The primary focus of our ministry is empowering Christians to break down ethnicity-related divisions in the Body of Christ. But, true biblical, Christian community is also about different socio-economic groups, gender groups, age groups, anything groups being connected with one another through the power of Christ. We believe God has called us to focus our efforts on ethnicity-related aspects of building biblical community for many reasons, but it is not because we believe it is the only, or even the most important, aspect.
Many Bible passages like Ephesians 2:1-22 clearly describe that it is God’s will for his followers to form unified Christian communities that overcome all man-made sources of division and work together to transform the world with Christ’s love. That is the primary reason we think it is an “effective ministry strategy”. Additional great (but lesser) arguments can be made that multi-ethnic ministries tend to be more… dynamic and exciting, balanced theologically, outward focused, effective at reaching the lost, welcoming/accepting, and culturally relevant in our increasingly multi-ethnic society.
Restoration through Jesus Christ: The bad news… sin causes all men and women to live in spiritual darkness/death and separation from God and from one another. The good news (gospel)… through faith in Jesus Christ, we can experience new life and reconciliation with God and one another. Ephesians 2 provides an excellent summary of the gospel.
Statement of Faith: We hold to the core beliefs of the Christian faith as they have been handed down since the time of Christ. For a brief description of these we recommend The Apostles Creed which is one of the earliest and most widely accepted Christian statements of faith.
Prosperity and profiting from the gospel: We agree with the Lausanne Theology Working Group’s Statement On Prosperity Teaching. We believe that Christian ministry should never be used as a tool to gain personal praise or financial wealth.
Moral purity: We recognize that no one is morally perfect. But, as followers of Jesus Christ, we believe we are called to pursue a life of righteousness that reflects his character and teachings. Jesus taught that we should be most concerned about our hearts and not “looking good” to others (Mark 7:1-19). He also taught that certain actions “defile us” including… “sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.” (Mark 7:20-23) We believe these actions (and others that are described as contrary to God’s will in Scripture) are inconsistent with being a follower of Jesus.
Yes, and no. Experts like Dr. Michael Emerson and Dr. Korie Edwards have done extensive studies which show that many times when churches and organizations “become more diverse” there are still major divisions between the various ethnic groups. Some good books to read on that are People of the Dream by Dr. Emerson and The Elusive Dream by Dr. Edwards. On the surface the organization looks more diverse but it is only skin deep. Anything short of a true, deep level of relational connectedness between individuals of different ethnicities does not match the biblical model. That is why we focus our efforts on building biblical, multi-ethnic community within organizations rather than “increasing the diversity of an organization”. It may not sound like a big difference — but, they are actually very different objectives and require completely different approaches. Of course, as pockets of true biblical, multi-ethnic community develop within a church or organization its level of diversity will increase.
Chad and Laurie Brennan and a diverse group of ministry leaders in Queens, NYC started working together in the Spring of 2001 to organize “Renew” activities. At first, “Renew” was just a monthly prayer/worship/fellowship event for a diverse group of college students and young adults. Overtime, Chad and Laurie felt God’s call to leave the campus ministry they were a part of for nine years and launch Renew as a new ministry in 2005.
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