The Culture Quotient: Creating a Healthy Culture of Diversity

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In a recent Candid Conversation with Exponential, Peyton Jones interviews Mark DeYmaz, who planted Mosaic Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mosaic Church is an intentionally multi-ethnic congregation that seeks to reflect the diversity in the Body of Christ. This intentionality stemmed from DeYmaz’s own conviction and calling to reflect the kind of New Testament Christianity that not only tolerated other ethnicities but celebrated them.

DeYmaz believes that every Christian and congregation should evaluate themselves and measure what he calls their Cultural Quotient (or CQ). The CQ is analogous to our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ).

DeYmaz reminds us that diversity is not a new thing, it is a New Testament thing.

“Jesus constantly rocked the boat on issues of diversity,” says DeYmaz. What is more, we need to understand in our bones that there is one race (the human race) expressed in many ethnicities.

As you read the New Testament, there is a clear and undiluted call for Jewish Christians to be welcoming of Gentile Christians. Paul’s message of racial reconciliation is not simply something that may or may not happen, but it must happen when we consider the universal call of salvation of all tribes, tongues, and peoples to the one King of all. In fact, DeYmaz says, “Our Gospel is incomplete if it doesn’t pursue and embrace and promote diversity.”

DeYmaz challenges us to consider two very key components in our ethic: the why (theology) and the how (praxis). Citing his book, DeYmaz urges us to consider the inherent nature of oneness for the people of God as Jesus prayed in John 17. In fact, this is the foundational text for DeYmaz to multi-ethnicity.

In his book, Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic ChurchDeYmaz talks about the need to practice seven core commitments in the pursuit of multi-ethnicity:

  1. Embrace Dependence
  2. Take Intentional Steps
  3. Empower Diverse Leadership
  4. Develop Cross-Cultural Relationships
  5. Pursue Cross-Cultural Competence
  6. Promote a Spirit of Inclusion
  7. Mobilize for Impact

The key to reflecting the beauty and diversity of the Body of Christ is intentionality. This kind of unity will not simply happen. Left to our natural devices, we gravitate toward comfort. We must rely on the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to make this a reality in our individual lives as well as corporately as churches. A very practical step to take would be to take a CQ Assessment here.

Our churches are a reflection of the individuals that comprise it. Therefore, if we are serious about multi-ethnic unity in the Body of Christ expressed in local congregations, we have to have a multi-ethnic life in order to have a genuinely multi-ethnic church. Further, we must understand the nature of the Gospel being both individual as well as corporate. Citing Philippians 2, DeYmaz believes we must have others in mind and not merely our individual salvation and preferences and comforts. We have to pursue this intentionally because there have been structures, historically-speaking, that create inertia against multi-ethnicity.

We need to take an honest assessment of our lives. Do we truly relate to people of other cultures or do we treat people transactionally? That is, do we just pursue people of other cultures because it assuages guilt or because they are made in the image of God. One of the ramifications of such a pursuit of multi-ethnicity is that we are able to grasp the fullness of God’s manifold wisdom of God and the abundance of his grace as we see the totality of his love.

At its foundation, a failure to pursue multi-ethnicity is a sin problem not a skin problem. It’s not comfortable to be around people not like us. We must live supernaturally and set aside our natural tendency to gather around ourselves people like us and live in a bubble.

We can talk a lot about diversity, but we need to be brutally honest whether we are actually believing it as exhibited our actions.

DeYmaz cautions that our culture has, in large part, lost the ability to speak in nuance. We must re-capture this ability through listening to differing opinions before pontificating and persuading of our preconceived notions.

DeYmaz exhorts the Church of Jesus that there is a need for each congregation to be multi-ethnic since this is a reflection of love we have for others. This can happen with simple and good missionary work in reaching your neighborhood with the Gospel. The simple concept is being with others. Simply be present with others, intentionally so.

Finally, in an effort to avoid token-ism, it’s all about your heart expressed in humility and honesty. Be very clear who you are but that you want to move in a more diverse way. We must be willing to listen and celebrate and put multi-ethnicities in front of the congregation to lead the church. Do not seek to simply assimilate minority cultures into the majority culture. This requires embracing another culture and educating people to listen first.

May the King over all the earth be honored in his church’s pursuit of multi-ethnic one-ness.

Watch the free replay here of the conversation with Mark DeYmaz.

We are better together!

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:22-23

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