Story Saturday- Reaching Across Races

Dear Christ Church,

When I was first praying and dreaming about starting this church, one of my prayers would be that our church would be a community that reflects the beautiful diversity that exists in our neighborhood.  When Jesus gave the church our mission he said, “Go into all nations and make disciples.”  The word for nations is ethnos, which literally means, people group.  The church is not meant to be segregated, but rather a people brought together, from every people group of the nation, in unified worship of our savior, Jesus.  This is how the church exists in heaven.  

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Rev 7:9-10 ESV)

In heaven the church is multi ethnic and it is not color blind, but colorful.  You can see people from different tribes and peoples.  You will hear different languages spoken.  There is every diversity present for diversity is something that God created for His glory.  Yet, in that diversity there is tremendous unity, because while we are all different colors in our skin, we all are clothed in the righteous robes of Jesus.  And while we all speak different language, we all sing one song; the song of our salvation in Jesus.  This church that exists in heaven is something that God wants us to experience here on earth.  How did Jesus teach us to pray?

Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Mat 6:9-10 ESV)

God wants us to cry out for his kingdom, his diverse kingdom, to exist here on earth as it will in heaven.  

This was one of my driving burdens to plant Christ Church.  I wanted to see a community created where people from all ethnicities and cultures could come together and celebrate their diversity as a testimony to the powerful unity that Jesus brings.  This has been something I have been praying for, working for, taking hits on social media and in our neighborhood for, and by the grace of God, we are beginning to see some fruit.  

Two weeks ago, I pulled together a group of people from our church who represented 7 different ethnicities and others who have experience in cross cultural missions.  The purpose of the meeting was to begin to have a conversation about how we can grow even more as a church in strategically engaging the many different ethnicities that exist in our neighborhood.  I started the meeting just by having each person go around the room, introduce themselves and share why they care about this conversation.  My goal was just to break the ice a little bit and allow people the opportunity to get to know each other.  I did not anticipate being moved to tears, but at the end of about 40 minutes of “introductions” I was crying as I saw before my eyes flesh and blood answers to my prayers for our church.  People were pouring out their hearts to see racial reconciliation happen.  People were confessing their previous ignorance and even various forms of prejudice that they had held before.  People were sharing their prayers that they would be in a church where conversations like this would happen.  Story after story went on and I grew more and more moved as we went around the room.  

I don’t know what will come of these conversations.  Being a truly multiethnic church is certainly going to take hard work, tremendous sacrifice, a lot of faith and prayer.  However, I can’t believe how God has already been answering my prayers through the people that He has brought to Christ Church.  We aren’t a big group of people.  We aren’t one of the “fastest growing” churches in the city.  But God is doing a rich and powerful work here.  Be encouraged Christ Church!  The Lord is on the move.  Let’s keep pressing into him and praying that through us he would show our neighborhood the power of his love that reaches across all boundaries, even racial.

See you around the neighborhood,

Pastor Jeff

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