At the Summit, we’ve come a long way when it comes to racial and cultural diversity. And by God’s grace, we’ve still got a ways to go. But I thank God consistently for what I’ve seen him do in our midst, drawing people together from different backgrounds under one banner—the banner of Christ.
The gospel, as Dr. Tony Evans says, doesn’t produce sameness; it produces oneness. That’s why, in all of our efforts to become multi-cultural, our chief aim will always be to proclaim the gospel. Only the gospel has the power to take what our Enemy intends to divide us, and turn it into an opportunity to show the world what true oneness looks like.
One of the most surprising avenues of cultural diversity that we’ve seen (surprising to me, at least) is through our music. We can go wrong in a couple different ways when it comes to our assumptions about worship music. On one hand, some people think that music is the key to cultural diversity. So if you want black people in your church, play some gospel music. Want Latinos? Play salsa music. Not only does this sort of mentality reinforce the differences between us—many of them based on unfair stereotypes—it also nearly never works. A musical buffet doesn’t magically create oneness.
On the other hand, music is a really big deal! A couple years ago, I remember talking with a white college student after one of our services. He was passionate that we become more of a multi-cultural church. (I agreed.) But then a few weeks later, this same guy came up to me, visibly agitated because our worship was too animated. He didn’t actually want a multi-cultural church; he wanted a multi-colored church that was still culturally white.