First Draft: Only by Prayer

First Draft: Only by Prayer

I’ve always been intrigued by the scene in Mark 9: 14-29. The disciples tried to cast out an unclean spirit and failed to do so. The father pleads with Jesus to help his son. Jesus asked him a question and the father answered, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus, replied, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Without hesitation the father said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” and it was granted to him. I’ve quoted that line many times: Lord, I believe, help my unbelief! But it isn’t that line that intrigues me most. At the end of their time there, the disciples pulled Jesus aside and asked him why they couldn’t cast it out. Jesus replied, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Prayer. That’s what the disciples were lacking. It wasn’t that they needed greater knowledge or more strength. They didn’t need an increased gifting or boldness. The disciples needed to pray and ask God to do what only he can do. And that’s what you and I need too.

I became a Christian at the age of 22 but it took three years from the first time the young girl shared the gospel with me to the moment I surrendered my life to the Lord. After I became a Christian, her friends and other church members would come up to me at different times with a repeated phrase, “I had been praying for you!” That stuck with me. All of those people had been praying for me for years and God heard their cries on my behalf. What captured my heart and attention could not be driven out by anything but prayer. Now I’m his forever.

Maybe there’s something impossible that you have on your heart but have been reluctant to bring to the Lord. If you are anything like me, perhaps you haven’t asked him to do a miracle because you are afraid of being disappointed. That’s where we join the father in Mark and proclaim, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” Today, ask God to do the impossible. It just might be the thing that cannot be driven out by anything but prayer. Pray—he is listening.

(Over the next several months I will be running a series on my site called First Drafts. You can learn more here and feel free to join me in writing your own first draft series!)

First Draft: A Blogging Series

First Draft: A Blogging Series

Over the past few weeks, prolific blogger and author, Tim Challies, has posted a series of tweets and an article lamenting the changes he is seeing in the blogosphere. In short, writers are simply abandoning blogs, at least blogs that are personally owned. I believe he is right and as I’ve thought about it in regards to my own site, I know why I have not posted as frequently and it is simple, time.

It takes time to write, then edit, and then have someone else edit. Writing often takes research and reading and referencing. Then you have to upload it, add links if you have any, find a picture that works, and make sure when you hit publish it actually publishes correctly. That has been my experience and I’ve had to weigh whether or not I can spend that amount of time and effort on a blog or if it would be best spent writing articles for other outlets where there’s an editor in place and someone who can take the time to upload the post, etc. And evaluating my own blogging habits has also revealed a level of fear.

I think part of the desire to write and edit and rewrite is because people are actually reading my words and I don’t want to publish something with errors or something that could prove to be unhelpful. I want my work to be readable and relate-able. I also fear the Lord—I will give an account for every word typed on this site. Yet, I also believe there’s an unhealthy fear. I don’t want to be thought of as a terrible writer. I want to polish my craft and make sure that the commas are in the right place and the grammar isn’t awful. I hesitate then to publish because I want to look good. That’s a terrible reason not to write. In my heart of hearts I desire to serve you, my reader, and also in the back of my mind I wonder if I’m good enough. Did that sentence need a comma? Am I using passive voice? Yes, those are the things I worry about.

I imagine that temptation to fear pushing publish isn’t isolated to me. I know it’s not. I know others fear but for other reasons. Mine is about grammar but I know others would be about content. People hesitate to write because they want to make sure it appeals to the current issues of the day or that the reader would enjoy reading the content rather than writing about something the author actually enjoys writing about.

So, what you’ve stumbled upon here is a first draft. (Actually, my computer froze and I lost the last two paragraphs. So, this part is new. See, writing takes time!!) Over the next few months, I’m going to write first drafts and post them. No editing. No scheduling when it’s done. I’m going to write when I can during the week, giving myself about 30 minutes and then post it. I will look for a photo but I’m not going to spend more than 5 minutes hunting. I will write about whatever my heart desires: my time with the Lord, the weather, what I’m reading, confession, whatever. This series will be appropriately called First Draft. J

What about you?

Do you read blogs or has your blog reading slowed down? Are you a writer and have you stopped posting on your site? What would you enjoy seeing me write about? If you had a blog, what would you write about?

Pastors Pursuing Diversity: Interview with Dave Furman

Over the next few months, I have been conducting interviews with pastors who are pursuing diversity in their congregations. You can read more about the series in the introduction. The series will end in two weeks. 

