What if we feel like we lose in academics, in our career, in our relationships, with our parenting, in our spiritual life? What if your life doesn't look like you wanted it to and according to the standards you set for yourself or others set for you, you seem to be losing? What if I am losing my health? What if I am losing my emotional stability? What if no matter how hard I try to get ahead in life, the powers of this society beat me down and I lose? What if we look up at the scoreboard in the heat of life's trials and you are down 20-1?
“Where are the other black missionaries?” Tracie Warren who currently serves as the financial coach for the Impact Movement was asked this question during one of her mission trips to Africa. This question is the same question I had while in Jamaica and while serving in campus ministry as a student and even now as staff. The world is waiting for us. While watching a talk given by Sandra Van Opstal I was challenged, during her talk, she challenged her primarily white audience with this statement “we often see minority communities as the mission field but they are actually the mission force”. I heard this a did a good ole Baptist “Amen!”. Yes, yes yes, when we limit people of color to something to be reached, we often limit their ability to be sent.
“At City Hope Fellowship we seek to be a diverse people saved by Jesus, centered on Jesus, and sent by Jesus to extend the hope and fellowship of God to our city.” You’ve probably heard our mission statement every time you’ve come to worship service on Sundays. But, what does this look like for us to pursue this? We exist in the already, not yet. The global church is a diverse people and we seek locally the city and kingdom to come which is beautifully reconciled.
At City Hope, we have a lot of college students. And we will miss them greatly over the next few weeks as they are on Christmas break. So I wanted to take a moment to address our students and any college, high school, middle school, or elementary school students about how to walk with Jesus over Christmas break. (Also, this applies to non-students who have some time off around the holidays).
Racial and ethnic divide has plagued our country throughout history, and it continues today. I believe strongly that one of the best ways forward is to look backward in history and understand the forces at work in key moments so that we can see what things we missed. It is through this understanding that we can be equipped to not miss those moments again. One of those moments in Presbyterian church history centers around a man named George Bourne.
Jesus gives the apostles clear instructions to take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Although they start slow and struggle to fully embrace this mission at first, the Apostles eventually embrace not only this mission but the people to whom this mission sends them, bringing the Gentiles fully into the church.
This is one of the key questions we have asked ourselves over and over again about City Hope Fellowship. Over the past two and a half years, I have read, prayed, studied, taught, and written about this subject. And now I want to summarize and share it in a 6 part blog series. My goal for this series is share my heart. And to show our motivation to start a missional and multicultural reformed church in downtown Muncie.
Because of Jesus, dear Christian, you are not simply tolerated but passionately and exuberantly loved. You are rejoiced over as the object of his special love. Just as a child delights to run down the stairs on Christmas morning to see their presents, so our God runs in delight to see you. To love you.