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5 Benefits of a Multi-Cultural, Multi-National, Multi-Ethnic Church!

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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.

6 Ways to Successfully Build and Pastor a Multi-Ethnic Church

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1.  Celebrate food!  People will accept you if you love their food and eat it with enthusiasm.  It’s amazing what a pot luck will turn into with food from several nations.  It’s a lot more fun than just quiche and mini-sausages, I can promise you!  And eating together breaks down all barriers.

2. Do not appoint leaders just because of their ethnicity or gender.  Appoint the best leaders for the task.  

3. Always be sensitive to any group that is a significant minority.  It’s not easy being the odd man out.  Show that sensitivity by listening to people.  People from a new culture who come to the church are often gateway people who bring a number of people from the same culture, help them feel at home and disciple them.  Awesome.  If people are doing that job, make them part of your leadership team and encourage them to keep discipling.

4. (This is a controversial one) Never divide your small groups on the basis of ethnicity.  People need to get to know – and trust – people from every culture.  We are preparing people for heaven, which will be every tongue, every tribe and every nation.  I know some church growth strategists disagree with this, but sometimes growing people is more important than growing numerically.

5. Have a couple of people you know and trust from the different cultures and run any big ideas through them.  They may see things you haven’t seen, and they can advice you on the impact that decision would have on people who have been raised in a different culture from yourself.

6.  Remember at the end of the day, there are no white people, black people, Asian people: there are just people.  We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and we are all made righteous freely through the redemption of Jesus Christ.  Our similarities as Christians far, far, far outweigh our differences.  We have the same faith, the same God, the same peace, the same Bible, the same struggles, the same temptations, the same Holy Spirit.  

Back in the Library!

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Had our first regular service in the library today.  Met a new lady who had heard about us from someone who came to the crusade and intends to come regularly, but could not come tonight.

Also another pastor came to hear the Word.  That is a blessing to me when Pastors come because they appreciate what I am preaching.

If you want to hear the sermon or download it on mp3, it is available here.

I just sense we are on the verge of something wonderful.  I am just praying for strength to carry through until it breaks and we see a Spirit-filled Word of Faith multi-ethnic cell church in London and Essex.

Blessings to you all,

Benjamin

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