Building a Multiethnic Church with Sean Boone

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This is a podcast episode titled, Building a Multiethnic Church with Sean Boone. The summary for this episode is: <p>On this week's episode of&nbsp;<em>Truth Over Tribe</em>, Keith sits down with Sean Boone, a church planter in one of the most racially divided cities in America: Ferguson, Missouri. He and <a href="https://twitter.com/KeithSimon_/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Keith</a> get into what it means to be a multiethnic church and how his church's goal isn't simply integration; it's a lifestyle of assimilation. Boone tells us his incredible story: his life before following Christ, how his mother going to prison affected him, his life in the drug and gang culture, and his eventual "come to Jesus" moment. Hear him share his perspective on building a multiethnic church in a predominantly white denomination and learn how you can help this life-changing cause. </p><p><br></p><p><strong>Ok, truth time... Did you like this episode?</strong> Tell us by leaving a rating or review! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 If you did, you won't want to miss what's next (so subscribe now!). And help a friend by sharing this with them. Thank you! πŸ™</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Plus, the conversation is just beginning! </strong>Follow us on <a href="https://twitter.com/truthovertribe_" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChooseTruthOverTribe" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/accounts/login/?next=/truthovertribe_/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Instagram</a> to join in on the dialogue! <strong>Want to learn more about Truth Over Tribe?</strong> Visit our <a href="https://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/subscribe?utm_campaign=TOT%20Campaign%203B&amp;utm_source=Show%20Notes%20" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">website</a> and subscribe to our weekly <a href="https://choosetruthovertribe.com/?utm_campaign=TOT%20Campaign%203B&amp;utm_source=Show%20Notes%20-%20website" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">newsletter</a>.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Resources:</strong></p><p><a href="https://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/wbgiving" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Give to Woke Bridge </a></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/How-Heal-Racial-Divide-Reconciliation/dp/149645880X/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=1RZVJGDQJDY2H&amp;keywords=derwin+gray&amp;qid=1648235782&amp;s=digital-text&amp;sprefix=derwin+gray+%2Cdigital-text%2C67&amp;sr=1-1-spons&amp;psc=1&amp;spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzRERXWFpRRk0zWjlQJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwOTU2MDkzQUxKNTBMQjNaMTRZJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA3OTgxMDMzRk1SNkJMOElQNjhOJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">How to Heal Our Racial Divide: What the Bible Says, and the First Christians Knew, about Racial Reconciliation</a></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Divided-Faith-Evangelical-Religion-Problem-ebook/dp/B000SHYQZU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2SUXTA5488YH6&amp;keywords=divided+by+faith+book&amp;qid=1648235763&amp;s=digital-text&amp;sprefix=divided+by+faith+book%2Cdigital-text%2C68&amp;sr=1-1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America</a></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Color-Compromise-American-Churchs-Complicity-ebook/dp/B07BB6R827" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism</a></p><p><a href="http://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/blog_subscription" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Subscribe To Our Blog</a></p><p><a href="http://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/how-tribal-are-you" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">How Tribal Are You?</a></p>
Sean's backstory: Where he's from, family, and environment he grew up in
03:58 MIN
Connecting trauma to pain
02:17 MIN
Where Sean learned to become a barber
03:22 MIN
Sean shares his experience as a Black church planter in a denomination that was largely White
04:07 MIN
Sean discusses Mike Brown's death and what it was like being in Ferguson at that time
04:12 MIN
Aiming for multiethnic churches, led by ethnic minorities
04:29 MIN
Encouraging stories that show God is in this
03:29 MIN
Where the name Woke Bridge comes from
01:17 MIN

Keith Simon: Are you tired of tribalism?

Jason Whitlock: I think a lot of what the left supports is satanic.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination.

Patrick Miller: Are you exhausted by the culture war?

Donald Trump: If they don't like it here, they can leave.

Hillary Clinton: You could put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.

Keith Simon: Are you suspicious of those who say Jesus endorses their political party?

Farron Cousins: Is it possible to be a good Christian and also be a member of the Republican Party? And the answer is absolutely not.

John MacArthur: From certainly a biblical standpoint, Christians could not vote Democratic.

Patrick Miller: We trust the lamb, not the donkey or the elephant.

Keith Simon: This is the podcast that's too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals.

Patrick Miller: I'm Patrick Miller.

Keith Simon: And I'm Keith Simon. And we choose truth over tribe.

Patrick Miller: Do you?

Keith Simon: Michael Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson in August of 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. That event set off protests that eventually turned violent and helped start a national conversation about police violence. So perhaps Ferguson is the last place you'd expect White and Black Christians to worship in the same church, but God specializes in doing the unexpected. Sean Boone is a church planner who started a multiethnic church right in the middle of one of America's most racially divided cities. You've probably never heard of Boone. And by the way, that's what everybody calls him. But even though you haven't heard of him, I think you're going to be moved by his story. In our conversation, we get into how his mom going to prison affected him, why he left drugs and hustling to follow Jesus, how you define a multiethnic church, and why it's harder to pastor a multiethnic church. Now, the name of this church is Woke Bridge, and I told Boone that's about the worst name you could choose from the perspective a large part of our population. The word woke has become so incredibly toxic. So the conversation gets pretty spicy as Boone shares what woke means in his community, and why it's hard for African Americans to get excited about evangelicals. So make sure you stick around until the end to hear us discuss it. Boone, welcome to truth over tribe.

Sean Boone: Hey, what's up Keith? Thanks for having me, man. It's my first time ever being on a podcast.

Keith Simon: I'm glad you're here. You are the pastor, a lead pastor, of a multiethnic church in Ferguson, Missouri. And I don't know if people realize or appreciate how much is packed into that statement. But as we kind of unpack it, what is a multiethnic church, your story, and what Ferguson Missouri is like, and its history, I think people are going to be pretty excited about what you're doing, but also understand that you've bitten off a lot. This is a huge challenge.

Sean Boone: Oh yeah, absolutely. So it's been the joy of my ministry calling, to be honest with you. It's been some exciting things that's taken place. The Lord is doing some awesome stuff, but this is hard work here, bro.

Keith Simon: Well, I can't wait to hear more about that, but let's start back with your story. Where'd you grow up? What kind of family, what kind of environment did you grow up in?

Sean Boone: Yeah, I grew up in a very complicated situation. So I grew up in Peoria, Illinois, which is about three hours north of St. Louis, where we live now, and I grew up in the hood. So I grew up in an underserved African American community. And every week, my mom would either send me or take me to church, Sunday school, and every Wednesday I was going to youth group. Well, at the same time I was experiencing that, so I grew up... Was baptized member of the church most of my life, all the way up until I was about 15 years old, when my mom went to prison. And when she went away to prison is when all of my ties got cut. I was from that point on separated from the local church.

Keith Simon: Okay. So you just dropped something big on us there. Your mom went to prison when you were 15? Do you mind telling us? What'd she go to prison for?

Sean Boone: Yeah. So Keith, here's the crazy thing. Normally I have this problem of oversharing, and early on, I would tell my story. I would say that. And then I came to realize that some of that information was painful for my siblings to hear, and so I don't go that far, but just know that she went to prison.

Keith Simon: How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Sean Boone: With my mom? So it was eight of us.

Keith Simon: Eight of you.

Sean Boone: So it was eight of us.

Keith Simon: Big family. And you were a church- going family?

Sean Boone: For the most part, I would say that we were a church- going family. I think back, we probably were one of the only church- going families on my block. So yeah, we were a church- going family when I was coming up.

Keith Simon: So were you a good student? Tell us about growing up. Were you into the right kind of things, or what?

Sean Boone: Yeah, so I grew up right there in Peoria, right there on the south side of Peoria. And interestingly enough, I went to the same grade school from kindergarten through eighth grade. That's how it happened back in my day. So from kindergarten through eighth grade. Now, kindergarten through fifth grade, it was an underserved all- Black school, kind of like a normal school in the hood. Then it changed into a magnet school, and then from sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, I went to a predominantly White school. Same building, though. And so my experience was unique in the sense that I wasn't bused out. All of the Anglo kids came in to our school, to my school. And so when they would go home, that was still the school that I played ball on. That was still the school that all my siblings had graduated from, et cetera, et cetera. So though I grew up in that unique place where I was in a White school, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, it was different from my wife, who was bused out, who her experience was completely different. So for me, I never had to learn how to code switch. I wasn't expected to do anything like that, so it was unique.

Keith Simon: Well, it's interesting, because that comes back into your bigger story that God used that opportunity that you were with these White students in this school, that you know how to operate in different cultures, I guess. And that becomes part of your story a little bit later. But when you were 15, you stopped going to church. Your mom went to prison. And what goes on there? What happens to your life then?

Sean Boone: Yeah, so my life at that time just spiraled completely out of control. I was in depression. I was rebelling. I was angry. I was ashamed. I was experiencing all different type of emotions I didn't know what to do with. And so that's the time when I really went all in into the drug and the gang culture. Now, thinking about that, I was about 15 years old. Remember, I went to a White school from sixth, seventh, and eighth grade year, which was in my neighborhood. Then I went to an all- Black high school. Then my mom moved, because she knew she was going to prison. There was a possibility that she was going to prison, and she wanted to get me and my sister out of the hood. And so we actually moved to a White neighborhood, and then I find myself in a White high school. So again, I'm doing life with kids that don't look like me. So that shows up a lot of different ways and a lot of different places in my life. At the time, I didn't understand. I didn't pay any attention to it. But now, as I look back in reflection, I see that that was the Lord really preparing my heart and my mind for the work that I'm doing now. And so it's easy for me to do life and function in an all- Anglo space or an all- African American space. I'm okay in both spaces.