The questions are geared to help pastors and congregations in the pursuit of diversity in the church and all of life. All of the views, opinions, and suggestions are that of the interviewee. The goal of the series is to provide a resource from a variety of pastors, and therefore opinions may also vary.

(Due to length, please feel free to print interviews for future reading and referencing)

Dave Furman moved to the Arabian Peninsula in 2008 to plant dave furmanRedeemer Church of Dubai and help start a church planting movement. Dave serves as the Senior Pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai—Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Have you always had a desire for a divers or multiethnic church and if so, what has fueled this desire?

Furman:  Yes.  I’m compelled by what we see in Scripture how God is gathering to himself men and women and children from every tribe on the earth to worship the Lamb through all eternity. It just thrills my heart to consider that that’s how his will is done in heaven. Let his will be done on earth!

How have you sought to build diversity within your congregation?

Furman:

• We intentionally meet for corporate worship in the most diverse part of our city.

• We have elders and staff from many different countries.

• We welcome participants in our worship service from different backgrounds.

• We pray for different countries and unreached peoples each week in our prayer of petition.

How have you sought to cast this vision to your members?

Furman: In our preaching, teaching, and discipleship we affirm God’s vision for diversity as it is laid out in all the Scriptures. We recognize that there are things that stand in the way of our unity (i.e. our sin) so we seek by God’s grace to repent of those things and keep the reconciling cross of Jesus central in our relationships.

Do you have a diverse staff as well?

Furman:  Yes – on staff we currently have an Australian, an African, Indians, Filipinos, and Americans; the elder board is similarly diverse.

What do you see as the benefit of having a diverse church?

Furman: People often remark to us after visiting our service for the first time that “it felt like a little taste of heaven.” We agree. It’s a joy to worship with the nations as it points us to eternity when we will be worshiping our great King with people from all nations and all times.

It just blows me away when I see people from countries that are at war with each other stand next to each other and sing to Jesus together as brothers and sisters. This reminds me and shows me that Jesus is the singularly most valuable treasure that any man or woman can have in all the world. He is so much more than a mere “common cause;” he is our Creator and he is our Redeemer.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your testimony? Did you grow up surrounded by diversity?

Furman: I moved around a lot as a child so I was accustomed to meeting people from different cultures. After I became a Christian my freshmen year at university I realized that there were actually people who had never heard of Jesus. This led me to take trips around the world to bring the gospel to some of the harder to reach places. After my wife Gloria and I were married we began taking trips around the world together and our love for the nations increased. We both knew that there was nothing else we’d rather do than take the good news of Jesus to our lost brothers and sisters.

Have you had any fears as you’ve pursued diversity? Have you struggled with doubt that it is possible?

Furman: In our multi-ethnic setting you always wonder how possible it is to connect to the hearts of all the different cultures. You realize that one sermon might have led to transformation of people from one culture and offended another at the same time. It’s one thing to go reach one specific culture, it’s another thing to have 50 nationalities with you at any one time. I think the main help is trusting God to overcome my weaknesses and inadequacies. I have to trust that the wisdom of his word is greater than my bright ideas.

When I am weak he is strong.

Do you do anything unique with your service?

Furman: Actually, we don’t. Now, I know some churches do some unique things and I think those can be useful in the right settings. However, we’ve chosen to not focus on things in our worship gathering in order to please any specific culture, but instead to focus on things that all Christians do: We practice the ordinances (baptism and Lord’s Supper), pray, sing, read, and listen to the word of God read and preached. By focusing on what unifies us the Spirit of God has drawn in people from far more countries than we ever imagined.

What are the demographics of your congregation (if you happen to know)?

Furman: We have over 50+ different nationalities who attend our corporate worship service each weekend. We’re approximately 80% Eastern (African, South Asian, East Asian) and about 20% Western (Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia). The top two nationalities in our congregation would be 1) Indians and 2) Filipinos, and even between those two countries there are many distinct ethnolinguistic people groups!

If you could give any advice to a pastor who desires to pursue diversity within his congregation, what would you say to him?

Furman: I would tell him to never lose the gospel for the sake of unity in diversity, but to preach the unadjusted gospel consistently without fear of man. I would tell him to never water down theology to a lowest common denominator in order to accommodate more people and cultures, but to consistently preach rich doctrine as seen in Scripture.

