The Beginning of the Week Update

Reading:
A ton of web posts.
The Myth of the Perfect Parent
Interview about a recent Time Magazine article on race and megachurches (more on that below)

Listening:
About the same as last week…Beatles Rock Band.

Running:
Got 21 miles in last week. Still hoping to get the Amana Colonies 5k in next Saturday. Going to be a scheduling issue.

Grad School:
Waiting to hear from Indiana Wesleyan. Heard from Financial Aid, but not Admissions.

Next:
Middle school youth group did not meet last week due to snow, but high started this past Sunday and went well. Had 4 kids mention the “d-group feel”, which to me is a win.

Back to this interview…
To be fair, the article is about ethnic differences within the church, specifically mega-churches. The Time Magazine article is here. I read it last week and thought it was pretty good. Over at Sojourners (sit down…I’m about to compliment them), there is a great interview with the author of the Time piece. In the middle of the interview, comes this:

“Do you think the 20% minority threshold that you talk about in the article is a valid measure of what determines whether a church or institution is truly integrated?

My answer would be no, and I’m not sure Michael Emerson meant it as a determining marker of a successfully integrated church. I think the 20% figure is the tipping point where a church begins to move to the point of no return. The reason that Emerson uses that number is that he, and other sociologists, determined that at 20% it becomes extremely hard for the majority members of a congregation to ignore the minority population. At that point, they have to deal with them, one way or the other. At that point, the congregation really has to make some decisions as to whether it wants to keep moving in that same direction, because I think if a predominantly white congregation moves to a situation where it’s 49% white and 51% other, this might not create total multi-ethnicity in the culture of the church, but it would certainly create some big changes. So, looking at it optimistically, I think what we’re listening to here with that 20% figure is the opening bell for genuine progress. It becomes difficult to move backward at this point. With that number, it becomes very hard for a Bill Hybels, who really has been talking the talk on this stuff ever since he read Emerson’s book, to walk backwards.”

I know fully that this piece is about ethnicity, but I am intrigued by how else this 20% figure could be applied. Here are some (not-so) random questions:

What happens when 20% of the people that show up in Sunday service are kids?

What happens when 20% of the people that show up in Sunday service are non-churched kids?

What happens when 20% of your attenders are not the “normal” people that have always attended, but are different socially? Economically?

My head hurts.

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