Dr. David Prince was recently interviewed by Trillia Newbell on her blog. She’s starting a series of posts each Wednesday in which she is interviewing pastors who are “pursuing diversity”. Newbell’s questions are very good and cover the range of practical to personal. For example, she asks
How have you sought to build diversity within your congregation?
Our pastors preach with an awareness of the racial and ethnic diversity on display in Biblical redemptive history with an awareness that the entire human race was made in the image of God and share a common descent as the fallen children of Adam (Gen 1:27, 3:17, Acts 17:26, 1 Cor 15:22). I fear that many White evangelicals preach the biblical text as if it tells a White Western story. Our pastors emphasize that the glory of the Gospel is eschatologically on display in the multiethnic triumph of the church of Jesus Christ and that reality should shape our approach to ministry now. We stress that in a Christian worldview racial diversity is not something to be merely tolerated; it is something to be celebrated. Our church attempts to be intentionally multiethnic. We reject the notion that Christian ought to be colorblind. We want then to see diversity of color and celebrate it. Our differences are now seen in Christ and are markers of God’s expansive providential grace. The Gospel does not erase our cultural, racial, and ethnic distinctions, but rather reinterprets every aspect of our story in light of the Gospel story (Rev 21:24)
Apart from the preaching and teaching ministry we hired a full-time staff missionary to international students in the Lexington Metro area. With 65,000 college students in the Lexington Metro area the nations are literally coming to us. We developed a plan that we of reverse missions in which we reach international students while they are at university, disciple them, and send them back to their country as Christian missionaries. We consistently have 10 to 12 different ethnic groups represented in corporate worship at Ashland. We have baptized people from eight different ethnic backgrounds over the last few years. We have an annual International Thanksgiving dinner that has about 400 people attend and about 35 nations represented at the event. We have gained a reputation for ministering to internationals. So much so, that one day a representative of the University of Kentucky called the church and said, “We hear that Ashland likes to serve internationals and we have a student asking questions about Christianity. If we send the student over can you tell them about Jesus?”
We also have a strong emphasis on reflecting the Gospel through an adoption culture where the entire church is involved in the rescue and care of orphans. The result has been the adoption of children from all over the world and many families at Ashland who are gloriously transracial. Our adoption culture strengthens our church in many ways but one of the most profound ways is strengthening our theological commitment to the biblical Gospel. “Red, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in His sight” is visibly displayed each Lord’s day at Ashland as families gather for worship.
To read the whole interview, click here.