Mosaix 2013 Blog

Leading the Multi-Ethnic Church Conversation by Lindy Lowry

The following post is taken from a featured interview published online by Exponential on October 28, 2013.

Recently, Exponential sat down to talk with Mosaix Global Network Executive Director Mark DeYmaz to learn about the Second National Multi-Ethnic Church Conference in Long Beach, Calif., including potential takeaways for church planters attending the conference with hopes of launching multi-ethnic congregations. The upcoming gathering (one week away Nov. 5-6) marks the second year for the Multi-Ethnic Church Conference, the first held in November 2010. This year, the speaker lineup includes John Perkins, Choco De Jesus, Soong-Chan Rah, David Anderson, Eugene Cho and many more.

Mark, tell us the basics. How many tracks, workshops, sessions? 
The conference features 15 tracks (including one track which will be translated into Spanish and French on site); 60 total workshops; five plenary sessions plus an additional worship service for the city of Long Beach on Wednesday night following the conference; and 68 speakers (19 plenary, most of who will also lead a workshop).

How many people are you estimating being on site? 
As of today, we have just crossed 800 in registrations. We were hoping for 600, maybe 700 at the outside. The tremendous response with still more than a week to go has us considering what to do if in fact the conference in essence sells out.

It’s been three years since Mosaix hosted the National Multi-Ethnic Church Conference. This upcoming gathering will be the second one. What made you say, “We need to do this again”?
The first conference was an overwhelming success, and looking back is now recognized as marking the midway point in the pioneer stage of  the multi-ethnic church movement. Coming out of it, there was a natural assumption that we would make it an annual event. However, the  movement needed more time to develop. Consequently, Mosaix returned in 2011 and 2012 to grassroots organizing by creating web-based resources, publishing its first eBook, hosting two national retreats in the United States and a national conference in Sydney, Australia. In partnership with Mosaix, Leadership Network launched a two-year learning community focused on the multi-ethnic church involving 12 churches and 30 leaders. With growing interest, receptivity and practitioners engaged, we determined like a ship approaching land to do another sounding in 2013–thus, the second National Multi-ethnic Church Conference.

Looking back at the first conference in 2010, do you find that more leaders are interested in planting and growing multi-ethnic churches today? 
Absolutely. No question about it. Increasingly, local church pastors and planters, network and denominational leaders,  organizations and evangelical conference organizers, alike, are recognizing the biblical mandate of the multi-ethnic local church and are beginning to adjust and engage. Coupled with changing demographics, they are recognizing that they must (at the very least) reflect the communities in which they exist not only to survive but to thrive in an increasingly diverse society. Most importantly, they are recognizing how the systemic segregation of the local church unintentionally undermines the very credibility of our message: God’s love for all people on earth as it is in heaven. Indeed, the future of gospel impact and penetration in this country depends upon passionate individuals and churches getting this right.

How will this upcoming conference differ from 2010′s gathering? 
In 2010 we provided eight tracks. This year, we have practically doubled these to include new discussions on Community Engagement, Overcoming the Racial Divide, Engaging Hip-Hop Culture, Multi-ethnic Student Ministry and more.

Is there a topic focus or theme this year? On what specific messages will the conference focus?
This year’s theme is For the Sake of the Gospel. We wanted to remind observers that the multi-ethnic church movement is rooted (as is a healthy multi-ethnic church) in New Testament theology and ecclesiology. Its primary aim is to reconcile individuals to God through faith in Jesus Christ by presenting a credible witness of God’s love for all people in and through the local church, and to reconcile the local church, itself, to the principles and practices of first-century churches in which diverse believers of Jewish and Gentile cultural heritage walked, worked and worshipped God together as one in response to and for the sake of the Gospel.

For church planters attending the Multi-Ethnic Church Conference, what are some potential takeaways you believe will be eye-opening for planters wanting to launch multi-ethnic churches?
1.  I believe this conference will significantly advance the movement by exponentially advancing relational connections among leaders of like minds, leading to synergistic advancement of our collective cause, and increased collaboration across the country.
2.  I think this conference will hasten the soon-coming arrival of the early adopter stage of the movement, which will begin when 20 percent of churches have at least 20 percent of diversity within their attending membership. At present, that percentage is 13.7 percent across the board; 14.4 percent in Protestant evangelical churches. We are on track then to achieve this goal by 2020, or perhaps sooner given what will come out of this conference.
3. The conference will help networks and denominations understand that the oft-asked question of church planters–”Who’s your target audience?”–is biblical only insofar as it addresses evangelism, discipleship and leadership development. In other words, there is no biblical precedent, license, freedom or mandate to target a single demographic for church planting, growth and development. When the Homogeneous Unit Principle is no longer misunderstood, it will no longer be misapplied. The systemic segregation of the local church can be dismantled, resulting in local churches on earth reflecting God’s love for people from every nation, tribe and tongue, not only across the ocean, but across the street.

Mark, why do you believe the Multi-Ethnic Church Conference is needed?
Check this out: We’re the only conference that exists that doesn’t someday want to exist, get it? That is, we are trying to work ourselves, in a sense, out of a job! In other words, when local churches, evangelical conferences, networks and denominations, Christian colleges and seminaries, etc., all reflect in real and tangible ways unity and diversity–the mystery of Christ as detailed by Paul in Ephesians 3–there will not be a need for a conference (I pray) calling special attention to what should otherwise be just who we are, the Body of Christ. Until such a day, I suppose, we’ll have to keep on leading out on the subject. And this we will continue to do until again we convene the 3rd National Multi-Ethnic Church Conference in 2016.

Tell us a little about the Mosaix Network and how leaders can be involved?
Mosaix is a relational network of local church pastors and planters, researchers, educators and ministry leaders alike that exists to catalyze  the growing movement toward multi-ethnic/economically diverse churches throughout North America and beyond.
On Nov. 5 and 6, new membership packages and benefits will be announced. Through such collaboration and partnership, Mosaix generates sustainable income to advance its mission and vision: the collective voice of growing numbers of ministry leaders focused on advancing a credible witness of the gospel in an increasingly diverse and cynical society.

How are you praying for the conference? 
That God will do for His name’s sake, for the sake of the Gospel, exceedingly abundantly beyond whatever else we might imagine possible.

How can the Exponential community pray for you and the conference?
Wow! Thanks for asking. May I request what Paul requested of the multi-ethnic church at Ephesus:
Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known this message, the mystery of the  gospel for which I am an ambassador … Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” For the conference, pray for those in attendance, that they will feel encouraged (they/we are not crazy); equipped; and empowered through this gathering.
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