one segment of the church says, 'We are going to tell all of you how it's going to be,' that's not healthy," Barker said.
That kind of shared leadership is crucial for multiracial churches to succeed, said Soong Chan Rah, professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park University in Chicago and author of Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church.
Churches have to move from welcoming diverse newcomers to sharing life with them, Rah said.
"It's not just getting people sitting in the same room on Sundays," he said.