Challenges facing the Multi-Cultural Church

I previously advertised that this post would be about worship leading, but in recalling the many steps we have gone through up till now I realized that it is too big of a leap. To those of you facing similar situations or for some who long for a greater diversity at your church it might be of great value to recognize the unique challenges and battles that come with the territory!

Yesterday someone was talking with me about how to find a church that would take on the burden for reaching some of the Bhutanese refugees in our city. We have labored more than two years doing what we can in outreach even including a missions trip to the camps located in Nepal. It is not an easy work. We have one small Nepali church which has reached some people but there is such a large majority of them who are entirely untouched by the message of Jesus. They are hearing the words but are not receiving a living demonstration of the love of Christ from the church at large. People prefer to drop off bags of clothes or furniture, but the willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to build long-term relationships is of far greater usefulness. There are many social organizations out there and we work together with them to meet needs. But to reach a heart will cost a heart. Souls are won over to Jesus one at a time. No one will come running to our church doors simply because we put out a welcome mat. We must be willing to become the welcome mat! People will know if we genuinely are ready to become a part of their lives. Though the story told by Greg Mortenson in his best-selling book, “Three Cups of Tea”, may not be entirely accurate in some details, the ideas behind the book are absolutely true. Until we are willing to sit on the floor and drink tea together we will never truly reach people for the cause of  Christ. The Apostle Paul said it this way:

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

We must become like a bridge. On one side stands the love of Jesus Christ and on the other a people He longs to reach. Until we are willing to stretch ourselves across the divide they will never have the chance to receive Him. Daily the problems and the opportunities stretch before us. Time is short and we are not the only voices calling out to them. There is only today that God gives us to reach others. Tomorrow they may be so caught up in the pursuit of material things that the voice of God will begin to fade. Tomorrow circumstances and difficulties may suddenly sweep away today’s chance to reach someone with the love of God.

Ant the Chris Tomlin concert

At the Chris Tomlin concert

Today we face barriers of culture, barriers of language, barriers of crazy hot food! But when we think of how small the cost, and how great the value of a single person we must begin to trust God for a way through. Those mountains that seem to be insurmountable are the exact path our Savior leads. He has promised he will make the way. It is not only making a way for us, but also making a way for those whom we are desperately trying to lead into His arms! For those who are working or planning to work in the cross cultural church of today we must face the reality that there is a battle ahead, But then there is also the reality that we can rejoice in the fact that the Lord of Heaven’s armies is on our side. The church was His idea! He will be with us through it all!

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