Segregated Worship: Not Our Kind of People?


Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in this nation.” Well not much has changed since his original statement over 50 years ago.

Most congregations welcome those who don’t look like them. All are welcome if or when they come. But they are still segregated because they’ve never made adjustments in order to be intentionally welcoming to those who don’t look like them. They might even imagine how great it would be if their church was filled with people of all colors, nationalities, economic levels, generations and even political ideologies. The impasse in this scenario, however, is that they imagine how great this could be as long as they are willing to worship the same way we do.

Why are we so accepting and accommodating of racial and cultural diversities when we do missions around the world but not across the aisle? Welcoming worship means we are willing to adjust culturally, contextually and systematically not only there but also here.

Welcoming worship is not just what we do when we gather on Sunday, it’s also who we are and how we treat others on Monday. Welcoming intentionally considers those who are often neglected and easily ignored. Welcoming worship agrees that, “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Prov. 14:31).

Welcome worship is passive
Welcoming worship is active

Welcome is occasional
Welcoming is frequent

Welcome is accidental
Welcoming is deliberate

Welcome is comfortable
Welcoming stretches

Welcome controls
Welcoming unleashes

Welcome waits
Welcoming initiates

Welcome tolerates
Welcoming embraces

Welcome hoards
Welcoming gives away

Welcome is preferential
Welcoming is sacrificial

Welcoming agrees that those who don’t look like us didn’t get less of the image of God. So welcoming worship loves, honors and praises the Father by loving all of those He loves. Could worship be any more profound?

If we are not meant to be segregated when we worship in Heaven,
then why are we so segregated when we worship on earth?


4 Responses to “Segregated Worship: Not Our Kind of People?”

  • David Manner Says:

    Great response, Monty. Sounds like your congregation understands the value of various tribes and tongues worshiping together.

  • Monty Francis Says:

    The Bold Spring Baptist Church in the city of West, Texas has this very real challenge. I am pounding on this issue, with love of course. We welcome those who truly want to “worship” the Lord. We are an African American Church family , but one’s color or status is NOT to high for us to be comfortable among yo; neither is one’s culture or practice to prevent us from loving God alongside you. When the focus is God and not each other, we believe that we can make it! We welcome others ( particularly the unchurched or the inactive church member ) to bring their talents, their gifts and their ministry inclinations.

  • David Manner Says:

    Hey Greg,
    Great to hear from you, my friend. I appreciate your comments and agree with you completely. Hope you and your family are doing well.

  • Gregory Allen Says:

    I like what you wrote and agree with
    what you said and hold out for hope
    that one day we’ll all be able to worship
    together regardless of any barriers that
    But as long as we use human emotions
    instead of Christian love, I feel we’ll
    continue to stay divided.
    I wrote a story similar to your story in my book entitled,
    “Is Christianity Separate but Equal or Equal but Separate?
    Thanks for posting. Greg Allen

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