Today’s blog entry is by guest blogger Dr. Parnell Lovelace.

In order to connect to urban core of the city, our church sought to disconnect from elements that blocked impactful ministry. The church had to change to connect. Steps had to be taken to move the church into candid discussion and change.

Specifically, the pastoral team and ministry leaders surveyed the church and the community surrounding the church. Conversations were held with various people representing the diversity of the community. People were asked about their preference of music, teaching style, and their experience of worshiping at the church. The informal inquiry produced tremendous feedback that helped educate the ministry team concerning our field of outreach.

Discussions were held with the ministry core to share the survey findings. Ministry leaders were asked, “How important is it that we reach people through a more diverse approach of ministry? What are we willing to sacrifice to see diversity and change within our church?” The candid evaluation allowed people to share their concerns, and aspirations of being a church that truly reflected the urban community.

Teaching series were presented by the pastoral team, addressing the importance of racial, ethnic, and cultural reconciliation. The church sought fellowship with another regional congregation desiring diversity within its ministry context. Oak Hills Church (a predominately white congregation) shared an evening of joint worship that was captured in the local newspaper. The front page caption was titled, “Tension Then Breakthrough: Bridging the Divide.”

To date, the church is becoming intentional regarding building a diverse ministerial team, celebrating various cultural days, and exploring various music styles. Therefore, the church does not reflect one culture, but reflects the congregation and the city that it is serving. People are drawn to places where they can find identification with others within and outside their culture. This intentionality is creating a church that is indeed connecting to the city.

Parnell M. Lovelace, Jr., MSW, D.Min.
Lovelace Leadership Connection
Rancho Cordova, California

As the successful founding pastor of 3000 member Center of Praise Ministries, Sacramento, California, Parnell M Lovelace, Jr. serves as an apostolic strategist, merging the Church with the social constructs of urban community. He holds a MSW, University of Oklahoma; MPTH Oral Roberts University, and D.Min., Talbot School of Theology.