(Editor's Note: This post is part 2 of a 3-part blog series on Planting a Multicultural Church)
Once you plant in a diverse area, you must make the demographics of your target community an undeniable reality for your core group to consider. But even if the demographics of your area are off-the-charts diverse, those of us in the majority culture have an involuntary way of seeing what we want to see in a community. It’s your job as pastor to make sure your people know the Gospel imperative to love all of your neighbors. It’s not a Gospel suggestion.
As God calls the right people to join you—people who are aligned to the vision of the church—help your church recognize their natural tendency to not even see their foreign-born or minority culture neighbors. The cultural inertia in the majority culture of any society is to see and spend time with the many people who are like them. The same principle actually holds true for minority cultures—we all naturally want to hang around people who are like us or who share in common interests with us.
The Gospel disrupts that inertia like a speed bump, pushing against isolation and homogeneity. Jesus calls those from the majority culture to take a posture of cultural humility, and those from minority cultures to be motivated not just to find a church where people share in their language and values but where he is central, his grace reigns and where diverse people are being drawn into his Kingdom.
The Gospel calls us first to see our neighbors from the nations and then to love them.
For us, those “speed bumps” have been relatively simple things like knowing the current demographic breakdown of our community (and talking about it). We’ve also made a point to pray for those people of minority cultures in our services, in our small groups, and in our families.
What Gospel “speed bumps” can you place in the lives of your church to help them stop and see their neighbors—all of them—as people made in the image of God?