Keith Simon: So you said when you were 15, you're in high school. Your mom's off in prison. You're in a new school now, and you start into kind of drug and violence and stuff like that.

Sean Boone: Yeah. So I got completely caught up, and so that's what I did. So though my mom had moved our family to a White neighborhood, I went back to the hood. I went back to where I felt like I was safe, where I felt like I was seen. I went back to where there was a shared sense of trauma. There was other people experiencing what I was experiencing, and they embraced me. They accepted me, they loved me, and they cared for me in that gang and drug culture. And so I thought I'd die there. I thought I'd die young and leave a beautiful corpse. I never had a goal of living past 25.

Keith Simon: So there's not much... Kind of long- term perspective, not much hope that you're going to build a career or get a lot of education or anything like that. You're just living for the moment. And you're using drugs, you're selling drugs. You're caught up in this culture that is very destructive, and I'm sure that had a huge impact on you. It had to be pretty traumatic to be caught up in that kind of stuff. What's your memories of that?

Sean Boone: Oh, so it's mixed. And so of course I didn't at the time realize how depraved that the space I was living in and the life I was living was, so I felt very much at home in that space. I felt loved in that space. I feel cared for in that space. Honestly, sometimes when I think about it, and I hate to say it out loud, sometimes I think that I was cared for better by some of the guys in the hood than I am by some of the brothers in the church. But that's a whole nother conversation for a whole nother podcast.

Keith Simon: So how do you end up getting from drug dealer to pastor? How does that come about? When did you start following Jesus?

Sean Boone: Yeah, that's crazy, because remember I was baptized as a kid, and I grew up hearing all of the stories, learning all of the prayers, all of that kind of stuff. But then when I really went deep into the game, and that's the drug and the game culture, I just never really thought or imagined or dreamed or hoped that I'd ever be back connected to a church. I just didn't think that was a place that had anything to offer me and my people. So I wasn't even thinking about that. But what happened was I think the Lord began to call me into relationship with him. Over time, he began to do things in my heart. I wasn't always aware of it. So first, I want to say that I wasn't always aware of it, and I wasn't always cooperative. But-

Keith Simon: You went kicking and screaming, or something like that?

Sean Boone: I kind of did. Actually, I did. I really did, because I think probably the major thing that happened in my life was when I was serving a one- year sentence in Peoria County Jail. Not a long time.

Keith Simon: How old were you about this time?

Sean Boone: Early twenties.

Keith Simon: Okay.

Sean Boone: And so up until that point, from 15 up until that point, I'm always under the influence. Cocaine, just drugs, alcohol, fast money, fast women, a violent and fast lifestyle. So I was always under the influence of something. So now, here I am doing this year in jail, just long enough to sober up, just long enough to get kind of in shape so I can go back to the street and make a little bit more money and hustle a little harder. At least that's what my plans were. That's what I was thinking. But something happened that changed my life forever, and I didn't realize what it was right when it happened. It's a typical Saturday morning. I'm waiting on a visit. I'm waiting on my girl to come visit me. It's visiting day, and I'm all excited about that, because most of us had visited our mom in prison at some point. We really didn't do the bringing our kids to see us if we were in jail-

Keith Simon: That was kind of the unwritten rule," Don't bring the kids."

Sean Boone: Yeah, that was a kind of unwritten rule, because that was a traumatic experience for most of us on some levels, if not most levels. So anyway, long story short, but this particular Saturday, instead of my girl who's supposed to be there to see me, it's actually my older sister and my son, who's a toddler at the time, maybe three or four years old at the time. And it was during that visit when I believe the Lord had the very first opportunity to really speak to me, speak to my heart, and to show me exactly who I really was. Because it was in that moment when my son broke down during that visit that I had to come face to face with my own trauma. I had to come face to face with the way that I felt the first time going to see my mom in prison when I was about that same age.

Keith Simon: So you walk into the visiting room expecting to see your girlfriend. Instead, it's your older sister with your son. And what's his reaction?

Sean Boone: So he breaks down.

Keith Simon: Okay.

Sean Boone: And so that leads to me breaking down. And then for the very first time, I realized that my life wasn't really my own. For the very first time, I realized that. For the very first time, I was able to connect my trauma, my pain. I had access to it in that moment for the very first time, because I kind of suppressed that. Because the life I was living, emotions wasn't helpful.

Keith Simon: So you had this flashback to you being a young kid seeing your mom in prison, and you thought, what," I'm doing the same thing to my son"? Is that what it is?

Sean Boone: Yes. So for the most of my life, I would have seen myself as a victim going to see my mom. Even though I wasn't aware of the trauma until that day, I was really aware of how traumatic it was and how it had really shaped my life and my heart in some very painful and broken ways. But now, I'm seeing I'm doing this exact same thing to my son, because the pain that was in his eyes was genuine. I knew it was genuine, because I had experienced it. And so the Lord used that moment to begin to expose me to myself. And so that's where I believe the journey began.

Keith Simon: So your conscience is pricked, and you realize," There are other people in my life and I'm failing them, and I'm hurting them just like I have been hurt." So is this your kind of come to Jesus moment? Is it like a big radical switch that you change instantly, or is there more to the story? Is it kind of a slower developing story than that?

Sean Boone: Yeah, that story develops and plays out over time, because A, I wasn't always really cooperative of it. And I think in that moment though, I did kind of go back to my cell and lock back and probably cry for the first time in a long time, a real cry. And then I began to realize," Hey, look. I'm a high school dropout. I have a terrible history with the law. I've been using drugs since I was 15 years old, selling them as long. I'm addicted to all kind of things: gambling, fast money, fast women, et cetera. I got two kids, and I never had a job."

Keith Simon: Your job had just been dealing.

Sean Boone: I was a hustler, yeah. I was a hustler, what I really believed I was born to be. I really believed that I was born to hustle.

Keith Simon: So you get out of jail, and what do you do?

Sean Boone: Well, my girl picks me up. I go to the weed house, I go to the liquor store, and I go back to the game. I went right back.

Keith Simon: It's what was familiar.

Sean Boone: Right, it was what was familiar. And I really didn't know what else I was going to do. I really didn't have an idea of what I was going to do. I had a generic idea, but I wasn't really sure that was going to happen. But then over the course of time, I realized though that I was different. Because when it was easy for me to do certain things and get involved and participate in certain activity, all of a sudden I started experiencing some guilt and some shame. And so then I realized that I didn't know what it was that was happening to me, but I know that I was different. I knew that I just didn't have the same level of commitment to the game and the lifestyle that I had before. And I think honestly, I began to even sympathize with my customers, people who were addicted to crack who were buying it from me on a regular basis. I began to have some empathy and sympathy. So Lord was doing something. Like you said, he pricked my conscience. And so that process was slow, but slowly but surely he continued to call me into relationship with himself.

Keith Simon: So you're doing the same things you used to do before, it's just that you don't feel good about them anymore, that you feel guilty or you feel this sense of shame. But somehow, you go from that to giving your life to Jesus.

Sean Boone: Yeah, yeah. So I think another major thing happened in the midst of that, in the midst of me really beginning to feel the shame and the guilt from all of the things that I was participating in. And the Lord was doing something in my heart and my life. The spirit was at work in me, and I didn't really understand it. I didn't have language for it. I couldn't really identify what was happening, but it was a time during a robbery. I was robbing a person in the family. I'll just say that to make it simple.

Keith Simon: You were robbing him.

Sean Boone: I was robbing this guy, really close member to our family. And then in the midst of this robbery, I looked in his eyes and I seen something that paralyzed me. And what I saw was he was ashamed of me. I was like," Whoa, what in the heck is this?" So I felt shame and guilt at the same time. So much so that I couldn't really follow through with the robbery, and I knew in that moment that... I didn't know what the heck I was going to do, but I knew I was not going to live in the game much longer, because I lost the heart for it. I couldn't do it anymore. What I thought I was built for, what I thought I was born to do, I no longer could do. I just couldn't do it.

Keith Simon: So your conscience won't let you do the same things that you'd been doing. But at this point, you're still not following Jesus. You're not in part of the church. So how does that come about?

Sean Boone: Yeah, because I wanted to turn away from what I was doing, but I wasn't turning toward God.

Keith Simon: Yeah. You're just trying to get your life in order, I guess.

Sean Boone: Just want to be a regular dude.

Keith Simon: Right, right, right.

Sean Boone: Just be a good guy, but I wasn't pursuing that. But long story short, I eventually go to a barber college. I open up a barber shop, which by the way, I worked for 17 years with my wife in this shop. I opened up my barber shop. It was like at my grand opening, the same sister who brought my son to see me in jail shows up at this grand opening at my barber shop. And she's a follower of Jesus at this time, and here she is coming into the barbershop. And all she wants to talk about is what the Lord is doing in my life, and how blessed I am, and" The Lord has a call in your life," and," You really need to be doing this. You need to be doing that." By the way, she lost the son in that same violent lifestyle I was living. And so her oldest son, which was my nephew, more like a little brother, because we were just three years apart, she lost him in the drug and gang culture. So she was serious about it, and she was like," Dude, you need to do something different. You need to come to church." And she just kept bugging me, she kept bothering me, and she was really getting on my nerves. And so finally, I just agreed like," Man, I'm going to go to church so I can get this chick off my back." And so I told her," I'm going one time. I'm not buying church clothes. I ain't saying nothing. I don't want nobody say nothing to me. I'm just going to go." And so eventually that time came for me to go to church with her on that Sunday morning. I went to church on that Sunday. By the way, this is the same church that my mom sent us to as children. So I go back to the same church, and the rest is history, man. The Lord began to call me into relationship. I heard the gospel. I had a working knowledge of the gospel for the first time in my life, and I surrendered to his call.

