Some of the mainline evangelical conferences are dominated with white leadership and speakers with very little or zero black and brown representation. Evangelical leaders who claim to care deeply about reconciliation and representation fail to show this when they create their conferences’ speakers list. Some evangelical conferences have either all or predominately white speakers and teachers who speak to and from the majority white culture(s) about issues largely facing predominately white Christians, as if Christianity is monolithic.

Even when many of these predominately white conferences include black and brown speakers, the predominately white leadership often makes at least two mistakes that, in my view, perpetuate the very racism they aspire to confront.

First, some white evangelical conferences often only include black celebrity speakers or speakers who already have power and privilege within the evangelical movement. This act enables the majority white culture(s) to maintain their status of privilege and power within the evangelical movement with every little sacrifice at all. Second, some of the white evangelical conferences that include black and brown speakers will limit them to a breakout session or a pre-conference, even if those speakers are more qualified to address the issues than the white speakers given the privilege to speak in the plenary sessions.

This act reinforces the stereotype that black or brown folks are only qualified to talk about matters of race. And this sort of mono-ethnic and Anglo-centricity excludes many black and brown voices that have much good to say about issues facing black, brown, and white Christians.

Urban Gospel Movement
The Legacy Disciple Movement is a much needed urban gospel movement for those (red or yellow, black or white) discouraged by the lack of black and brown representation at some of the mainline predominately white conferences. The movement focuses on training disciples to live gospel-centered lives in urban contexts. This training takes place by faithful biblical exposition during plenary talks and numerous teaching workshops.

Brian Dye, the founder, had a vision to bring together many different voices from predominately black and brown urban contexts from the world of hip hop, pastoral ministry, spoken word, the arts, and the academy to help equip the next generation of disciples. Dye’s initial vision to train small groups has exploded into a national annual conference (The Legacy Conference), meeting yearly on the campus of the historic Moody Bible Institute in beautiful downtown Chicago.

Legacy 2015
The most recent conference in July 2015 had expositional preaching on the image of God and numerous teaching workshops. These workshops focused on everything from Black Lives Matter and eschatology, the image of God, to the doctrines of grace. One of the most powerful things about the Legacy Disciple Movement and and conference is the amount of black and brown speakers and black and brown and white millennial attenders who are hungry for robust theology and eager to learn how to live it out in an urban context.

Life Preserver
If predominate white evangelicalism continues to refuse to represent, and include the many vetted and qualified black and brown faces of the evangelical movement at predominate white evangelical conferences, it will become ineffective in convincing black and brown people that they’re serious about reconciliation.

The Legacy conference might very well be a life preserver for the future of the evangelical movement. This conference represents the many black and brown faces and voices in the evangelical movement in numerous ways. It deals with issues facing black and brown folks in an urban context, and is committed to biblical exposition and robust theology.

As I look around the evangelical landscape, and frustratingly see little representation and very little shared power and privilege from certain majority white evangelicals at certain majority white evangelical conferences, I’m convinced evangelical Christianity needs the Legacy disciple movement, and similar movements, that will represent the changing black and brown faces of evangelical Christianity , that will speak directly to issues facing black and brown and white people. Black and brown evangelicals exist. At the Legacy Conference, we not only exist, but we lead in building up with Scripture and theology, with many from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation that attend the conference.