Gerardo Marti, associate professor of Sociology at Davidson College, says, “In the 1990s, every institution in society was diversifying faster than the local church.” Since that time, predominately white congregations have been aggressively playing catch-up to avoid what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the most segregated hour of Christian America”: Sunday morning worship. Pastors and worship leaders have done so by diversifying their liturgy and worship music, which many scholars and leaders saw as essential in stimulating diversity in congregations. Marti, in his book, Worship Across the Racial Divide, published in 2012 by Oxford University Press, suggests that move may have created more problems than solutions. “We have a lot of beliefs about how blacks or Latinos, even Asians, are supposed to worship, and that is moving a lot of pastors and worship leaders to implement ideas that are ill-founded.” In his book, Marti draws on interviews with more than 170 congregational leaders and parishioners in Protestant, multiracial churches in Southern California. These interviews, and his own worship experiences in many of these congregations, shape his insights on worship and music in racially diverse churches. Grace and Peace Magazine met up with Marti at the 2013 ANSR Conference (Association of Nazarene Sociologists and Researchers) in Lenexa, Kansas, where he was a keynote speaker, and asked him a few questions about his insightful book.


Video 1: Gerardo Marti - The Role of Worship Leaders
(3 minutes)


Video 2: Gerardo Marti - The Practice of Music
(2 minutes, 58 seconds)


Video 3: Gerardo Marti - Using Music for Diversity
(2 minutes, 45 seconds)


Video 4: Gerardo Marti - Diversifying Worship
(2 minutes, 40 seconds)