Keith Simon: So shout out to all the older sisters out there who keep praying for baby brother, who keep inviting baby brother to church, because God uses that. And so you end up going to church and growing in your faith, surrendering your life to Christ, becoming a Christian, a Christ follower, and you start growing in your faith. I guess somebody came along in your life to help with that? Or how'd that-

Sean Boone: Oh, yeah. So my pastor... Shout out to Bishop Smith who mentored and discipled me. He invested so much time with me, and so he's the one who mentored me and discipled me. And I went from driving a church van, to teaching Sunday school, to leading Bible class, to street evangelism, to everything under the sun, wherever I could serve in the church. Because I was at this time just overwhelmed with gratitude for a God that was interested in me, and a God that was willing to take the time to be calling me into this relationship. So I was just like this guy that was just amazingly on fire for Jesus. So I was like,"I'm going to do everything and anything." And I start caring for kids in the church, and eventually my pastor who was discipling me, we began to have talks about me being called into ministry. And I became the youth pastor of that same church. That same church that my mom sent me to as a kid, I became the youth pastor of that church.

Keith Simon: Man, it's just a reminder that God can change any of our lives. That we should never give up on somebody, because God doesn't give up on us. And so God works in your heart and brings you to faith in him, and you start serving at this church that you had once gone to as a child. And then eventually, you end up becoming a pastor of a church, a predominantly Black church. And that's in Peoria, where you grew up. And you're a bivocational pastor. Now, I think a lot of people listening maybe not be familiar with a bivocational pastor. Can you explain to me what that is?

Sean Boone: Yeah, so slight correction. I became a bivocational senior pastor once I moved to St. Louis in 2004.

Keith Simon: Okay.

Sean Boone: So I was a bivocational youth pastor in Peoria at the same church that I grew up in. And shout out to my mom. Oftentimes, I don't get a chance to say this. When she died, she was the oldest active member of that same church. So the Lord not only rescued me, but he rescued my mom and my dad as well. So when I was youth pastor at the church that my mom was a member at that she sent me to as a child... But yeah, then we moved to St. Louis to take this pastoral call, and then I'm a bivocational pastor, which basically means my full- time job where I earned the money to care for my family to place outside of ministry. And so I worked 40- plus hours a week. I probably worked 50 hours a week, because me and my wife, we ran a small business together. Because I was a barber, my wife's a hair stylist, and we worked together side by side for 17 years. And so I was bivocational, which is a common thing in an African American context, especially for the smaller churches, for guys to work full- time outside of the church to provide benefits and healthcare and stuff like that for their family.

Keith Simon: Because you're not getting paid by the church, or at least not very much.

Sean Boone: You're not getting paid enough to care for a family.

Keith Simon: Right. So first of all, idea of you and your wife working side by side for 17 years, I think you could give all of us some marriage counseling. I don't know how you guys made that work, but I'm super impressed. But most of the people listening to this probably are used to churches that have maybe multiple staff members, multiple pastors. But in some smaller churches, both in rural communities but also in the Black community, churches don't have those kind of resources. And so you had to earn income from being a barber and then work in the church. Now, that's got to be pretty tough, right? It's like having two full- time jobs.

Sean Boone: It was extremely tough. Now, when I started, I was very young. I didn't know any better, and there was some beautiful things. The Lord did some beautiful things. People were able to hear to gospel. People were able to receive care. It was some awesome things that happened over those years. But to be completely honest with you, it ended up taking a very, very big toll on my family, on our mental and emotional health.

Keith Simon: Because you were just trying to do too much.

Sean Boone: I was just trying to do too much. I'm working a full- time job, running a small business, pastoring a church, first pastor in a historical Black church, then planting the church, and I got kids. And so I burnt out my family, my wife included, burnt out the core team of people that was planting that church with me, and then I crashed and burned myself. And so it's just by God's grace that it didn't end worse. But yeah, it was very difficult and very hard on our family.

Keith Simon: But nobody can question your commitment. Obviously, it took a toll, and I don't want to minimize that at all. I just want to say, man, you're dedicated. You're not taking a pastoral position because it's the easy road. You're doing it because you think this is what God's really called us to. You're working a job, and then you're pastoring on top of that job, and I'm really impressed by your dedication, your family's dedication to the ministry. But I want to go back to this barbershop thing. Where did you learn to become a barber?

Sean Boone: So crazy thing, my mom bought me clippers when I was 12 years old. My wife has a picture somewhere of me standing in front of a Christmas tree with a pair of clippers. I was 12 years old. Now, back to jail. So now here I am in jail, and picture... People have court dates, and people have visits where their family and their loved ones can come visit them, and they have court dates. And so what happens is they would bring clippers to the pod, and then they let the guys... We'd cut our own hair, cut each other's hair. And so I learned how to cut hair at 12 years old. So I'm sitting here in the county jail. After I watch the guys butcher each other a few times, I figure," Okay, I'll give these guys a little help. I'll make a little money on the side, maybe get some chips, some snacks, some cigarettes," we called them squares back in the day," maybe some squares, whatever," and I started cutting the guys' hair for their court dates and for their visits. And so at the same time... Remember when I told you about my son coming to visit and I started having this conversation about my life, it's going to be different. That wasn't a conversation I was just having with myself. I began to have that conversation with other people. And there's one guy there, an OG who was there who told me I should consider going to barber college. Somehow we got on a conversation of," You know, Boone, when you get out, you're going to go back to what you've always done. You need to quit tripping. You ain't been here long enough to go crazy. You know you ain't doing nothing different." Long story short, he suggested I go to barber college, because I knew how to cut hair. At the time, I didn't even know that it was available for guys like me, guys that didn't graduate high school, guys who had a felony. I didn't know that we had access to it. And so long story short, that's how I end up going to barber college. I took the advice from the OG when I was in jail. And I remember a while ago, I was in jail and I was praying. I didn't know what I was going to do, because I had never had a job. Before I even got out of jail, I had a career path. I didn't know it though, but I had a career path. And so that's how I got into barbering. And I went to barber college, and got out and opened up a shop. And a couple years later, met my wife, and we got married. And like I said, we worked together for 17 years. And the funny thing about it is we ended up in counseling when we stopped working together. It was so hard on us. We didn't anticipate that it was going to be that difficult. So in 2019, as I began to pursue ministry full time and I was no longer going to be bivocational, I stepped away from barbering. So I retired from barbering, and me and my wife was no longer working together.

Keith Simon: And that's when you needed counseling.

Sean Boone: We needed counseling.

Keith Simon: Wow. So take me inside the barbershop, because my understanding is that the barbershop is kind of the center of the Black community, or one of the important places in it. So you were a barber for 17- plus years. What's the barbershop like? Take me inside.

Sean Boone: Yeah, so I was in that barbershop for 20 years. I worked with my wife for 17 years. And so like you said, man, that's the hub. That is the country club. That is the counseling office. Everything happens and take place in the barbershop. That probably historically is if not the, it's one of the safest places for African American men to come and gather. And this is the place where we're able to have all of the conversations. We can cry together. We can laugh together. We're talking sports, we're talking politics, we're talking religion, we're talking relationships. Everything's happened. That's the place where the dope boy, the guy that's selling drugs in the hood, he comes to. And it's the same place where the neighborhood preacher comes to. It's the same place like where the cops come, the inaudible cops, everybody. The guy that's going to college with the wicked jump shot, everybody comes through the barbershop, and that is the place. That's a sacred place almost for conversation, community, and care to take place. It was awesome. It was an awesome experience.

Keith Simon: What a great place for you to do ministry. You got this church thing going, but you're also in the barbershop, and everybody's sharing life together. And you've got these barbers in there, and that had to give you all kinds of opportunities to help people, encourage people, talk about Jesus.

Sean Boone: Man, yeah. So we'll talk about this a little bit later too, but one of the things that stands out to me is inaudible shop I retired from. At one point, the first chair was manned by a guy that's a part of the Nation of Islam.

Keith Simon: Okay, so that's Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan Nation of Islam.

Sean Boone: Right, yeah. So here's a guy, African American guy, first chair.

Keith Simon: He's the barber.

Sean Boone: He's a barber with me in this shop that I own and operate, me and my wife. First chair, Nation Islam guy. At one point next year was an agnostic lady, next year at one point was a guy who was an African Hebrew Israelite, and the next year was me, a Christian pastor.

Keith Simon: Oh, wow.

Sean Boone: And so you can just imagine in that place that's... Every generation of man is coming through, every ideology, every philosophy. Everything's coming through. We're having some real deep conversations in that barbershop, and it was an awesome, awesome time. So I've been doing cultural apologetics for a very long time.

Keith Simon: So if you can handle the questions in the barbershop, the questions in the church seem relatively easy, I guess. But you planted a church. You called it, I think, a homogenous African American church, just meaning that almost everyone, or everyone, I guess, that attended the church was African American. That was with the Southern Baptist Convention, or at least one of the churches you worked in was Southern Baptist Convention. What was it like to be a church planter, a Black church planter in a denomination that was largely White? Was that a good experience?

