Your church could be culturally diverse

18 11 2012

Here is an excerpt from THE AMAZING POTENTIAL OF ONE SURRENDERED CHURCH, p.14, that talks about how a few individuals can shape the cultural make-up of their local congregation:

A church today might be surprised if they spent a day discussing, “Who are the people we usually speak to?” Every church has its habits, including certain conversations it has and certain ones it does not. It would help to then ask, “Who are the people we don’t usually speak to?” with the follow-up, “Why don’t we?” Precedent blindfolds us.

Our churches are in towns or cities in which diverse kinds of people intermingle with each other but don’t really see each other because they move around in different layers of interaction. For example, I (a Caucasian living in North America) can walk by a nearby school and pass a man from India who wears a turban, but I don’t think of befriending him or even greeting him because he lives in a different layer than I do. I figure he wants to be left alone. He and his family speak, eat, and worship near me, maybe even next door, but they are hidden by my precedent of getting to know people who are similar to me.

But the Antioch story would not have been told if everyone stuck with precedent, if all had continued doing ministry the familiar way, speaking only to people similar to themselves. There would only have been a Jewish congregation or two, rather than the Gentile church that had such amazing impact. What were needed were a few ground-breaking innovators who envisioned a church where everyone else saw people-we-don’t-often-talk-to.

FOR DISCUSSION

  1. What are the cultural and economic “layers” (i.e. groups of people) in your town or region, and what kind of people are in them?
  2. What layer(s) currently feel comfortable in your church?

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