I love being the pastor of a multi-ethnic church. Whether it’s sampling pupusas at a potluck breakfast (our next one will be Sept. 22) or enjoying the variations of expressiveness during Sunday morning worship, I really appreciate being part of a diverse community of people trying to follow Jesus together. In fact, I think the Scripture is clear that our diversity is literally a little taste of heaven. After all, in Revelation 7:9-10, John describes his vision of heaven with these words:
“After this, I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb [Jesus]. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”
Indeed, heaven is a place with all kinds of people worshiping Jesus together. It’s going to be amazing! So, that’s why I love a multi-ethnic church. It gives a glimpse into what heaven is going to be like.
Meanwhile, most of our time spent on this planet is anything but heavenly. In a sin-stained world, we are touched by all kinds of problems—racism, domestic violence, sex trafficking, and the sad list could go on and on. What do we do? Should we hide? Should we circle the wagons and hope evil doesn’t find us? No, Scripture tells us to “overcome evil with good.” (Romans12:21) What does that look like? It’ll probably look different for different people. [I recommend this article from Family Life outlining a biblical response to racism: http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/life-issues/challenges/cultural-issues/responding-biblically-to-racism.]
What This Looks Like at ICC
At our church, it means you’ll see different kinds of people around—not just in the seats, but on the stage, serving and leading. You’ll see men, women, kids, young adults, senior adults, tall people, short people, folks with a variety of skin colors, some with tattoos, wealthier people, poorer people, lots of different kinds of people!
- We will support Pastor Andrew Wafula Wanyonyi and his orphanage in Kenya.
- We will encourage adoption at home.
- We will sponsor impoverished children abroad.
- We will support Christian leadership development around the world.
- We will provide school supplies for under-resourced children locally.
- We will send Christmas gifts to needy children in faraway places.
- We will support those who combat domestic violence.
Most of all, it means we will celebrate the God who loves us and made us all so differently—the same God who offers forgiveness, grace, and new life to everyone who turns to Jesus.