By Wayne Faison
Two new churches in the Baptist General Association of Virginia plan to engage ethnic diversity head-on to reflect what's really happening across the Commonwealth.
Real Life Community Church in Fredericksburg and Faithway Baptist Church in Chesapeake-recipients of new church investment grants from the Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions-have decided to take the experts seriously and intentionally become multi-cultural.
Those experts project that Virginia will become a place of diverse cultures and people groups in the next two decades. In other words, Virginians will see some radical differences between the 2000 U.S. Census Report and future population percentages.
But, as it currently stands, a great disparity gap exists between the ethnic diversity in our communities and the ethnic diversity-or lack of it-in our churches. That gap becomes apparent, even to a casual observer, when you visit our churches and then visit public schools or go shopping at Wal-Mart or Lowe's.
The Virginia population is 70 percent Anglo and our churches are 91 percent Anglo. In short, Virginia Baptists must become intentional about starting more multi-cultural churches if we expect to close this disparity gap.
Real Life Community Church, a new church start in 2004, began as a vision of Jarvis Bailey and currently partners with Evergreen Church, Shiloh (Old Site) Baptist Church, and the Fredericksburg Baptist Association. Bailey and his core group pray that RLCC will become a multi-ethnic congregation of young adults (married and single) within the Stafford/Greater Fredericksburg area.
Bailey says RLCC will exemplify the body of Christ by demonstrating the power of God's love in our lives, as we create community through ministry to the whole person, across all boundaries, in a healthy, positive and friendly environment.
Faithway Baptist Church began as a vision of its pastor, Horacio Hall, in 1997 and affiliated last year with the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Norfolk Baptist Association. During a series of relocations, the church became aware of the need for multi-cultural ministry and has already made great strides in reaching Spanish/
Caribbean interracial couples and families, as well as the hearing impaired.
Virginia Missions Magazine
Wayne Faison is on the courageous churches team of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.