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Diversity in Faith (9/25/15)

Posted on December 26, 2015 at 7:35 PM

Ministry Moment #4

Diversity in Faith

9/25/15

 

Challenge question for this day: When was the last time, if ever, you had a conversation with, or worshipped with other Christian brothers and sisters who didn’t look like you? I’m talking, skin color, culture, background, ethnicity, or just individuals who for one reason or another, you may not have had any inclination to mingle with.

It has long been observed, and has been often stated that Sunday morning is “The most segregated morning in America”. Regardless of how often we speak of unity and diversity, when it comes down to our worship habits, we have the tendency to isolate ourselves into our own little circles, or pockets of believers while never venturing outside of them for fellowship. To be fair, it is totally normal for us to gravitate toward our own kind to connect with. When I walk into an unknown venue, conference, or meeting, my natural tendency is to scan the room and look for attendees of the same race, but at the same time, I am totally comfortable seating myself among people of various backgrounds as I enjoy hearing their stories and enriching my “cultural itinerary”. I’ve had several experiences over the past few weeks and years where either I struck up a conversation, or had someone of another race strike up a conversation with me and talk about Jesus. I wholeheartedly will confess, that it was when I walked through the doors of an interdenominational, multi-ethnic church over a decade ago, that my world opened up, my life expanded, and my ministry took off and blossomed. I have been blessed to have engaged in deep connected worship with Italians, Germans, Africans, Caribbean people, and many others from different backgrounds, and I am a firm believer in listening to, and understanding how we all have come to trust and believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior. While there are indeed some congregations and people who want to remain separate and don’t welcome others, my personal experiences with multiculturalism have been overwhelmingly positive. We are all Children of God, and as (Philippians 2:10-11) reminds us, every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

Jesus Christ did not only walk among and mingle with those who were Jewish. In fact, He reached out to many other cultures who were shunned by the Hebrews (Having dinner with the Publicans and sinners [Mark 2:13-17]), the woman at the well [John 4:6-29]), and He commanded The Disciples to reach out to all nations, which required courage, loyalty, and faith to achieve. The Apostle Paul made several missionary journeys that took him to Asia Minor, Syria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Britain and elsewhere evangelizing countless cities and training others.

We often get stuck in “doing church” one way and disrespecting others who happen to worship in a different way or style, which is not the core of being a follower of Christ. What matters is that we have accepted Christ, and are willing to tell all who will hear about His love. In closing this “moment”, I urge and encourage all of us to reach out to other Christian brothers and sisters and engage them with our love and respect. When we get to Heaven, we will not just see people who look like us, but rather, a multitude of ethnicities.

Shalom,

Minister E. Lionel Perry

 

Categories: Ministry Moment Series

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