In their study of race and American Christianity, Divided by Faith, Michael Emerson and Christian Smith observed that 90 percent of American churches are 90 percent composed of people of the same race. Brenda Salter McNeil helps churches beat the odds. With her colleagues at Salter McNeil & Associates, she works intensively with congregations and institutions that want to make a successful transition to multiethnic leadership and membership. In such an intrinsically countercultural line of work, hopefulness and a sense of humor are priceless assets, and Brenda possesses both in abundance. In this response to Christianity Today International's year-long exploration of the question, How can followers of Christ be a counterculture for the common good?, Brenda outlines some reasons cultural isolation is no longer viable for Christians who want to serve a society where soon no ethnic group will be a majority.
In 1986, I discovered that the world was changing. That year my husband and I traveled ...1