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Against the Current

The unexpected challenges of multi-ethnic ministry.

Daniel Hill admits that his initial interest in multi-ethnic ministry was fueled more by the novelty and popularity of the idea than a deep sense of calling. But when his interest didn't wane, he knew he had to do something.

In 2003, Hill left a suburban megachurch to plant River City Community Church in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. Founded by an intentionally diverse team of leaders, the congregation of 250 is now 60 percent white and 40 percent African, Latino, and Asian-American. Leadership spoke with Hill and River City's multi-ethnic leadership team about their unexpected challenges.

What kind of person is attracted to River City?

Hill: Most of our new people are white. But there's a revolving door with the white community here. They have a romantic notion of being part of a multi-ethnic church, so many of them get frustrated and leave when they realize how difficult it is to release their assumptions about the way church is supposed to be.

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