Sean Boone: Yeah, some of it was extremely beautiful. Some of my best friends and some of the best relationships I have now, especially ministry relationships, guys that I'm in relationship with that's pastors, they're from the SBC. So those were relationships that I built and God gave me an opportunity to cultivate in the 10 years that I planted the church with the SBC. It was a place where God allowed for my missiology to be formed, and for me to really learn about church planting, and about church- planting systems and structures, and so it was an awesome time. I learned a lot. But it was a predominantly White evangelical denomination, and so of course it wasn't always peaches and creams. There were often times where it wasn't a safe place. It wasn't a place that felt comfortable. It wasn't a place that I've always felt like my whole self was welcome. It turned out sometimes feeling like this place where I'm planting a church, an African American, homogenous African American church in the SBC. And it was really high reward for them and low risk, and it was the opposite for me. And so sometimes I felt like that. One time I felt like that was... I was at a conference for pastors and church leaders in North County. So just to make sure everybody knows what we're talking about, Ferguson is in North County in St. Louis. That's the area that Ferguson is in. It's North County. And so because of White flight had taken place in Ferguson, the churches were changing. And a lot of the churches that were there, the White Southern Baptist churches were there, were all facing some membership and number issues.

Keith Simon: Let me see if I understand. North County had been predominantly White, and because of White flight, it is going through change, a demographic change. More and more people of color are moving in. And the people who used to go to these White churches are now moving to different suburbs, and so they're not coming back to the church they went to in Ferguson and North County, and so those churches are declining.

Sean Boone: Absolutely. So that's what's happening. And so I was at this conference where the conversation was held about: How do we, these churches in North County, Southern Baptist churches in North County... By the way, I'm pastoring one. I'm planting one of these churches. How do we become more diverse? And what accommodations do we need to make to make it more accessible for the African Americans to come to be a part of the church life there in North County?

Keith Simon: So that's a good question. They're asking: How do we get more people of color, more Black people, they're moving into our community, to come into our churches that have been historically White churches?

Sean Boone: Yeah. And so for me, that was very, very encouraging to me to be there and to be hearing this. Because you got to remember, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, I'm learning how to do life with Anglos. I got White friends in high school. And so different areas and places in my life, God has placed me sometimes in environments where I'm one of two people of color. So I'm really cool with that, but now I have a question. And so my hand goes up in this meeting, and I'm like," Hey, I got a question. What do I need to do to get some of the White people who live here in North County to come to my church?" And man, it was a awkward silence.

Keith Simon: Crickets.

Sean Boone: Yeah, it was crickets. And it was probably the first time I experienced that. And I realized," Man, maybe I said something I shouldn't have," because it was just really, really quiet, and it was awkwardly quiet too.

Keith Simon: But you asked a genuine question. Hey, you guys are trying to get some Black people to come to your traditionally White churches. Well, I've got this homogenous Black church. How do I get some White people to come? And when you ask that question, nobody has any answers.

Sean Boone: Well, they do have an answer.

Keith Simon: Oh, okay.

Sean Boone: Yeah, so I did get an answer. One of the guys who I'm good friends with today, he said," Boone, I'm sorry, but African Americans have a desire to want to do life with White people. They want to be a part of our world. Unfortunately, that is not in reverse. White people don't want to do life with African American people, and they don't want to come and be a part of the Black church." And so in that moment, something died. Now, I appreciate his honesty, because at least I got that. Because at first, I was stuck to deal with this silence that I didn't know how to interpret. At least now I got something to work with, but something died at me at that moment. And then I realized that," You know what? I'm never going to be good enough in this space. I'm never going to be an equal in this space. No matter what I do or what I say or what I accomplish, I'm never going to be an equal here," and that reality hurt.

Keith Simon: Hey, would you consider supporting Boone and the church plant in Ferguson? I know this is the place where we usually ask you to subscribe to the newsletter, but Patrick and I want to do something a little different this week. I was part of a team that helped plant a church, so I know from personal experience that it takes a few years for a church to get to a point where it can financially sustain itself. Boone and his team need to raise about$150, 000 to make it through this year. Patrick and I are personally going to give, because we really want to be a part of bringing healing and hope to a community that's seen a lot of strife. We're hoping that together, we can and raise$150, 000 to bring support to their amazing mission. How cool would it be to see a church playing a role in healing racial divisions in Ferguson, and know that you are a part of it? Go to the show notes. We put a link in there. Just hit the link. It'll take you to a place where you can get more information and where you can give if you're interested. Okay, now let's get back to the conversation with Boone. So we've been talking a lot about Ferguson, which is in North County. Now, I haven't told you this, but I grew up when I was really young in Florissant, which is part of North County and right next to Ferguson. And so I know a little bit about the area, and one of the things that I know is that the area changed over the last, say, 50 years. In 1970, it was 99% White. Ferguson was 99% White. And then every decade, it seems to have gotten less White and more diverse, more people of color, primarily African Americans, so that today, according at least to the 2020 census, it's only 25% White. It is over two- thirds Black. So Ferguson has really changed. And one of the things that most people listening to this have heard about Ferguson is related to Mike Brown's death, when officer Darren Wilson killed Mike Brown on August 9th, 2014. You were living in Ferguson at the time, right?

Sean Boone: Yes. I've only lived in North County. So I was living in North County, not Ferguson, but I was living in North County.

Keith Simon: So you were right there while it was happening.

Sean Boone: And my shop was in Florissant, yeah.

Keith Simon: We watched all this happen on television. There would be protests and demonstrations during the day, and it seemed inevitably on most nights some of those protests would turn into violence or riots or burning down businesses. And then the next day, it would all happen again. During the day there'd be these protests, and then at night, we just watched businesses get burned. Was your business close to that area?

Sean Boone: Thankfully, it didn't get exactly where we were, but it got pretty close. It got alarmingly close. So we were definitely concerned that it would reach our space.

Keith Simon: And so what we saw on television, you lived through. So help us understand what was it like to be there at that moment with Mike Brown's death, and the protests, and the riots, and the violence, and the police, and the National Guard and all that stuff. Tell us what that was like.

Sean Boone: Man, that was extremely traumatic. That was a collective sense of trauma that the people like me who lived in that community and every person that looks like me across the United States shared in that trauma. It was one of the most painful things I've experienced in my lifetime, was that level of divisiveness, that level of hatred, that level of polarization. And then what we were experiencing, what you said, the real true stuff we were experiencing at night there, the violence, that was traumatizing, because the truth be told, a lot of people assume that this took place in an area that was prime for something like that to happen. But in all actuality, it wasn't.

Keith Simon: Yeah, I wanted to ask you that. Were you surprised that the community responded the way it did? In other words, was there a lot of racial tension that was already present, and so Mike Brown's death was kind of the match that lit it? Or were you really shocked that the community responded the way it did?

Sean Boone: No. So we knew that the community was going to respond the way it did if it didn't feel like justice was being pursued. And so we knew that that was a possibility, but I do think we have to be careful when we say the community there did that, because that is probably the farthest thing from the truth. A lot of that were people who came from the outside. Sure, were there people who live in North County a part of the violence and the riots at night. But for the most part, the people who lived there, they had homes there. They had been businesses there. We had a business there. Their kids went to school there. They didn't want that taking place in their community. My sister lived really close there, and her and her granddaughter, they were afraid at night. And so I think we have to make sure that we clarify that that wasn't always the citizens, the people of the community of Ferguson or North County. People came from all over the country because the level of trauma that was experienced impacted people all over the country. And so it just gave people an opportunity to come and to release some of that tension, and it just showed up in some of the most painful and broken ways.

Keith Simon: So The LA Times was writing an article about the protests and the violence and all that, and it said up until the 1960s, Ferguson was what they called a sundown town, which meant, I think, you can correct me if I get this wrong, but that a Black person was safe during the day, but once the sun went down, they better be out of town. And now, it is a predominantly African American community. How do you think the community is doing today? Has it seen much healing since Mike Brown's death back in 2014, or is it still tense there?

Sean Boone: Yeah, I think that we've seen some healing in some very good ways. First of all, we got to be thankful. You mentioned how White flight has impacted way the community looks now, opposed to how it looked even 50 years ago, even 20 years ago, because we have to be honest about that. A lot of the Anglos moved out as soon as African Americans could legally move in, and so that's the reason why the numbers are like that. But I would say that it wasn't a place where the tension was at the surface. Now, of course there's always going to be racial tension, but if I'm going to be honest with you, the tension is probably only felt by the African American people. Typically, it's felt by the people that is in the minority class when it comes to the situations like this, where we're talking about the racism in America and racism in North County in particular. But it has become a much, much more beautiful place. I believe God used this. And I say that with extreme caution, because I know that Michael Brown had a family that loved him, and Darren Wilson had a family that loved him, and those two families' lives will forever be changed from that day. So I understand the pain associated with that, but I still believe that God is using that and has used that as a pathway for us to have some real serious conversations about race, about race issues. And it's a conversation now that the church has to have. It's not something that we can no longer avoid and just go to our separated church buildings on Sunday morning and process. We had to process this out loud and in the public's eye.

Keith Simon: Well, I'm glad you put it that way, because one of the reasons we're talking about Ferguson and what the city is like is because this is the place that you're planting a multiethnic church. Can you just kind of give us a little bit of background? What is a multiethnic church?

