Models of ethnicity in the local church
Tony thomas | MAY 21, 2019 | 2 MIN READ
In a previous article called “Two Conversations on Ethnicity in the Local Church", I proposed that we need a lot more “nuance” than we currently have in thinking and talking about ethnicity inside the local church. I sought to model one of the best ways to begin understanding one another — through healthy, loving dialogue.
But just as Scripture balances narratives and epistles, this article is meant to bring balance to the first article's initial conversation by providing a more technical exposition of potential models of ethnicity inside the local church.
Let’s consider a continuum of church models going from ethnic-specific to multi-ethnic while also identifying strengths, cautions, and questions for consideration in each.
I pray this continuum will cause us to examine what type of church we are called to be so that we can both maximize our kingdom opportunities while also fighting against our sinful tendencies. And also, I hope it will help us see churches that are different than us, not as “lessers” or even “greaters”, but as partners for whom we are thankful because of the special role they play in God’s kingdom.
Tony Thomas is an associate pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church (CFC) near the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He oversees college students along with various ethnic-specific and international outreach groups. He graduated with a Bachelors of Chemical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and worked in industry for about five years as he completed his Master of Divinity from Columbia International University (CIU). He is a big fan of Chicago sports, but especially the Bulls, and also loves playing basketball whenever he can. Tony is married to Marilyn and they are proud parents of three children - Joy, John, and Joshua.