I would tell him to never do anything to unnecessarily alienate or elevate any one culture as more valued than another, but to recognize that God equips all of his children for service to the body.

I would tell him to never plan and create vision for our worship services alone, but to seek the input from a diverse group of leaders from within our church.

If you were asked to speak to a congregation who was about to begin a series of initiatives in hopes of building a more diverse congregation what might you say to them?

Furman: I would tell them to be careful of raising the banner of diversity as their supreme goal.

Diversity is wonderful but it is a temptation for churches who want diversity to make it their distinguishing mark. Diversity becomes the good news in these churches. We must never move on from the true gospel as our centerpiece.

I would also tell them to pray for God to gather Christ’s body together in whatever diversity that looks like for your local church, and to do the things I mentioned above (consider meeting location, staff, participation in the body, etc.)

Did you actually do anything differently to pursue diversity? Do you think it is necessary?

Furman: As I mentioned, we focus more on the things that unify us and exalt Christ not any specific culture.

How do you think that the Great Commission can motivate a pursuit of diversity?

Furman: The Great Commission necessarily motivates us to pursue diversity in that it motivates us to go into the outermost reaches of the earth, calling out to our lost brothers and sisters who still live in the darkness– our Father wants us to come home and our Elder Brother has provided a way. In light of the Great Commission, there is no place in this world that we can avoid if we want to go find our lost sisters and brothers.

I, personally, believe diversity begins in the home. In other words, we are adopted into a new family and that family, the church, is beautifully diverse. We should seek not to have a face change in our churches but to have it in all of life—our lives should include those unlike ourselves. Do you agree? If so, how might you encourage members to build diversity in their homes?

Furman: I think diversity in the home has to start with the heart’s orientation to love what God loves. When we are digging deep into God’s Word we see the things that he loves, and that includes the precious gift of fellowship with the people he has created for his glory.

Pastors Pursuing Diversity: Interview with J.D. Greear

Over the next few months, I will be conducting interviews with pastors who are pursuing diversity in their congregations. You can read more about the series in the introduction.

The questions are geared to help pastors and congregations in the pursuit of diversity in the church and all of life. All of the views, opinions, and suggestions are that of the interviewee. The goal of the series is to provide a resource from a variety of pastors, and therefore opinions may also vary.

(Due to length, please feel free to print interviews for future reading and referencing)

J. D. Greear is the Pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-JD headshotDurham, NC where he has served since 2002. He is the author of Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved (2013) and Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (2011).

Have you always had a desire for a diverse or multiethnic church?  If so, what has fueled this desire?  If not, when did it change and why?

Greear:  Since the church was re-launched as the Summit Church in 2002, our desire has been to reach and serve our entire community. Since we live in a city that is itself very diverse, we believed our church should reflect that diversity. From the very beginning, God allowed us to reach people of other nationalities. This was, however, a byproduct of our ministry, and not a focus. Only in recent years has it really become a priority. One of our pastors spoke a prophetic word over our church about 8 years ago, saying this was what God wanted from us. About 4 years ago, it became an “agenda” item, actually affecting how we programmed and staffed.

How have you sought to build diversity within your congregation?

Greear: What we’ve learned is that it takes more than a desire for diversity. We’ve learned that diversity among our leadership is necessary to grow in this area. People who identify with different ethnic or minority groups want to know that there is a place for them, not only in the pew but also in leadership.

Here are twelve principles that are shaping us in the pursuit for racial integration:

1. Our goal is not just the elimination of racism; it is the achievement of diversification.

2. Each us of us must elevate his or her third race.

3. Realize that it is not just about the music.

4. Realize that it is about the music.

5. We must prioritize diverse leadership.

6. Pre-Revelation 5, racial diversification has its limits.

7. Multiculturalism is not our primary goal; gospel proclamation is.

8. We must devote ourselves to humility and patience.

9. Give the “benefit of the doubt” whenever you can.

10. Acknowledge that your sinful flesh is racist.

11. Some of us should consider multicultural engagement a “calling.”

12. We are in a kairos moment regarding race.

See more here:

http://www.jdgreear.com/my_weblog/2014/05/twelve-principles-for-racial-integration.html

How have you sought to cast this vision to your members? 

Greear: Multiple ways: We’ve hosted public forums and panel discussions. We’ve preached on it. It is a consistently recurring theme.

