One of the churches @ScottWilliams highlights in his book, Church Diversity, is Transformation Church, Charlotte, NC where Pastor Derwin Gray is senior pastor. Williams quotes Pastor Gray:
Multi-ethnic church is not in addition to the gospel, it is a result of the gospel (128).
Pastor Gray launched Transformation with a desire to pastor a multi-ethnic, multigenerational, mission-shaped community. That’s exactly what he did on February 7, 2010.
I had the privilege of visiting Transformation Church a few weeks ago. Having attended the Sunday evening service where a guest speaker delivered the message, I don’t think I got a full picture of the Transformation experience. However, a few things were quite clear to me:
1. Platform: Transformation has a diverse Praise and Worship Team
2. Transformation is clear about their values. Among those values are:
- Multi-ethnic and multi-generational diversity
- People over production (They care about relationships more than numbers.)
- Servant Community (They are committed to “develop a biblical, servant-hearted community, in which we serve each other through our grace-gifts as we serve in our spheres of influence by being the heart, hands, and feet of Jesus.”)
As seminary students of leadership, we often discuss the gap or tension between what churches and Christian organizations put on paper (ex. vision, mission statement, etc) and what they actually practice.
Transformation Church is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community that loves God completely (Upward), ourselves correctly (Inward), and our neighbors compassionately (Outward).
Here are a few of my observations concerning Transformation vision and values:
- Sunday evening service attendees were ethnically and generationally diverse
- As a visitor, I was able to submit a prayer request. I took advantage of that opportunity and within two days, I received an email stating I had been prayed for, along with a specific word of encouragement. Concerning the value of “people,” Transformation is also focused on getting all church members connected through home discipleship groups.
- On the Sunday I attended, church leaders encouraged members to provide food for the needy in their community. As we exited the sanctuary, each member was given a paper grocery bag, along with a list of items to fill the bag with and return on the following Sunday.
In addition to the previously mentioned highlights, Scott Williams’ key thoughts on Pastor’s Derwin’s Story include:
- Before we can build a multiethnic church, we must live a multiethnic life.
- Church diversity must be embraced by seminaries and church planting organizations.
- We fear what we don’t understand (133).
Leadership and Diversity: In yesterday’s post, we saw a senior pastor who is committed to living a multi-ethnic life. In Bloodlines, Dr. Piper (who has adopted an African American daughter) wrote, “Nothing binds a pastor’s heart to diversity more than having it in his home (39).” Pastor Derwin Gray has been married to his wife, Vicki for twenty years and they have two children. He understands the additional challenges of an interracial marriage and raising children in a home that celebrates diversity.
The ministry of Transformation is another reminder that the desire for church diversity and a multi-ethnic ministry begins in the heart and home. The fundamental desire to reach all people for Christ is the motivation to create a worship setting where everyone is welcome.
Williams asks, “What push can you make to embrace the attitude that everyone is welcome in God’s house?” How can you begin to welcome diverse people into your life and home?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2012