Wanting a Racially Diverse Church that Prefers White Music

Posted by on Sep 2, 2011 in Church Music, Worship Music | No Comments

When I first moved back to the Chicago suburbs, I attended a black church for a little more than a year. It was an amazing place. The people were passionate. The pastor provoked you to growth. The music was performed with excellence.

And my wife and I were the only white people in the room.

Our pastor often spoke of our vision for “becoming a church that looked more like the rainbow – more like what heaven would be like.”

I led worship a couple of times. Everyone was polite. A very few number of people told me that’s how they wished we would worship every week. But it was clear the vast majority didn’t care for it.

So, I met with my Pastor and asked him about his vision for the church and the role that music plays in it.

As I began to explain my thoughts, he interjected with, “You know Eric, if I change the music to what you like, I’ll have a bunch of people say, ‘they’re the only white folk in the room,’ Why are we changing to please them?” I was caught off guard, forgetting that pastors are so often bombarded with requests to change service specifics to their personal preference, he assumed that’s what I was after.

I told him I absolutely agreed, and that wasn’t what I was asking for. But that we might have to give up on our vision for becoming a racially-diverse church. Because in reality, what we’re asking for is a racially-diverse, culturally homogenous church.

We want white people that love Gospel music. We want black people that love Hillsong.

If we actually want a racially-diverse church, we need to expand our musical repertoire. If we don’t want to do that, we have to be ok with the Sunday segregation.