Sean Boone: So historically, what a multiethnic church is in America is when a White church wants to make certain accommodations, now I'm generally speaking, make certain accommodations to make their place more accessible to people of color. And so typically what that looks like is they make some accommodations, but not a lot accommodations. The expectation is still for African Americans or people of color to assimilate into a White church culture. And so that's typically and historically what a multiethnic church is. I believe that according to the definitions, that if a church is 80% of one ethnic group or racial class and 20% other, that is considered a multiethnic church.

Keith Simon: Yeah, if you Google multiethnic church definition, you'll find that a multiethnic church is any church, like you said, that has less than 80% as one race. And that's a pretty low bar. It doesn't take much to have 21% of your church to be other than one race. And yet, if the information I'm reading is correct, only 14% of churches in America qualify by that definition of a multiethnic church. So the vast majority of people who go to church on Sunday are going to churches in which over 80% are of one race. That could be predominantly White or predominantly Black, Asian, Latino, whatever the race is. So you've got a different definition, I take it. How do you think about a multiethnic church as you have started one in Ferguson?

Sean Boone: And so first of all, I'm thankful for the guys who really decided that they were going to push to make their churches to be a more safe and multiethnic space, but I think also this is place for critique there as well. You said according to the last research you saw that only 14% of churches in our country even qualify as multiethnic, with the low bar of 80/20.

Keith Simon: Right.

Sean Boone: Now, I'm going to ask you a question now. What percentage of those churches do you think are led by ethnic minorities?

Keith Simon: I would guess very small. I have no idea.

Sean Boone: Yeah, very small. So not only is multiethnic churches primarily White churches that have made some accommodations, and African Americans or other people of color are expected to assimilate into White church culture, but still church led by an ethnic minority with White folk attending, that's a dynamic that is extremely challenging. So for us, that's what we're pushing back on, the narrative and that paradigm that all it needs to be is just a low amount of people, and at some point there is some assimilation that is expected. Whether that's a church that's 80% African American, and the Anglos coming in are forced to just kind of divorce themselves from their cultural experience and their cultural background, or if it's 80% Anglo, and African Americans come and they have to divorce themselves from their cultural background, which is assimilation. We're saying that the goal of our church is not assimilation, it's integration. We want to have a space where we are safe to be exactly who God has called us to be, and no one is being expected to be anything other. As a matter of fact, we say that one of the things we want to do is celebrate diversity and pursue reconciliation. So when we say celebrate diversity, we want to celebrate the way that God has uniquely made us different. That's something that we can celebrate. It is not something that we believe that we have to divide over.

Keith Simon: So yeah, I like the way that you're thinking about multiethnic specifically in the area of leadership, that you want to have a church that doesn't just have members, attenders who are of different races, but you want to have a staff team and a leadership that is of different races. So that brings me to your assistant pastor, Nathan. Tell us a little bit about Nathan. And how are you guys maybe alike, but how are you different? Where did you guys meet?

Sean Boone: Oh yeah, Nathan. Yeah, that's the little homie, and I'm the OG. Speaking back to what you just said about it being multiethnic in every area, who has opportunity to make decisions, who decides on how money is spent, who gets to speak, all of that... So we believe that diversity needs to be extended throughout the life of our church, from top to bottom, and everybody needs to have access. Everybody needs to know that they're being represented. Everybody needs to know they're being seen and they're being heard, without having to assimilate into being something else. So that's a real big, important part. And you're right, we don't want to just have a diverse audience on Sunday, because we want diversity in people's homes. We don't want a diverse crowd, we want diverse dinner tables. Because right now, in Ferguson and North County, you go anywhere, you go to a park, you go to a grocery store, you go anywhere and there's African Americans and there's Anglos. But the problem is we're not doing life together.

Keith Simon: So you would see African Americans and Anglos, as you say, but they're kind of living life side by side, not integrated.

Sean Boone: Side by side, not integrated.

Keith Simon: They're not talking to each other. They're not doing life together.

Sean Boone: No, they're not. Business, that's it, but not doing life together.

Keith Simon: But you're trying to do something different in this church.

Sean Boone: We're trying-

Keith Simon: Where people do life together.

Sean Boone: Yes. So the goal and the aim is not just a diverse crowd, it's diverse tables. And so we believe that is something that's worth pursuing. It's very difficult. It's challenging. We don't have all the answers, but we're willing to continue to have the conversations. Because let's be honest, bro. And this is hard for me to say, and it's probably hard for a lot of our listeners to hear, so I want to say I'm not trying to be offensive. I'm not trying to start any problems or anything like that, but I have to say some things if we're going to be honest and we're going to have a real conversation here. There was diversity on the plantation, so diversity can't be the aim. But there was no shared sense of power. Everybody wasn't dignified. Everybody didn't have a voice. Everybody didn't have a future, and everybody didn't have hope. So just having a diverse space is not the answer. And so I just want to make sure that I'll say that we are pushing back against the goal just being different people that don't look alike coming together and worshiping together. That's part of it, but we want to-

Keith Simon: It's more than that.

Sean Boone: ...but it's way more than that.

Keith Simon: And I like the way you say that who has the power to make decisions, or to maybe preach in a church, or to make decisions about money, that kind of thing. And you guys are modeling that, you and your assistant pastor Nathan. He's a White guy, and obviously you're African American. Where did you guys meet? How did you guys get to know each other? And how did you guys decide to go in on this church together?

Sean Boone: Yeah. So crazy thing, Nathan and I, we met at Covenant Theological Seminary, where we were both there for seminary for grad school, and we had some classes together. Randomly, we were put on a group assignment together. I don't know if I should say randomly or sovereignly. So anyway, we were put on a group together and we became friends. And shortly after us doing this assignment together, we both discovered that we both had a heart, a passion, and desire for multiethnic ministry. And not just multiethnic ministry, but multiethnic church planning. And so the more we begin to conversate, eventually I kind of scouted him from afar, because I'm the OG. I'm like 20 years older than him. I have kids. I have kids older than Nathan. And so like I said, so I'm the OG, so I kind scouted him out. And so I approached him, and after a couple of conversations, I invited him and his wife AK to prayerfully consider to come and be a part of our planting team and for him to be one of the pastors at Woke Bridge. I told him I wanted to be a part of a diverse church with a diverse staff, and I want it to be Anglo and African Americans, and we needed to figure out how we're going to do this together. And so then the Lord put us together. We couldn't be more different, not just generationally. You know what I mean? But I told you, my parents, they've been to prison. I'm from the hood. Gang culture, drug culture. He's from a very affluent area in St. Louis. We call it West County. And both his parents were doctors. He went to one of the most affluent high schools in St. Louis. So we couldn't be more different generationally, ethnically, culturally, socioeconomically. We just couldn't be more different. In no world do Nathan and I become friends. In no world do Nathan and I do life together, except for in God's church. And that's one of the beautiful things we see about the gospel at work. And what we're doing is not only is it bringing two guys that were far apart from each other together, but in some ways, we're modeling before the people that God has called us to pastor of what this looks like. And they get to see it all up close and personal, the awkwardness of it, the uncomfortability of it, and also they get to celebrate and bask in the beauty of it as well. So it's just been awesome to do life and to work with the little homie.

Keith Simon: I love the way you put it, that you guys wouldn't be friends apart from Jesus. You wouldn't know each other, you wouldn't work together. And when I've met Nathan and talked to him, he's a great guy, but you're right, you guys are so incredibly different. You grew up, like you said, in the hood. He grew up in an affluent neighborhood. You dropped out of high school. He went to a private high school. You went to barber school. He went to a private college. But you see that in Jesus, people of different backgrounds, different generations, different economic statuses can come together and work together, love one another, learn from one another, celebrate one another. And I think it's one of the most powerful things going on right now, in the sense that it tells a powerful story about King Jesus. King Jesus is a great enough king to reconcile those people who would ordinarily, humanly speaking, be enemies, or maybe just even not have anything to do with one another. And so I think your guys' friendship and what you're trying to do through this church in Ferguson tells us a lot about Jesus, his love, his grace, his mercy that's available to all people.

Sean Boone: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I'm agreeing with you. I think the advantage for us is even though we live in this polarized moment where all of divisiveness, where all of the brokenness, everything that we're experiencing as a culture right now, we have access to the end of the story. We know how this story is going to end. And so you think about in Genesis, when God is entering into that covenant with Abraham and he's telling him," You're going to be a blessing to every family, every people group, every person on the earth." And so I believe that the very goal from God from the beginning was to reconcile humans to himself in humans with one another and the rest of creation. And so I believe that just like we see in God make that promise in Abraham, and then we get to look at the end of the story and we see what it looks like, we see every tribe, every tongue, and every nation together worshiping that King Jesus together.

Keith Simon: Yeah, and it's not a colorblind heaven. It's a heaven in which people are of different races, ethnicities, languages, cultures, tribes, like you said, but they all have found common ground in Jesus. And I love the way you put it, because you tell this story about what you're doing in this church through the lens of the whole story of the Bible, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation. What I have found is that some people say that when you start talking about racial reconciliation, or multiethnic churches, or working for justice in this world, that we're confusing the gospel with social issues. Do people ever push back on you in that and say," Hey, you're making this about social issues. And this is really just between God and us through Jesus, and don't bring all those social issues into the church"? Do you ever get that kind of pushback? And if so, how do you respond to it?

