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Over the next four days, I’ll be posting excerpts from a book I have coming out next year—called Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send. This section deals with the increasingly relevant topic of racial and cultural diversity. What the world desires, the gospel alone can accomplish.

 “If I could do it over again, I would pursue a racially diverse church even if it meant Willow Creek became only half the size it is today.” I heard Bill Hybels make that statement at a breakfast I shared with him back in 2006. And it’s quite a statement considering that Hybels has been a pioneer of the modern megachurch movement, practically inventing the “seeker service.” Hybels built Willow Creek, a congregation that has exceeded 25,000 weekend attenders, on the “homogeneity principle,” the idea that you can reach more people if you package your “product” for a particular slice of society—in his case, professional, middle- to upper-class white people in the suburbs of Chicago.

Knowing his heart for evangelism, I pressed him: “So you would be willing to reach fewer people just so your church could be culturally diverse? Greater diversity outweighs total number of conversions?”

Without skipping a beat, Hybels replied, “That’s a false dichotomy, because the corporate witness of racially diverse churches in America would be more powerful, and would likely result in greater total number of conversions, than a numbers surge in any one congregation.”

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Summit, I’m consistently blown away with how generous you have proven to be over the past two years. When we began our “All-In” initiative in 2012, we pledged together to give over $30 million toward the mission of God at our church. We still have a few weeks left in December, and I think we can get to $33 million.

As a church, it has always been a joy to me that we give so much of our money away to missions. We give toward missions opportunities directly, as we recently did by helping to re-launch ReCity, an organization that serves the most disconnected youth in our community. We also give to the International Mission Board (IMB), the agency through which we send out most of our church planters.

Every year, the IMB has a special offering—called the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering—in which every penny goes directly to support the missionaries on the field. I challenged you this weekend, and I want to repeat it here: if we exceed our new goal of $33 million, we are going to increase our Christmas Offering by 50%–upwards of $100,000 above what we typically give.

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Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading around the web.

Interview of the Week

The Tragic Prevalence of Sexual Assault, Tim Challies, interviewing Justin Holcomb. “Though the incidence of sexual assault is high, the rate of conviction is low. The majority of sexual assault goes unreported and the majority of those who commit sexual assault go unpunished. While the law needs to protect those who are unjustly accused, in cases of sexual assault it seems like the process of law can actually re-victimize the victims. And this helps explain why victims can be so hesitant to report the crime, and why accusations can take many years to come to light. The sin is awful and the aftermath can be excruciating.”

“Pastor Justin Holcomb has given a great deal of attention to this topic over the past few years, and I recently spoke to him about sexual assault in light of today’s headlines.”

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