Do you have a diverse staff as well? 

Greear: Yes, for example, we are a multi-site church and each location is led by a Campus Pastor. Among our eight campus pastors four different ethnicities are represented.

What do you see as the benefit of having a diverse church?

Greear:  It is a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The early church lived in as racially divided time as any but the New Testament says that in Christ, there is “neither Jew nor Greek.” In Christ, we experience a unity that transcends our cultural experience. To live in unity and love for one another is a witness to the world of what Christ has done for us. “They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” It is also a sign of the coming multi-cultural unity around the throne of Christ, proclaiming the mystery and power of God’s wisdom (Rev 5:9; Eph 3:10).

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your testimony? Did you grow up surrounded by diversity or has this been a newer conviction/desire? 

Greear: I grew up in church and a Christian home. Most of my experience was in churches that were predominately white but I can remember from the time I was young seeing my dad befriend and lead to Christ people of other races. There was no racism in our church, but we were not programmed so as to invite and embrace diversity. Thus, our church remained largely white. I always knew this was not right, but didn’t know how to change it.

Have you experienced any fears or struggled with doubt as you’ve sought to pursue diversity in your church?

Greear: Pursuing diversity in church is hard. It is easier to just cater to the preferences of one demographic. When people from different cultures come together, it requires intentionality, vulnerability and lots of dialogue. But it leads to a richer experience of the gospel.

Do you do anything unique with your service?

Greear: It’s difficult in a worship service to create an experience that connects to multiple cultural desires, but we are trying to learn how to do this better. Music is a powerful tool for this.

 If you could give any advice to a pastor who desires to pursue diversity within his congregation, what would you say to him? 

Greear: It’s worth it.

Here are our diversity “plumblines” we use to disciple our staff and congregation. These are lines and truths I repeat and teach on often:

  • Gospel loving Christians pursue multiculturalism wherever they can as a sign of Rev 5:9 (Eph 3:10–11; Acts 13:1–4)
  • We must balance a desire for multiculturalism with the need to “become a Greek to the Greeks” (1 Cor 9:19–21) (i.e. we have to adapt our ministries to all those we are reaching). Become a ‘Greek to the Greeks’ in RdU means adapting our message to the predominant culture: Derwin, we do Tomlinson with diversity twists, beats, etc). This should serve as a balance for us in our objectives, and keep us realistic in our expectations
  • The summit church has a long way to go in achieving the multiculturalism God desires for us
  • The staffing and programming of the Summit Church should always be “ahead” of the congregation, pushing for multiculturalism, not trying to catch up
  • In the spirit of Phil 2:1–5, the majority culture ought to “give more” than it expects minority cultures to “give”
  • We seek to live multicultural lives, not host multicultural events

Also, some of our “struggles” with diversity are reflected in this dialogue:

http://www.jdgreear.com/my_weblog/2014/05/are-we-multicultral-because-of-our-community-or-because-of-heaven.html

If you were asked to speak to a congregation who was about to begin a series of initiatives in hopes of building a more diverse congregation what might you say to them?

Greear: I’ve actually written a series of blog posts you can find here.

I, personally, believe diversity begins in the home. In other words, we are adopted into a new family and that family, the church, is beautifully diverse. We should seek not to have a face change in our churches but to have it in all of life—our lives should include those unlike ourselves. Do you agree? If so, how might you encourage members to build diversity in their homes?

Greear: Absolutely. The one thing we ask people when discussing diversity is how diverse are their relationships? It takes intentionality but I’ve found that pursuing diversity in my personal relationships has led to personal growth and a greater understanding of the gospel.

Pastors Pursuing Diversity: Interview with Wes Van Fleet

Over the next few months, I will be conducting interviews with pastors who are pursuing diversity in their congregations. You can read more about the series in the introduction.

The questions are geared to help pastors and congregations in the pursuit of diversity in the church and all of life. All of the views, opinions, and suggestions are that of the interviewee. The goal of the series is to provide a resource from a variety of pastors, and therefore opinions may also vary.

(Due to length, please feel free to print interviews for future reading and referencing)

Wes van FleetWes Van Fleet is the Associate Pastor of Kaleo Church in El Cajon, Ca.   He has served in various capacities for over 4 years and has been a pastor for a year.