Sean Boone: Yeah. I've always found that to be extremely interesting in one way, and then troubling extremely in another way, first and foremost because it pits one against the other. And I just don't think that's what we see is true in the testimony of scripture. And I don't think that we're just trying to make social change just for the purpose of social change. I think we are pursuing God's kingdom, and I think we're rightfully doing so, because we see this is the God of scripture. This is the God who reconciled us to himself through the death on the cross, and that same death on the cross reconciles us back toward one another. So I don't see how that's a social issue. I think the problem is, if I'm being honest, I think people are just uncomfortable because they feel like somehow, some way, they are being isolated and singled out and called out for their sins of racism. And I think that's what it comes down to. I think that's what the pushback comes down to, is people don't want to be made uncomfortable.

Keith Simon: I completely agree with you. When you look at the New Testament, what you see is God reconciling people and Jew and Gentile together. He's breaking down the barrier that kept those two groups apart. In almost all of Paul's letters, that's one of his major issues he deals with, is how people of different ethnicities, people of different languages can worship together and how they can find common ground in Jesus. And I guess one way to say is it takes a lot of compromise, loving your brother and sister in Christ and putting their needs and their interests above your own, and letting go of the way you might prefer to do things. So I think about the churches you were pastoring before, the predominantly African American churches. And now you're in this multiethnic church plant, and I'm wondering what you had to change. Are you doing the things you just always did the same way you always did it, back when you were pastoring Black churches, or have you had to change? Is it harder to pastor a multiethnic church?

Sean Boone: It is extremely difficult. And so I would say that one of the things I was very, very adamant about, and I was clear about with my family and with other African American people in the community that I'm from as we were pursuing this opportunity to plant this multiethnic church was the fact that I was going to be free to be myself, and they were going to be free to be themselves. And so I'm saying," This is a space that you're welcome and you're wanted, and we're invited to be a part of." And so we're not expecting anybody to assimilate, but we're thinking about what does holistic biblical integration look like. And so that was the goal, and that was the aim from the beginning. And so in some ways, I feel really empowered to be true to who I am at our church. And so I believe the Anglos who've selected in, some at a high cost, and African Americans who've selected in, some at a high cost, we've said from the beginning that no one is expected to be anybody other than themselves, which means that Nathan and I have the right and the privilege to be ourselves. So we don't want Nathan to try to be like he's a White guy from the hood, and I'm not going to code switch or be somebody that I'm not as well. So in some ways I'm being myself, but in the other ways, practically speaking, there is a lot of work that has to take place, especially when it comes to communication. Because each week as I'm in the lab preparing for my sermon, I have to run things through two filters, where before I pastored a homogenous audience. It was all African American, and so I was always addressing similar idols and similar fears.

Keith Simon: You knew their culture. You knew how they thought, because it's how you thought. It's what you grew up with. It's people you lived with and loved and were a part of their community. But now all of a sudden, you have people who are different than you.

Sean Boone: I have people who are different from me. So with all those years of pastoral experience, first, I like to say most of it was bivocational. All of it was bivocational. And two, I'd never pastored Anglos. I'm learning what does it look like for me to communicate effectively and efficiently and everybody in the room get the point. Sometimes I nail it, and sometimes, man, I do a horrible job at it. But yes, it is very difficult trying to communicate to people who come from different cultural places. Because you got to remember, not only is our church multiethnic, that's part of it, but it's multi- generational, and it's socioeconomically diverse. It's a beautiful thing. We'll have a single mom on Section 8, and we'll have a doctor. And so we're covering all of that ground. So yes, a lot of things have to be-

Keith Simon: So does Nathan help with that? Do you guys work together so that you kind of help him see how he's coming across maybe to the Black community, and he do the same for you? Or do you have to tell each other," Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa. Don't say that. How does that work out practically?

Sean Boone: Yeah. So yeah. The crazy thing about it is know me and Nathan are way dear. Right? And so we've been, I think, a very beautiful balance to one another, as he's been able to help me hear and see things the way a lot of the people in the audience may hear and see them. So that's a lot of time we have to spend conversating when we're talking about sermons, when we're talking about what we're going to call the sermons, when we're talking about: Are we going to celebrate Resurrection Sunday, or are we celebrating Easter Sunday? All of that stuff comes up, and we're both having the conversation, making sure that we are aware of how everybody that is not like us are hearing and experiencing things. Because here's the crazy thing, Simon. One of the things I found out recently is we have some African Americans that selected in, they're dope. They're willing to do the hard work, because this is not easy work. And we have some Anglos that have selected in, and they're willing to do the hard work. But one of the things I found out... It's crazy. And so some of our African Americans, they feel like they're at a White church.

Keith Simon: Because you have changed? Or no, you said you are who you are, and you're not going to change. So why do they feel like they're a White church when their lead pastor is you?

Sean Boone: Because the other pastor is a White guy.

Keith Simon: And they're not used to that.

Sean Boone: They're not used to that. Our band is multiethnic. The music that we choose is-

Keith Simon: Yeah, how do you do that?

Sean Boone: Oh, man. Shout out to our worship director, TC, but man, that's a lot of work. So we're looking at our songs every Sunday like," Okay, that's a contemporary gospel. That's CCM," and so we're doing all of that work. And so for them, it's probably as White of an experience they have on their leisure time.

Keith Simon: Compared to what they have done before, the way they thought of church doing it before, this seems really different. And I assume the members of your church that are White feel the same way. They feel like they're at a Black church because it's different, right?

Sean Boone: Yeah, that's it.

Keith Simon: So they all kind of feel homeless. But what I love about them... I haven't even met them, but what I already love about them is that they think some sacrifices on their part are worth it. That they think there's something beautiful God's doing here, and that it's worth giving up some things that maybe feel more comfortable to them in order to pursue something greater in Jesus.

Sean Boone: Man, that's one of the beautiful things that we're witnessing, is God at work sanctifying his church. And so what you said, you just hit it. They are still willing to select in because they believe that this is worth it for the sake of God's kingdom. They believe this is worth it for our community. They believe this is worth it for our country. They believe that this is a worthy goal to pursue, and they're willing to sacrifice their preferences and put their prejudice and bring them to the altar.

Keith Simon: So I want to hear some more stories. What are some stories that are encouraging you? Church planning is hard. I've done it. It's a lot of work, it's touch and go, and there are probably some stories that keep you going, that keep you excited, that show you that God is in this. And maybe share with us some stories that we wouldn't maybe hear in our churches because you're a multiethnic church. What are some things you're seeing that you're pumped about?

Sean Boone: Man, you know what? I've been so blown away by what the Lord has done over such a short period of time, humanly speaking. We know some of this work he's been doing before the foundation of the world. But I've been just so blown away at some of the things that I've witnessed, and I'm just so excited that God called me to be a part of it. Now, like I mentioned, it is an extremely difficult assignment, but God is doing some beautiful stuff. So for an example, one of the things that comes to my mind is that my grandgirl... Aubrey's her name. She's five now, and she calls me Big Pop, because I'm just too young and too fly to be called grandpa, period. And so I'm Big Pop. And so she meets this older White brother in our church, and he tells her that he's a grandpa too, but all she hears is he's a grandpa. So she wants to introduce me not to a grandpa, but to her grandpa. So she introduces me to this guy as her grandpa, and I'm like," No, yeah, he's a grandpa." She's like," No, this is my grandpa." And so now when her feet hit the ground, she's running to the church, she's looking for Big Pop, which is me, and she's looking for her grandpa. And she runs into his arms, and she's safe. And she doesn't see him as an old White guy, a conservative evangelical. She doesn't see him as an oppressor. She doesn't see him as a threat. She sees him as grandpa. And when he sees her, he sees her as a granddaughter. That's some of the beautiful thing that I got a front seat to watch this all play out. And not only do I get to see it, I get to look back at a tech table where there's a guy who used to be an African Hebrew Israelite and serving alongside of an older, retired pharmacist, White pharmacist, and they're working together. And they're giving-

Keith Simon: And for those who aren't familiar with the Hebrew Israelites, they are known for not exactly being big fans of White people. Is that fair to say?

Sean Boone: Yeah, that's extremely fair to say. Yeah, that's extremely fair to say.

Keith Simon: There's a lot of antagonism between that particular group, the Hebrew Israelites, and... Long story, we won't go into all their background. Google it. It'll be your friend, and it'll tell you the whole story behind what they believe. But they are very antagonistic toward White people, and so that's kind of the power of this, is that here is a former Hebrew Israelite who has found new life in Jesus, and he is building a friendship and working and serving alongside a retired pharmacist, who's a White guy. And it's got to be cool to see that.

Sean Boone: When you watch it... And so sometimes I have to just remind myself," Don't miss it." Because if we're looking for a miracle, we're looking for something big and grand, it's right here in front of us where authentic reconciliation is taking place, both on the personal level and on the structural level, because we're doing this intentionally in our church. It's beautiful. It's amazing. It's absolutely beautiful. It's my youngest daughter, my 14- year- old introverted daughter, who the closest person she is in the church is Nathan's wife. And so she's never had an Anglo friend in her life, but she feels as safe with her as she does anybody, and that's beautiful. Where else can this happen at? We're getting to witness this. We're getting to watch this. As a matter of fact, my girl, both her and my other daughter spent the night over at her house not long ago, and she gets all giddy at the mention of this girl's name, because she sees her as someone who cares her, who sees her, who values her. And guess what? She's not a White girl, she's her big sister.

Keith Simon: Yeah, I love it.

