LOVING GOD AND
LOVING OUR MULTI-FAITH NEIGHBORS.
Multi-Faith Matters: evangelicals in a multi-faith world
Multi-Faith Matters is a support hub for Christians and churches who are seeking to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandments in a multi-faith world.
Multi-faith Matters engages in a number of activities in support of its mission. This includes:
telling the stories of Christians loving their multi-faith neighbors,
consulting on multi-faith possibilities,
leading spiritual formation events,
identifying and developing resources,
and building a network of Christians doing the work of engaging peoples of other religions.
Contact us for more information.
How We Began
Multi-faith Matters began in 2014 as a Collaborative Inquiry Team of evangelical pastors and scholars conducting case studies and collecting stories of churches engaged in positive forms of interaction with other religious groups.
The pastoral part of the team was comprised of Carrie Graham, a multi-faith church planter at The Church Lab in Austin, Texas; Bob Roberts, Jr., founding and Senior Pastor of NorthWood Church near Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas; and Phil Wyman, pastor of The Gathering in Salem, Massachusetts. The academic part of the team includes Sang-Ehil Han, PhD., Vice President for Academics and Professor of Theology and Spirituality at Pentecostal Seminary in Clevand, Tennessee; Paul Louis Metzger, PhD., Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University; and John W. Morehead, MA, Director of the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. Our original team included Jill Riley, a church planter in Billings, Montana who resigned from the team after the first year for personal reasons. In our second phase of project work described below, Mark Shetler, Executive Pastor of RiverCity Christian in Sacramento, California, joined the team as part of the pastoral component.
The team collected case studies and stories from churches across the U.S. involved in positive multi-faith engagement. This included The Gathering Church in Salem, MA interacting with Pagans and Atheists; Bob Roberts of NorthWood Church in Keller, TX interacting with Muslims; The Church Lab in Austin, TX working with a spectrum of people from Latter-day Saints to Jews to Muslims to Buddhists, to Atheists and Agnostics; New Wine, New Wineskins in Portland, OR working with Zen Buddhists; River City Christian Church in Sacramento, CA ministering among Muslim immigrants; New Harvest Church of God in Knoxville, TN interacting with Muslims; Redemption Church in Phoenix, AZ working with Muslims and various immigrant populations; Otter Creek Church in Nashville, TN ministering among Muslims; Cole Community Church in Boise, ID working with Muslims; and Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Tucker, GA working with Muslims and Reform Jews.
Multi-faith Matters was launched in 2014 through a grant from the Louisville Institute. Louisville Institute is funded by the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment and based at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary (Louisville, Kentucky). The Institute's fundamental mission is to enrich the religious life of North American Christians and to encourage the revitalization of their institutions, by bringing together those who lead religious institutions with those who study them, so that the work of each might inform and strengthen the other.
In 2017 we were awarded a supplemental grant by the Louisville Institute to support the ongoing work of the project for another two years. The second phase is entitled "Evangelical Multi-faith Engagement, Purity Concerns, and Persuasive Storytelling." While the initial work focused on church case studies and their stories, the second phase is exploring how such churches have worked through concerns for doctrinal and worldview purity, as well fears of contamination. The supplemental grant is also studying how to use strategic storytelling for social change within conservative evangelicalism.
At the mid-way point of the supplemental grant the team recognized that we had grown beyond a grant project and have become a support hub for a network of Christians and churches who are seeking to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandments in a multi-faith world. The network offers fellowship and resources for Christians who are of a similar heart and mind in the way in which they relate to their multi-faith neighbors.