One of the best ways to experience God’s culture is to attend a different church. Not during a mission trip to some far off land, but right in your own community. A simple google search will pull up an abundant list of Christian communities to visit. Are you willing to worship with a different congregation? Are you willing to sit in a different pew and dare to be the different one?
It can be challenging to move outside our comfort zones. In your home church, you know the service format, the congregation by name, even the songs by heart. This is your normal. Sunday mornings at 11:00, continues to be the most segregated hour in America. Intercultural ministry requires us to move outside our normal and chart a different path. Our churches should resemble the communities we serve and we must seek disciples in such a way it brings the diversity of the world through the doors of our churches.
I recently asked these questions to a room full of ministry leaders. To my surprise, everyone raised their hand to confirm their experience of worship in not so familiar settings. In ministry, the experience of walking through unfamiliar doors to join others in worship means you are intentionally seeking to worship Christ with strangers.
Why is this important? As we seek boundless ministry, we must step outside our own boundaries and engage in the change. You know the saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
If the only worship experiences you have are through the doors of your own church, then it’s time to drive a little further towards another steeple, another denomination, or even another culture.
We are the Body of Christ. Religious and denominational boundaries are human made and do not separate us in Christ. I have been attending a variety of churches for many years and my visits continue to awaken my spirit to worship in newness with others who share God’s love.
Here’s the thing. The demographics across America are changing. Are you seeing the same changes in the pews of your Christ community? If not, you may be ready for this exercise towards an intercultural ministry mindset. Pastors if you are finding sameness around you on Sunday mornings, it’s time to get out and worship in a setting with people you do not know. Find a seat soon in an unfamiliar pew and worship God. Maybe you do not share the same religion, denomination, ethnicity, etc. I promise you, you will experience Him not as the leader of the church, but as the visitor…maybe even as the other. Most importantly you may receive an understanding to help you connect with the new faces who walk through the doors of your church.
Since August 2015, I have been serving within a Christ community of Christian Burmese Refugees. I have learned many aspects of God’s culture with my new community. We come before God to worship, pray, sing and give thanks. Connected by the blood of Christ welcomed each other into the community.
Regardless of the boundaries we perceive with our eyes, dare to be the different one. When someone new visits your church, maybe you will welcome them first because you recognize the dare to worship among strangers. We are called to reach across human boundaries. Even the smallest change can…
Awaken Our Hearts