A Word from Jenny
In I Corinthians 1:2, Paul wrote: “To the church in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours;” (NASB).
Taken according to the Greek words and meaning, this verse would read, “To the gathering of God’s people [ekklesia] in Corinth, people dedicated to the service and loyalty of God [agiazo] in union with [en] Christ Jesus, people dedicated to the service and loyalty of God [agios] having been called with all who in every place call on the name our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”
In this verse, Paul emphasized the idea of unity among believers. All who gathered at the church in Corinth were called by God to be dedicated to His service. But that calling wasn’t limited to one group of Christians. Instead, it extended beyond that one church to include everyone everywhere who called on the name of our Lord.
With this understanding and call to unity, I’m working with Kristen Terrette of Wholly Loved Ministries to extend what we’re calling The Church Challenge. While I have, at different times in my life, attended a wide variety of churches, this will be Kristen’s first time to do so in this manner. Each month, she’ll share her experiences on the blog while I share a little about mine in the comments. We invite you to share about yours in the comments as well.
Visit a different church (or watch an online service of one) at least one time each month for three months. For each of the categories below, identify:
- What stood out to you about the church?
- What do you like about it?
- What are its strengths?
- What similarities did you discover between it and your home/regular church?
Categories and Schedule:
April: Visit a church service with a different racial demographic.
May: Visit a church service held in a different language.
June: Visit a church service of a different denomination (that isn’t closely related to the one you regularly attend).
*Bonus in July: If you’re Protestant, attend a Catholic or Greek Orthodox service. If you’re Catholic or Greek Orthodox, attend a Protestant service.
The Church Challenge: Visit a different church (diff. racial demographic, language, denomination, Protestant/Catholic) at least one time each month for three months. #ChurchChallenge #ChristianUnity #Churches #DiversityTweet
A Word From Kristen
Revelation 5 is about praising the Lion, the Lamb, and the Root of David for His victory over sin and death, and His forever reign over all creation.
But this verse. This is one of my favorites. In Revelation 5:9 (NIRV), this is written about Jesus,
“You are worthy to take the scroll and break open its seals.
You are worthy because you were put to death.
With your blood you bought people for God.
They come from every tribe, language, people and nation.”Revelation 5:9
It paints the perfect picture of Heaven. I love how God’s Word is careful to cover all the bases by mentioning every tribe, language, people and nation. No matter where on earth we reside, or what people group we and our family claim as our heritage, we are combined as ONE in Heaven.
And if our commission is to build God’s Kingdom on earth, so that we look a little more like Jesus on earth everyday, then our everyday shouldn’t exclude people from different backgrounds and cultures.
I’ve been challenged in how I can accomplish this.
Years ago, I was convicted that my everyday life was every neutral, or in my case, vanilla. While I was a children’s ministry director, I realized the kids under my care weren’t very diverse. I don’t know why I noticed and was bothered by this, but Jesus sure was pointing it out. From then on, I’ve intentionally been open to all types of relationships with people who don’t look or think like me, and I’m still working on this constantly.
We don’t have to agree politically or even spiritually to see, hear, and be opened to the thoughts and ideas of others who aren’t like us. The thing is, as I’ve developed relationships and friendships with lots of different people, my compassion and love for them has amplified. My spirit has joined with the Holy Spirit in actively engaging me in conversations about race, unity, justice, and Jesus. Anything that does this is worth a try!
The Church Challenge is yet one more opportunity to engage with a variety of people in a setting other than what we might be accustomed to or comfortable with. This is not the time to input our own ideas and try to change someone. This is our time to observe and see what happens! See what God can do in our heart, mind, and spirit. See how He opens our eyes and grows our compassion and understanding.
Anything with the potential to make us better Christ-followers is worth it.
Join me in the first month of this Challenge in April and check in on Friday, April 30 to read about my experience and share your own.