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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.

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One of our worship leaders, Matt Papa, often says that songs are sermons people remember. I still remember the first time I heard him say that: it didn’t give me warm fuzzies. (After all, I’m the guy preaching the sermons.) But once I got over my pride, I was able to see where he was coming from. There’s something about music that can accomplish in four minutes what a preacher can’t in 40. Music gets lodged in your mind. It bounces around your head when you aren’t even thinking about it. In short, it sticks. And that’s a large part of why, last year, we officially launched The Summit Church Music, our very own record label.

Not every church has a record label, of course. And not every church should. But it struck us a few years back that God had given us some incredibly talented singers, songwriters, and musicians. Every week, they would lead our church in worship…singing other people’s songs. So we asked ourselves, “What might it look like if we gave these guys a chance to write songs for us?”

The result was better than we could have imagined. Continue Reading…

There are a few things that everyone expects you as the pastor to do. Praising and affirming those things that people on your staff team produce is probably on that list. Which really disappoints me, because I am afraid that you’ll consider what I’m about to say about the new Summit worship CD to be obligatory, and miss my genuine awe over how good it is.

I love: Continue Reading…