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Reconciling Witness And Worship: Six Ways To Begin

Imagine a church that considers its’ surrounding ‘neighbors’ and the future majority of our country in developing practices of worship.

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How will our future worship witness to the God of all nations? Imagine the year is 2025 and you are congregating in your church. Your mind and heart are focused on the Lord and His invitation to make disciples of the nations. Close your eyes and take a minute now to imagine it (yes, I do mean now). Did your future reflect the reality of a younger, browner, unchurched majority? Were the images you saw the multiethnic, multiclass church singing in many styles and praying in many languages? Be honest.

In the U.S., we are well on our way to seeing no ethnic majority projected for the 2050 census. The latest census numbers show a population younger than 5 years old stood at 49.9% minority in 2012, and among those under 1 year of age, the minority had become the majority*. In only two years, 2018, minorities will become the majority among children.

This has huge implications for children’s ministry, youth ministry, family ministry, and future leaders of the Church. We have an opportunity to witness to the kingdom through how we form our worship services. We need to be reconciled to God’s vision of the kingdom in our worship practices. I’m not speaking merely of musical style or language, but of content and form of our entire services, including music, prayer, sermon, table, and benediction (sending). We continue to hold onto practices of worship that do not engage the diverse reality of potential future leaders of the Church.

Even in our conversations about urban worship or diverse worship, we seem to be locked into a conversation that does not include the global reality of our urban centers with all of their immigrant populations and multifaith backgrounds. Multiethnic conferences continue to discuss the importance …

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