DULUTH — Mark Hearn has no intention of getting behind the curve in ministering to his city and county. In fact, Pastor Hearn wants to be on the cutting edge of impacting his community with the Gospel of Christ.
Pastoring a church doesn’t come easy these days. And sometimes the difficulty is exacerbated by the challenges and dynamics of the rapidly changing demographics where the church is located.
First Baptist Duluth is right in the middle of one of the most diverse and rapidly changing communities in the greater Atlanta area. In 2011 the pastor of the Duluth church heard his mayor and fellow church member explain in her “State of the City” address that there were 57 languages spoken in the local high school.
Hearn left that meeting asking himself, “How should our church respond?” He began to pay careful attention to the phenomenal transformation taking place all around him and writing about the multicultural ministry that would need to be developed for his church if they were to effectively become the voice, hands, and feet of Jesus where they lived and ministered.
What is happening in Duluth is an example of what is happening in multiple cities across America. It’s a preview of what is likely to happen in your community faster than you might imagine.
After Hearn moved to Duluth to pastor First Baptist Church, he stated, “I was drinking in the rich hues of color in my new community. But there was nothing in my ministry experience that I could compare with this explosion of diversity.”
Life in Technicolor
As a child many of us sang, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world – red and yellow black and white, all are precious in His sight.” The reality of that little children’s chorus prompted Hearn to write his book, Technicolor, because Duluth is a city quickly becoming a cross-cultural, multiethnic community.
When all the blood bought saints of God are put together they make one beautiful picture of what heaven will look like. Heaven cannot be portrayed as a dull, black, and white habitation. It can only be described as a blessed, panoramic, technicolor paradise where everyone gets along as reconciled and redeemed brothers and sisters.
With all that being said, Hearn’s book is biblical, informative, inspiring, and practical. For example, the author writes about the importance of understanding the heart language of those from other nations, understanding the importance of Christ’s life as the common thread that draws us together, and understanding the importance of being a witness in one’s Jerusalem.
Hearn declares, “Churches are often seen more for what they are against than what they are for, but FBC Duluth has a desire to be for our city. In supporting community leaders and initiatives in Duluth, we can be seen as a helpful change agent in our city.” He cites Jeremiah 29:5-7 as a guiding verse for partnering with city leaders and working for the welfare of those nearby.
Looking to embrace a community
Thom Ranier, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, affirmed Hearn’s book by writing, “Most church leaders find ways to leave a changing community. Instead of panicking or moving, Mark and his church embraced the diversity. And the rest of the story is, well … amazing. Get ready to get a foretaste of heaven. It’s all in there in this incredible book, Technicolor.”
J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, commented, “One of our beloved Georgia Baptist pastors with the nations in his heart moves to a location populated by the nations of the world. You will be deeply inspired to see how God has used Dr. Mark Hearn and First Baptist Church Duluth to transition its ministry from an established monolithic, Southern culture community to a multicultural, multilingual, high diverse community. I highly recommend this book to all who desire ministry to the nations of the world in their own neighborhood.”
Hearn’s book is written out of the crucible of his own study and experience and is a must read for every pastor who wants to reach his community for Christ.
The book by Mark Hearn, Technicolor: Inspiring Your Church to Embrace Multicultural Ministry, is published by B&H Publishing Group and can be purchased at your local LifeWay Christian Bookstore, via www.amazon.com or through First Baptist Duluth (770) 476-3788.