Have you always had a desire for a diverse or multiethnic church?

Not as full of a desire as I do now.

What has fueled this desire?

About 5 years ago I started to have a more diverse view and vision for the church. I was a part of a seeker-sensitive church plant and would bring homeless people to the church. The lead pastor (a well-meaning man) told me to “not bring people who can’t give back.” I remember being so sad and frustrated, wondering if there were actually churches that believed that the Gospel calls people from every tribe, nation, and tongue (Rev. 5:9; 7:9). When I came to Kaleo Church (which had officially launched 4 months prior to my coming), almost half of the congregation was homeless. This was my first physical view/shadow of what the church will look like for all eternity. It was messy, scary, and beautiful!

How have you sought to build diversity within your congregation?

A few different ways. 1) Through the preaching. Our main teaching elder, Tim Cain, preaches the Gospel week in and week out. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus left heaven to rescue a people completely unlike him. Romans 5:6-8 shows God dying for the ungodly, the Strong dying for the weak, The Sinless dying for the sinful. When this is consistently preached, unity in the midst of diversity becomes the DNA of a local church. 2) Through life together. We believe the Gospel forms a family that live life together. We purposely stay away from starting “ministries” that cater to people with preferences. For example, we don’t think having a youth ministry, a college ministry, a senior citizen ministry, etc. furthers unity in the church. 3) Missional living is one that our church is really growing in right now. Nothing will remind you that you were once an outsider than going out to those in your community that are unlike you and welcoming them into your life. I think this is what Jesus had in mind in John 13:34-35 when he says, “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It seems we are called to live a life that displays such unity in diversity that non-Christians, in some way, know there is something different about us as God’s people. It should really cause them to ask questions.

Do you have a diverse staff as well?

As of now, we only have two staff members. However, El Cajon is quite a diverse city. In fact, we have 10,000+ middle eastern refugees. One of our prayers for the last couple of years is that God would bring us a middle eastern man that God would convert and help us better reach that community. We would love to have a more diverse staff and are really asking God to do so.

What do you see as the benefit of having a diverse church?

Similar to what I wrote above, I believe it is the biblical call of the church. There is nothing more beautiful in my mind than seeing a local church that is diverse because I really think it’s a glimpse of eternity. I think we miss out on so much when we surround ourselves with people just like us. We have a lot to learn as a church and really try to present a beautiful vision that is not just mixed in race, but socially as well.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your testimony? Did you grow up surrounded by diversity?

I was raised in a non-Christian home. I joined the Army right after the September 11 attacks, and in 2005 I started going to church with a mutual friend. I started to read the Word every day, helped plant a church in 2007, and was half way through Bible college. However, I still was not a believer. I would define who I was then as a moralist, I did good things but truly didn’t treasure Jesus. In 2008, I started going through Romans and The Cross of Christ by John Stott with a friend. The Lord graciously exposed my sin and showed me the beauty of him taking my place on the cross and crediting me with his perfect righteousness. I legitimately became a new creation overnight.

As a kid, though, I did grow up around a ton of diversity. The city I grew up in was an Exodus of sorts for a lot of people moving away from Los Angeles during the height of the gang wars in the early 90’s. Not only did this bring the diversity of L.A. to our city, it also brought a lot of gangs. To be honest, I never knew diversity was not the norm because I grew up in it. It wasn’t until I joined the Army that I really witnessed racism for the first time and it was heart-breaking to me.

Have you had any fears in the pursuit of diversity? Have you struggled with doubt that it is possible?

Yes, absolutely. I think the thing I have feared most is my family being harmed by some of the homeless in our church/city. When you welcome people into your home, things become more real. Although these have been some of the most special meals we have had in our house, it can also expose unhealthy fears of control. I often have the unhealthy “what-if” daydreams; like what if I step away for a call and someone attacks my family. I truly believe these are unhealthy fears and the Scriptures call us to a diverse unity that is costly. Even if it’s only emotionally, diversity is bound to hurt us because we are all sinful. This moves me to run to Jesus who shows how costly it is to love a diverse people by dying on a cross to purchase and unify them.

Do you do anything unique with your service?

