Wilcrest Baptist Church & Dr. Rodney Woo - The Color of Church
Rodney M. Woo, Ph.D. is the former senior pastor at Wilcrest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas; a multiracial congregation currently represented by over 40 different nations. The Lord faithfully prepared Dr. Woo for this ministry even as a teen.
Dr. Woo, who is one-quarter Chinese, grew up in a predominately African American neighborhood in Port Arthur, Texas as the son of a Baptist “home missionary”. Rodney's father trained him as a teen through ministering in prisons in Port Arthur. Preaching in these prisons further served to plant the seeds for what would one day become a passion for multi-ethnic and multi-cultural ministry.
Wilcrest Baptist Church
In 1992, Rodney and his wife, Sasha, who is of Mexican descent, began their ministry at Wilcrest Baptist Church in Alief, a suburb of Houston, TX. At the time Rodney came to the church, the attendance at Wilcrest had dropped from a high of about 500 down to an average of 200 and was 98% Anglo. This decline in attendance was primarily attributed to "white flight", the predominately white congregation was gradually moving out of the Alief area into other areas of Houston.
Rodney felt called to turn the situation around and reach out in a new direction. He saw that even though many people in the congregation were moving out of the area, there was still a strong need for a ministry to many people of many nations and cultures who remained in the Alief area.
It was at that point that Wilcrest Baptist Church adopted the following Vision Statement: Wilcrest Baptist Church is God’s multi-ethnic bridge that draws all people to Jesus Christ, who transforms them from unbelievers to missionaries.
A Step of Faith
It was a step of faith for the still predominately white church to state this movement towards becoming multi-ethnic. At the time there were very few non-white members, but the Lord was faithful to the desire's of Rodney and the congregation and within ten years the Lord had transformed the declining congregation into one represented by 25 different nations.
Over the last 5 years, Wilcrest has sent over 200 members across international lines on mission trips. As Dr. Woo details, “Our overall vision is to return to each country from which our people have come, specifically with our own missionaries leading the mission group. We have discovered that there is a strong correlation between missions and multiracial ministry in an urban environment.”
Through the joint vision of the leaders and congregation, Wilcrest Baptist continues to grow; reaching out and blessing the community. Continually striving to fulfill the spirit of the Vision Statement by transforming people of all ethnicities from unbelievers into missionaries.
Today, the congregation of 450-550 is represented by 44 different countries with an anglo population of less than 40%. The composition presently includes: 30-35% Hispanic; 20-25% African, African-American, and Caribbean; 30-35% Anglo; 4-6% Asian, and others.
If you would like to visit Wilcrest Baptist Church: Sunday services are at 8:00 am and 10:45 am and the church is located at 10800 Sharpview Dr., Houston, TX 77072.
The Color of Church
In this thought-provoking book, Rodney Woo establishes a biblical foundation for multiracial ministry, provides a clear picture of the current reality of the relationship amongst the races in our society and churches, and offers practical guidance to help implement multiethnic ministry.
The Color of Church unfolds the story of how God has helped Wilcrest understand the biblical principles of a multiracial church that He progressively revealed in Scripture. Each chapter parallels the biblical model or mandate and the Wilcrest transformation story from a uniracial to a multiracial congregation.
The primary audience for The Color of Church consists of local pastors, seminary professors, denominational leaders and lay leaders with a heart for multiracial ministry within the evangelical context. Since the story is told by a pastor of a local congregation, there will be helpful insights that will assist and prepare the church leader for the transformational process of becoming a multiracial congregation. It is the book’s goal to provide an interactive study that will take individuals and local congregations step-by-step through this transformational process. Prompting questions at the end of each chapter offer assistance to any study group or class for further dialogue and inquiries concerning multiracial ministry.
The Color of Church adopts the definition that a multiracial congregation is composed of racially diverse believers united by their faith in Christ, who make disciples of all the nations in the anticipation of the ultimate racial reunion around the throne of God.
Dr. Rodney Woo
Dr. Woo, now finds that the Lord is providing opportunities to teach and train pastors in other churches around the country on how to become multiracial congregations. He and wife Sasha have three sons: Austin, Hudson and Samuel.
A New Calling
In 2010, Rodney answered the Lord's new call in his life to international missions and became the new pastor of the International Baptist Church in Singapore. This church is also a multi-ethnic church in a country with a great need for Evangelical missions.
Wilcrest Baptist Church was honored to send their best onto the mission field, and commissioned Rodney, Sasha, and their youngest son, Sam, as missionaries to Singapore.
Bachelor of Arts in Christianity, East Texas Baptist College, Marshall, Texas, 1983.
Master of Divinity, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas,
Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, 1992. Major Field: New Testament. Minor Field: Evangelism. Dissertation: Paul’s Contextual Approach for Evangelizing the Jews and the Gentiles against the Background of Acts 13:16-41 and Acts 17:22-31.
Additional PublicationsContributed Chapter Twelve, “For Those Revitalizing a Declining Church” in Mark Deymaz’s Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church: Mandates, Commitments and Practices of a Diverse Congregation. San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 2007.
Contributed “An Interview with Rodney Woo,” in Criswell Theological Review. Vol. 6, Issue 2, 2009.
Photos of Dr. Rodney Woo and of congregation of Wilcrest Baptist courtesy of Tate Photography
The following are older comments. Please use the Disqus commenting above instead.