One of the greatest joys in my life is pastoring a church that has over 20 nationalities present in any given weekend. That’s awesome. I think if you have a monocultural church in London you are doing something wrong. I love the variety and the life that this exposes us to. Here are 5 of my favourite things about the Tree being multi-cultural:
5. There are people clapping on every beat. Maybe you have never noticed this but during the praise music, black people generally clap on the upbeat, and white people generally clap on the downbeat. At the Tree we have every beat covered!
4. We find out about preachers that we would never have found about otherwise. Ever heard of Stanley Ndovie? Man, that guy can preach. He is from Malawi, and I would never have known about him without people from our church from that awesome nation. I would never have heard some of the amazing preachers from Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana or India without people from those nations introducing me to them. In fact, a lot of European and American preachers who minister mainly to a particular ethnic group I would never have heard either. That’s a great thing, because you are getting to help learn Scriptures that maybe you wouldn’t have looked at or who wouldn’t have looked at in a particular way. These things are really important because…
3. The body of Christ is made up of different parts – just like your body. If all you do is fellowship with people who look like you, who act like you, who grew up where you grew up and see things your way, then you never learn anything new. You can’t get help when you meet help. If you got a splinter in your foot, you would never be able to take it out with another foot – you need a hand to take that splinter out. When you reach a problem you cannot solve, calling someone just like you will just add to the ignorance in the room. I am so glad for the wisdom I have received on topics such as giving, prayer, integrity, passion, honour, discipleship, peace, healing from people who have come from a different culture and brought wisdom and life no Englishman could ever have taught me.
2. The food. I love groundnut soup, fufu, jollof rice; I love daals and chili, I love food from all nations. Our church pot-lucks are amazing! Seriously… amazing!
1.. It’s a love tester. It proves that our community and church are built on love. If you only love those like you, you are just like a tax-collector said Jesus. Really – if you cannot love someone who is different from you then you cannot really love anyone. Racism comes from fear and pride – I’m better than you, and I think that your differences will detract from me. The counter attitude to racism is gracism: I know we are equal in Christ, and I know your differences can benefit and bless me. That’s the attitude we are cultivating in our church full of the nations.