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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:
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: