In past conversations, Presbyter has expressed discomfort with this arrangement on the basis of Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Moreover, a pastor friend of mine has told me, "I have great trouble with a church planting endeavor that makes race a uniting principle." I don't disagree with any of this ... hence my discomfort.
Many of us have been uncomfortable with the notion that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. I come from a pretty racially diverse family: my younger brother and sister are black (adopted by my parents when we were very young), my wife's family is Filipino, and my brother's wife is Hispanic. The kids show all the various mixtures. When we get together for family occasions, we look like a UN meeting. So this is personal to me.
On the other hand, our church seems to be successful at reaching Filipinos for Christ in a unique way, and there is another part of me that sees our cultural appeal as the way God has equipped us for this particular ministry.
I recall being stationed at an Air Force base a few years back that had a large, mostly African-American chapel service each Sunday. For a while this caused me some angst and frustration, as we couldn't seem to pull the communities together. As I came to know them better, however, I realized that God was using them to reach out to other African-Americans on base, and that they were doing great work. They were specially equipped for that mission.
My best attempt to justify this "Sunday segregation" comes from 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.I know that segregation is a loaded word, and I use it deliberately. We do segregate ourselves on Sunday, not de jure (by law) but de facto (by practice). In so doing, we must confess that sacrifice our unity.
Do we perhaps gain some advantage in becoming a Jew to the Jews to win the Jews ... or a Filipino to the Filiponos, to win the Filipinos ... etc.? This is my fond hope, or it is my vain rationalization. I haven't entirely decided which.