Sean Boone: And my daughter's not a little Black girl, she's her little sister. And so it's just such a dope thing. And real quickly, I want to share this. Last week, my mom's birthday, it's March the 5th. It's a sad weekend for me, because I'm-

Keith Simon: How long since she passed away?

Sean Boone: It's been about 10 years.

Keith Simon: Okay.

Sean Boone: And so I get to church the Sunday after, the 6th. And so there's a White lady who's a part of our team who's old enough to be my mom, and she comes up and she says," Does your mom work here?" And I'm like," No, my mom don't work here." I don't know where she's going. She's like," Well, you need to make sure that you're cleaning out those coffee cups. You're leaving a trail of dirty coffee cups, and I got to clean them up. And that's not right. Your mom doesn't work here. You can clean up behind yourself."

Keith Simon: Oh, wow.

Sean Boone: And so she said that.

Keith Simon: Wow. She's serious?

Sean Boone: She was serious.

Keith Simon: Oh, wow.

Sean Boone: But she was serious, but she said it with grace and in love. And so I said," Oh, okay, no problem. I can get right on that." And so I thought about it, and I went back to one of the offices, and I thought about it in the moment when I was missing my mom. And most African American churches, it's a matriarchal institution. So as a matter of fact, that's what we call the older women in our church. We call them church mothers. And so in that moment, she was lovingly able to challenge me and care for me at the same time, like a mother, like a church mother, like my mother would. And I had to go back to her and thank her, and say," You know, it's been a hard week for me. I've been thinking about my mom. But in that moment, I felt cared for. I felt that you loved me enough to correct me, even though I'm your pastor. You love me enough to care for me like a mom. That's probably something you would say to your son." And so that's just a beautiful way that God is allowing us to build these relationships where we got people who otherwise don't trust Anglos, who wouldn't really want to be in the same space with them unless they have to be at work. And they're not only coming, but they're learning slowly to see the image of God in their White brothers and sisters, where before they only saw an oppressor.

Keith Simon: Well, I just want to commend you, Boone, because I think a lot of people would have maybe looked at that woman and said," Hey, who are you to talk to me like that? I'm the leader around here." Or maybe they would've let the hurt that you are no doubt experiencing as you were remembering your mom to kind of affect the way that they took that. So I just want to say thanks for being humble and modeling for us humility to believe the best about this woman. Because then she probably did mean it in the kind and gracious way that you interpreted it as, but it took a certain amount of humility on your part to believe the best about her and to say," Boy, she loves me, and that's why she said that hard thing to me." Now, this church that you're planting, you lead pastor, Nathan assistant pastor, your team, you're meeting on Sundays. We're hearing these cool stories of how God is reconciling people to himself through Jesus, but also at the same time reconciling people to each other in this community. The name of the church, you already mentioned it once but I don't know if people caught it, is Woke Bridge. And I just want to say that is probably the most provocative name that you could give a church right now, because woke is one of the most polarizing words in our day in modern vocabulary. I don't know what you could have called your church that would have been more controversial, at least in the White community. You might as well have named it Marxist Church or something. So tell us a little about this. How did you come up with the name Woke Bridge? I just want to hear the story behind how you chose that name.

Sean Boone: Yeah. Thanks so much for our asking that and bringing that in. You know what? I didn't realize at the time. I had no idea that the word woke would evolve into what it means today.

Keith Simon: So when you named the church, woke wasn't being used as it is right now.

Sean Boone: Yeah. And in some ways, it's still not being used that way in my context, in the African American community. So the term woke is used by the people in my community, in my context for a very long time, for decades. And it just basically was that we are aware of what is going on around us systemically, we're aware of the racism, we're aware of injustices, and we need to actively get involved in it in some way or another. That's what it meant, and that's all it meant at the time. It has now evolved into something else. And I also want to name something. It's interesting that the dominant culture, the people who are oftentimes in positions of power, they have the right, at least in their mind, to change a term around and make it mean something completely different than what it was intended to, and then hold everybody hostage to that new definition. And so in some ways, that's what happens to us, is we are being held hostage to a definition of the word woke that we don't adhere to.

Keith Simon: So woke has a long history, and what I understand, and I think this is what you said, is that it just meant to be aware of injustice in the world, to have your eyes open to look at the world. And I'm not saying it was necessarily a Christian term, at least not as far as I know, but we definitely see in the Bible... Calls us to open our eyes to oppression, open our eyes to injustice, open our heart to the foreigner, open our heart and our wallet to the poor, that God cares about people in need. And so for a long time, woke was being used in the Black community to just mean have your eyes open to see what's happening around you, and to try to get involved and bring about justice. And so you name it Woke Bridge with that intention, I guess, but I want you to tell me more about it. But now, woke means things like critical race theory, or it means that all White people are oppressors, and it has been co- opted by the culture and redefined. And so here you are, a pastor of a church who's named your church Woke Bridge, long probably before somebody like me had ever even heard of the word woke, and now the name that you've given the church has kind of become polarizing. So how do people in your community in Ferguson... How do the people come to your church? How do people that you're trying to partner with... How do people hear the name of the church? And what have you had to go through to help people understand your heart behind it?

Sean Boone: Yeah. So first of all, for us, when we were using the word woke, we were really identifying a people group. People who identified as woke in our context also were the ones who didn't believe you could be woke and Christian, because they didn't believe you can be Black and Christian.

Keith Simon: So people that you wanted to reach thought that Christianity was a White man's religion.

Sean Boone: It was a White man's religion. And so I'm coming into this community to plant a multiethnic church, and I know that this is a group of people that I'm going to have to deal with. And the people that I'm caring for in this community, those are their family members. Those are their cousins, their uncles, their aunts, nephews, sons, and daughters, et cetera. So I want to front off the bat say," We know we're planting a multiethnic church in this community, and we know that you have some struggles with our Anglo brothers and sisters, but we want you to know right up off the bat that we see you, we hear you, and we are here for you," to reach them with the gospel. Because we believe that people should be awakened to the injustice around them in the world that they live in, but we also believe that they need to be awakened to the hope of the gospel, and that there's transformation in that. There's hope there. There's a future there, and things are not as they ought to be, but someday, they will be made right by God. And we want to be a part of the work that he's doing and redeeming the world to himself. So for one, that's what we was identifying woke as. These people who we felt like needed to hear the gospel, they're worth it. And I know the term now is controversial, but I still think that group of people is worth it. And the important word for us in the name is not woke. The important word in the name for us is bridge, because we believe that Jesus Christ is the true bridge that bridges us back to our heavenly father, who brings us back into right reconciled relationship with God. And we want to connect the woke people to the bridge, the bridge being Jesus, to this community that we are, a community of faith, where we believe that they're going to be able to receive the care that they need, which we believe is both affirming and encouraging and challenging and critiquing. And so that's the Anglos and African Americans affirming what's beautiful about our cultures and critiquing what is not, according to the standard set in scripture. And then we're a church. And so all of those names together tell our story. We're trying to reach these people for a bridge to connect them to a community where they have connection to the church, where we believe is the institution that God has put on this planet to be his hands and feet, to be his instrument of grace in redeeming the world to himself. That's the church's responsibility. And so for us, that's what that means. And I got to say this as my White brothers and sisters struggle with the name woke, and you can't divorce it from the redefinition of the term. Well, I encourage you to give us the benefit of the doubt and give people the human dignity to create their own terms without you having to change it. And then also, to be thinking about this: We're planting the church with the EPC.

Keith Simon: Now, EPC?

Sean Boone: That stands for Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Now, just like the word woke is loaded for some of my White brothers and sisters, I got to go to my community with that word evangelical.

Keith Simon: And what do they hear when they hear evangelical?

Sean Boone: When they hear evangelical, they hear a political entity that is in favor and support of them not having access to rights, and wanting to deny them those rights.

Keith Simon: That's what evangelical has become in the Black culture that you are planting, at least in Ferguson, Missouri.

Sean Boone: I would say that in the larger culture as well.

Keith Simon: So they're turned off by the word evangelical, because they think these are people who are more political than they are spiritual.

Sean Boone: Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

Keith Simon: They don't see it as a Christian term, evangelical. They see it as a political term.

Sean Boone: Yeah, a political White supremacist Christian term. And so it's loaded with all different type of connotations. And you and I both, even though we don't agree with the way that term is being used today, we don't believe that accurately defines what being evangelical means, I still have to deal with that connotation.

Keith Simon: Well, it's interesting, because we've talked about the transformation of the word woke and how it went from meaning one thing to another. And the same thing has happened with the word evangelical, because evangelical used to describe a certain kind of Christian. And there were four characteristics. An evangelical Christian was one who placed a high authority on the Bible, who saw the cross of Christ as being central, who thought a person needed to be born again or converted, come to faith in Jesus, and who are activists in their faith, maybe through sharing the gospel or being involved in the community. And now, the word evangelical has started to be transformed and shaped, and people don't like it, and it's become more of a political term. So people who don't go to church are now calling themselves an evangelical, because they are identify it more with a certain type of politics. And it's more conservative Republican politics, of course, as we know. And so that word is changing, just like woke is changing. But I love your point that here you are in a predominantly Black community who are trying to plant a multiethnic church with people who aren't used to that, and you're trying to be a bridge that helps both sides understand each other. You're part of this denomination, Evangelical Presbyterian Church. And that's hard for Black people to hear, but you're the woke, the people who have their eyes open to what God's doing in the world, and that's hard for the White people to hear. But you're a bridge reconciling them to God through Jesus, but also reconciling them to each other. And in some sense, it's the perfect name. Now, I'm glad the church I pastor is not named that, because you've got to deal with all kinds of hassle, but it's a beautiful picture once you get it, right?