I think because we are used to the diversity in our service, I often forget about it. As of now, we don’t plan anything specific but if you were to walk into Kaleo Church I think you will experience this diversity. We have had a lot of visitors leave because the homeless and “marginalized” make them feel unsafe. It’s actually funny at times because we have had drunken homeless people walk right up to the pulpit and need mediation because they were fighting. We have had some people pull out a harmonica and start playing during communion. Diversity has become less of a challenge while keeping order has become the real challenge. There is a brother who comes weekly who is in a full-time care home who answers his phone in the middle of the sermon and will continue to talk to his mom, all while sitting in the front row and using the loudest voice imaginable. Our hope is to one day move toward a more diverse worship service, where we might have middle-eastern worship music and other forms of worship that better welcome the different cultures in our family.

What are the demographics of your congregation (if you happen to know)?

I am not sure of specific percentages but it looks a lot like our city. We have Caucasian, Middle Eastern, German, Indonesian, Persian, Latino, etc.

If you could give any advice to a pastor who desires to pursue diversity within his congregation, what would you say to him?

I would encourage him to take a good look at the Scriptures. If Jesus has knocked down the dividing wall of hostility and brought us near by the blood of the cross (Eph. 2:11-16), than who are we to rebuild walls and try to separate ministries that encourage that? Also, I think the eternal view of diversity that we see in the Scriptures does not appear to be something we ignore until we are with our Lord. Even in our daily reading for our church this morning in Isaiah 49, we see this great picture of God going to the nations. He doesn’t ignore Israel but makes perfectly clear that his people are much more diverse than just Israel. Paul uses this same idea in Acts 13 to make clear that God is taking the Gospel to all kinds of people. The local church ought to be a kingdom outpost where our cities can witness the diversity in heaven, in some sense, here and now.

If you were asked to speak to a congregation who was about to begin a series of initiatives in hopes of building a more diverse congregation what might you say to them?

Same as # 16 mostly. However, I did just preach on Philippians 1:3-11 and I think it’s helpful for a congregation to see that diversity is something that God calls his people to. The background to Philippians is Acts 16, where you have a rich white collar woman (Lydia) and her family, a Roman blue caller, tough guy jailer (and his family), and a demon-possessed, fortune-telling slave-girl as the beginning of the Philippians church. Paul talks about this love he has for them ALL, over and over. Then in Phil. 1:6 and 10 he mentions that Day when Christ returns. I think I would show this same thing to another congregation and emphasize that our God is using a diverse people to help them learn to love more and more until Christ returns. The same unity that will be clear at his return should be growing now among us.

Did you actually do anything differently to pursue diversity? Do you think it is necessary?

Personally, prayer has been my first thing. I know God is able to make our church more diverse. I specifically pray that his invisible Kingdom would become more visible on earth (Matt. 6:10). Other than that, the desire to see a more diverse church causes my eyes to be looking to build relationships with those that are not like me, physically and spiritually.

How do you think that the Great Commission can motivate a pursuit of diversity?

At the core of the Great Commission is this unity among the Father, Son, and Spirit that should motivate us. To see the different persons of the Trinity working in perfect unity is what should motivate diversity. God has given me a strong passion for the enjoyable, yet often hard work of making disciples. When we go out to make disciples, it seems to me that this naturally should cause us to build relationships with others that are not like us because our God has called us to himself when we were enemies. The beginning statement that “all authority in heaven and on earth” has been given to Jesus should free us of having to force diversity. He is the one who has all authority so we can trust him while we proclaim the Gospel and make disciples. Even better is his closing statement: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This frees us to not just boldly make disciples but to know that our Savior is with us as we pray for diversity.

I, personally, believe diversity begins in the home. In other words, we are adopted into a new family and that family, the church, is beautifully diverse. We should seek not to have a face change in our churches but to have it in all of life—our lives should include those unlike ourselves. Do you agree? If so, how might you encourage members to build diversity in their homes?

I absolutely agree. Our main teaching elder whom I mentioned above, Tim Cain, has set a high view of adoption in our church. He did a year residency with John Piper and was so encouraged to see a church full of adopted children. My wife, Jenn, and I just had our first child (Olivia) six months ago. We were told we would never have kids and were actually about to start the process of adoption. As of now, the adoption agency we want to go through has us waiting until Olivia is a year old to start the process. The goal in all of this is two-fold for us personally: 1) To reflect this massive view of adoption seen in the Scriptures to a child that has been abandoned. 2) To reflect this same view to our congregation and city.

 

 

 

 

Pin It on Pinterest