• Columbia Heights Parish
Columbia Heights Parish

Columbia Heights Parish

Address

Columbia Heights Educational Campus
3101 16th St NW

Service Times

10:00am & 11:30am

Kids' City  offered only at 10am service.

 

 

Pastor

Aaron Graham

Contact


Go

Contact Us

  • Phone: (202) 558-9745
  • Email: 
  • Mailing Address: 1616 7th St, NW, Washington DC, 20001 

 

Blog

Our Vision for Being a Multicultural Church

Posted by Aaron Graham on

As we move into 2017, I wanted to pause and give thanks for a vision that I believe God has given us as a church.

One of the things you may have noticed if you are new to our church is how diverse our church is racially. We have almost 60 nationalities represented in the church.

Something we have done over the last couple years is more explicitly root our vision for being a multicultural church in the gospel and to intentionally communicate that in a world that seems increasingly divided along racial lines.

There are three main pieces to this vision of being a multicultural church:

  • Reconcile people to Christ. This ministry is rooted first theologically and not politically or sociologically. The reason we are committed to this work is because there are so many people who are far from God that we want to see come into a relationship with Christ. When Sunday morning is the most racially segregated time of week in society our witness for Christ suffers. Jesus said in John 17 that the world would know of God’s love for people far from him when the church is unified as one. We engage in this work because we believe that when the church reflects the divisions of society it hurts our witness and our opportunity to lead people into an eternal relationship with Christ.
  • Reflect the diversity of Heaven. In Revelation 7 we see a vision of Heaven of every nation, tribe, people, and tongue gathered before the throne of God worshiping Christ. It is a vision of people not losing their racial and ethnic identity but bringing it with them to Heaven. Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” If Heaven is this diverse then I believe the church should be as well. We are to be a foretaste of the coming Kingdom.
  • Reflect the diversity of our city. The nations have come to many of the urban cities of the world, including here in Washington, DC. This creates an incredible opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matthew 28 to go and make disciples of all nations. Reaching the nations for Christ used to necessitate crossing the ocean, but today we often just need to cross the street! The US has even become a mission field for people to move here from other nations. As we build bridges cross-culturally we have the opportunity to address one of the greatest historical strongholds of our nation and of our city.

Over the last six months we have been experimenting with creating affinity spaces for people in our church to come together around their shared racial experience. Black, Latino, and Asian American Pacific Islander. These groups have provided space for friendship and healing. They have also created opportunity to learn and educate others about the call to biblical justice related to issues facing each community.

While some of these function as small groups, most of them function mostly as social and educational spaces. Not everyone is expected to be involved in these gatherings even if you identify with that specific race. Also, not everyone is invited to all these gatherings. They function similar to a men’s or women’s small group or a couples small group. It would be awkward for me to show up at a woman’s group unless I am invited. Or to show up at a couple’s group if I’m single. That doesn’t mean that those who get together in these specific groups are not committed to being in co-ed spaces or in space with singles as well. It’s just that it is sometimes helpful to have space with others who share your same stage of life or experiences in life.

The thing I wanted to share is how the Lord has been using these spaces to fulfill the vision of reconciling people to Christ. There were even folks baptized last month that came out of this vision. People coming to these groups that don’t even come to our church.

While it can seem counterintuitive at first to break people out by their racial experience when the vision is to bring people together, we have seen this bearing fruit that I believe is bringing God much glory.

The reality is that we live in a world too often divided along racial lines, and because of the sinful history we have as a country related to race, it is often necessary to create spaces for healing. Sometimes just for one meeting, and sometimes for many months or years. Regardless of how long they last the vision is always to be part of the multicultural vision of the church. Not because it is politically correct, or because of some sophisticated policy or sociological analysis, but because of the gospel message we have been given to reconcile people to Christ and reflect the coming Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.

I want to encourage you to continue to pray for this work in our church. To pray for more and more walls that exist in society to fall, and for more and more people to encounter Christ as they encounter this ministry.

 

To learn more about this vision, check out our past sermon series:

A Call to Racial Reconciliation - 2016

Every Nation, Every Tribe - 2015

Tags: affinity, affinity groups, diversity, multicultural, race