Sean Boone: Yeah, once you get it. And that's what I ask. I ask my brothers and sisters, my Anglo brothers and sisters who are struggling. They're skeptical, because we say that we're a place that it's okay to be that. We don't believe God can't handle our skepticism and handle the things that we struggle with daily, so just give us a little bit more grace. If it's okay for me to say I'm evangelical, I would like for you to be okay with me to say that I'm woke. If that's okay for me to fight for that term, to champion that term, you should be okay with me fighting for and championing other terms, because you get to hear the way we're using the word woke. And we're pushing back on anything and everything that is negatively associated with woke. We would agree with if that were what we meant, we wouldn't call our church that either.

Keith Simon: You don't mean what the White culture is using woke. That's not what you're about. You're about helping people meet Jesus. And so if people have a problem with it, whatever, it's their problem. You're going to go on following Jesus and trying to do what he's called you to do.

Sean Boone: Yeah. And I do think part of my call in reconciliation is to try to do my very best, humanly speaking, to bridge the gap so the conversation can be had in safe environments, where people see each other first and foremost as image- bearers of God, and we're Christians having this conversation and brothers and sisters in Christ. And so that's what I would say, but the name, back to what it means in my neighborhood and in our context, inaudible the name has been awesome, because when we say that, that gives us a certain amount of credibility in our community already. So people hear that and they say," Okay, they not trying to pretend that what we are experiencing ain't what we are experiencing," because they're seeing the polarization. They're seeing the divisiveness. They're seeing the way the church is split today. And so when we say that name in our community, it helps us. We have people who attend our church-

Keith Simon: Because you're named that.

Sean Boone: Because our name is woke. Because they feel like," If that's what the church is called, it's a safe place for us." But where it has been extremely difficult is... If I can be honest, inaudible, it's been great. But in terms of us securing the support that we feel like we need to be successful for my White brothers and sisters, it has been extremely challenging. We've been outright asked to change our name in order for certain churches that are in our same denomination to partner with us. So it's been beautiful, it's been helpful, and then it's also been harmful. And for me, first and foremost, Keith, I'm a pastor, and I'm called to care for people that show up on Sunday morning, and a few people that's engaging with us online if I'm doing that correctly. But I'm called to care for God's people in front of me. My commitment to the name, that's where it ends, because my commitment is really to care for God's people. And so to be completely honest, if the people that I'm called to care for, if they had a problem with the name... Because I'm going to admit that we have Anglos that are part of our church, that the name is hard for them and their peer groups.

Keith Simon: Yeah. It's hard for them to invite friends, probably.

Sean Boone: Yeah. And honest, that's not our goal. That's not our inaudible. And so I'm perfectly okay with us saying," You know what? We'll move on from that name, because that's not the best way we care for the people that God is sending to us." But I'm not at all interested in having that conversation with people who are never going to set foot in our space in the first place, and to change our name just so that they could be comfortable. Because we're saying that we're planting a diverse church, a multiethnic church, and we have to be willing to set our preferences and our prejudice to the side. And I say this all the time. If we're doing this right, at some point, everybody should be uncomfortable, because that's the cost of doing the type of work that we're doing. I don't know if you've ever seen the show called Roots.

Keith Simon: Roots?

Sean Boone: Yeah.

Keith Simon: Alex Haley?

Sean Boone: Okay, yeah. So you remember the character.

Keith Simon: I remember when I was a kid watching it. I was enthralled with it.

Sean Boone: Yeah. So there was a character in the movie, his name was Toby.

Keith Simon: Oh, I remember.

Sean Boone: His name's Kunta Kinte. I'm sorry. And the plantation owner, his owner, didn't like the name Kunta Kinte, because it was-

Keith Simon: That scene is seared into my mind. I haven't seen it in decades, but I can't get that scene out of my mind.

Sean Boone: So that name wasn't White enough. That name wasn't Christian enough.

Keith Simon: Kunta Kinte.

Sean Boone: Kunta Kinte wasn't White enough and wasn't Christian enough for this plantation owner, and he wanted to change his name to a more White Christian name with Toby. And I tell my White brothers and sisters," Look, I'm okay with being called Kunta Kinte."

Keith Simon: And in the show Roots, the master, the slave master beat this kid. I don't know how old he was. I can't remember.

Sean Boone: Disfigured him.

Keith Simon: It's been so long ago. But he beat him beyond imagination, because the kid refused to change his name to Toby. He insisted that his name was Kunta Kinte. And if I hear you right, what you're saying, and I love this, is that if the people that are part of our church who are bought in and committed, if they want to change the name, fine. That's the responsibility of our community to make that decision together. But we're not going to do it because some White churches that have money are going to try to force that change upon us in order to have their partnership. And for those people that don't quite understand how church planning works, it's very, very, very common for church plants to raise funds from other churches to help them get going. And so that's what you and Nathan and your whole church is doing, is finding partners who want to come alongside and support the ministry. Maybe at some point, it will be self- sufficient financially. Who knows? But that's very common. And so it's these people from the outside that are wanting to change the name, or asking you to do it. And you're saying," No, guys, I'm comfortable with what we have. If our church wants to change it, then so be it."

Sean Boone: Absolutely. Yeah, if it's what our church wants to do. Because here's the deal, Keith. I owe the African Americans, those guys and those girls and those families that have selected in, I owe them more honor than that.

Keith Simon: Than to sell out for money to people who are on the outside, who don't understand what you're about anyway.

Sean Boone: At that point, I'm really a token at that point.

Keith Simon: So I've been on this kick of reading Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and whatever. I go down these rabbit holes. And you know that on several occasions, Dr. King referred to Sunday morning at 11: 00 as the most segregated hour in America. But I had this feeling that if he could see what you're doing, he'd say," This is what the church should be about." More importantly, if Jesus does see what you're doing... Jesus does see it, and I think Jesus is pleased by what's going on. This quote, I wrote it down by Dr. King, I think it somewhat describes what Woke Bridge is undoing. He says this. He says," Men often hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they do not know each other. They do not know each other because they cannot communicate. They cannot communicate because they're separated." And you're doing the work of Jesus. You're bringing people, individuals, families, community closer to God through Christ and through the cross and his resurrection. That's your hope. But you're also in the process of bringing people who are separated together in Christ, people of different economic backgrounds, generations, races, ethnicities, educational backgrounds. That's what's happened in your and Nathan's relationship. It's what's happening inside the church. And I just think God is pleased by the whole thing, and I'm so glad to have had this conversation. As we wrap up, would you just pray for the church? Woke Bridge, that's fine, but I'm thinking more just the church in general that we would find unity in Jesus that would please God.

Sean Boone: Oh, yes. Thanks. And thanks for having me on, man. I really appreciate this conversation, man. It was as close to me being in a barbershop I've been in a long time to have an honest conversation about various topics. Lord, thank you so much. Thank you for what you've shown us and what you've revealed to us through your narrative, through the scriptures, not only the New Testament. Lord, how you are a God that reconciles. You are a God that heals. You are a God reaches down and cares for even the orphans and the widows. Lord, by you showing us that part of your character, you are always displaying that if you are even caring for the most vulnerable people in culture, the most vulnerable people in the world, that the rest of us are safe in your capable hands. Lord, I pray that you would help us by your spirit to continue to have real, authentic conversations around issues of one church, not a Black church and a White church, but one church. And what is it going to look like for us to be able to just continue to chip away at that wall of hostility, and to really be able to engage with one another as you see us as your children, as image- bearers of you, as equal image- bearers of you with worth, value, and dignity. Lord, remind us and show us over and over again that there is beauty in diversity, there's beauty in our unity. And you said that this is how the world is going to know that we are in fact truly your disciples, truly your followers, is if with and when we have love for one another. So Lord, teach us, the Black church and the White church, how to genuinely have love for one another, in that one day in our country, there will be no such thing as a White church and a Black church. There will just be the church. That's my prayer for us today, Lord. I pray you receive it. We ask this in the name of your son, Jesus. Amen.

Keith Simon: Amen. Hey, remember to go to the show notes and click the link to be a part of helping Boone and his team plant this church in Ferguson. Thanks for listening. If you found this podcast helpful, make sure to subscribe and leave a review.

Patrick Miller: And make sure it's at least five stars.

Keith Simon: Stop. No, just be honest. Reviews help other people find us.

Patrick Miller: Okay, okay. At the very least, you can share today's episode. Maybe put it on your social, your favorite text chain.

Keith Simon: And if you didn't like this episode, awesome. Tell us why you disagree on Twitter, @ truthovertribe_. We might even share your thoughts in an upcoming newsletter.

DESCRIPTION

On this week's episode ofΒ Truth Over Tribe, Keith sits down with Sean Boone, a church planter in one of the most racially divided cities in America: Ferguson, Missouri. He and Keith get into what it means to be a multiethnic church and how his church's goal isn't simply integration; it's a lifestyle of assimilation. Boone tells us his incredible story: his life before following Christ, how his mother going to prison affected him, his life in the drug and gang culture, and his eventual "come to Jesus" moment. Hear him share his perspective on building a multiethnic church in a predominantly white denomination and learn how you can help this life-changing cause.


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Today's Host

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Patrick Miller

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Keith Simon

|CO-HOST

Today's Guests

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Sean Boone

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