Race relations in the church: that's the topic one local pastor is tackling on Trinity Broadcasting Network this week.
Pastor James McMenis of Word of God Ministries in Shreveport says the focus needs to be the word of God and not the color of your skin.
"The message of Jesus is a common denominator,” says Pastor McMenis. “It brings everybody together. It brings white, black, young, old, rich, poor. It brings us all together, because as sinners, we all need salvation, and the Kingdom is not organized by color."
Nearly 20 years ago, Pastor McMenis started Word of God ministries as a bible study and radio broadcast.
He had no idea come 2014, he'd be looking at church of over 5,000 members of all different races and backgrounds.
"Well, you know, Shreveport was the last city to concede defeat in the Civil War,” says McMenis. “It's known nationally as a racial region, and so this church has gotten national attention on how did it rise to this size integrated, black and white."
But when Pastor McMenis started the ministry, he was faced with a lot of negativity; some coming from fellow pastors.
“I would get things like, ‘you know Brother James, I appreciate your heart, but this is not going to happen in the south, you know, you're dreaming, and Sunday is the most segregated day of the week,’" says McMenis.
Members of the congregation don't focus on color.
"When I came here, it was just awesome,” says Zachary Jackson. “It brought tears to my eyes, it was incredible."
"Like he said today, the Kingdom knows no color, and that’s it," says Ebony Wilson.
"God didn't just come for one class, he broke the whole system of class to show his love," says Ronald Jackson.
McMenis says he never set out to specifically have a church of whites and blacks mixed, he just wanted to have a church that focused on the love of God.
"We've got to start preaching love instead of hate, preaching Jesus instead of division, and make that the norm,” says Pastor McMenis. “If there's any place that you go to where people are welcome and embraced and loved, it should be the church."
Mcmenis says the diverse atmosphere at his church is thanks to the mindset of the members.
"Racist, prejudice people are not going to come, because you got a white minister, you've got a church full of black people,” says Pastor McMenis. “So, the white prejudice person is not going to come and the black prejudice person is not going to come. So, what we end up doing is we end up drawing those who don't harbor that hate and prejudice."
Pastor McMenis is scheduled to record his interview on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, with TBN, but the air date has not been determined.
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