The Free Methodist Church has a long history of emphasizing equality. In the 1891 book, “Ordaining Women,” Free Methodist founder B.T. Roberts wrote, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ, in the provisions which it makes and in the agencies which it employs for the salvation of mankind, knows no distinction of race, condition or sex.”
Some congregations historically haven’t lived up to Roberts’ vision of “no distinction of race,” but today’s Free Methodist Church – USA reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of God’s kingdom. For example, the interdenominational Leadership Network has honored Light & Life Christian Fellowship in Long Beach, California, as one of the most diverse churches in the nation.
When the Mosaix Global Network hosted the first national multiethnic church conference in 2010, the Free Methodist Church co-sponsored the event. The next national conference in 2013 featured Light & Life Lead Pastor Larry Walkemeyer, a superintendent of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California, as one of the speakers.
The third national multiethnic church conference will be held Nov. 1–3 near Dallas, Texas, in what is being billed as “the largest gathering ever of multiethnic church pioneers and practitioners in North America.” The Free Methodist Church will again be on the sponsor and speaker lists. Mosaix Executive Director Mark DeYmaz, the author of “Leading a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church: Mixing Diversity Into Your Local Church,” selected Chapel of Change Lead Pastor Brian Warth to speak at this year’s conference.
Warth said he will speak on the danger of the local church not diversifying. He added that failure to diversify could cause the church to lose its voice in this generation.
“I’m super excited about being invited to speak at the national multiethnic church conference. The leaders of Mosaix have witnessed our efforts as a local church to demonstrate
diversity in all we do. One of our core values is diversity,” Warth said. “Our prayer as a local church is to be a voice on the need for local churches to diversify. I’m excited that more and more FM churches are seeking diversity in their leadership and congregations.”
Another speaker with Free Methodist ties is civil rights leader John M. Perkins of Seattle Pacific University’s John Perkins Center.
Both the River and Southern California conferences will send their pastors to Mosaix 2016.
“We stand in a Christian tradition rooted in a theology of love expressed in tangible mission. Living that out today as Free Methodists includes embracing the gospel, and the church, for all peoples in our increasingly diverse nation,” said Dennis Jeffery, the superintendent of the River Conference. “Mosaix equips us to do this more effectively.”
The conference offers personal access to experienced multiethnic pioneers, pastors, theologians, educators, authors and church planters. Participants can deepen their understanding of the biblical theology, latest research, core commitments and best practices of multiethnic church planting and development.
Organizers expect the event to draw more than 1,200 people to NorthWood Church, which was founded by Senior Pastor Bob Roberts whom many Free Methodists will remember as a keynote speaker at General Conference 2011.
The conference includes 17 workshop tracks: biblical theology, multiethnic church planting, homogenous church transition, sociological insights, community transformation, empowering diverse leaders, missional and multiethnic, cross-cultural competence, overcoming racial divides, hot topics, promising practices, toolbox, common challenges, the urban context, multiethnic millennials, worship planning, and children and students.
Go to mosaix2016.com for tickets and more information.