How to build a multicultural church

November 11, 2020

Over the last few posts and Sundays, we’ve been looking at the church we believe God is calling us to be at Trinity. The repetition is deliberate for one simple reason: knowing where we are going as a church is critical to the next few years, so we really want to emphasise that vital destination that we have in our sights.

We’ve discussed what it looks like to be Gospel-focussed, transformational, and multigenerational. Last Sunday, Dwayne spoke brilliantly about being a multicultural church, and as a Brit in a new culture, I felt it would be helpful to add some thoughts on my own.

(A quick aside: please keep Dwayne in your prayers today as he flies to the US to be with his family, with no definitive return date. If he was less busy in his final days in Red Deer, he would have written this post instead of me!)

WHY DO WE WANT TO BE MULTICULTURAL?

Firstly, we recognize that while the truth of the Bible never changes, culture does. I touched on this last week, so won’t go into too much detail, other than to say this: the Bible transcends the myriad cultures of nations and generations. It is always applicable; it is always relevant; it is always our standard of truth as believers. However, our believing brothers and sisters in the faith from say, rural Ghana, Mexico city, or Phuket may express that same truth in different ways.

And that’s ok.

The second reason (and why the first point is relevant), is that Red Deer is comprised of roughly 16% first generation immigrants (as of 2016). Almost one in every five people you will encounter in Red Deer has grown up in a completely different culture before moving here.

Including me.

In the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations. Traditionally, we have sent missionaries around the world—which of course, an amazing, important, and brave callingbut the nations are on our doorstep! Yes, we need missionaries who will heed the call to move to other countries, but today, we can be missionaries in our very own city.

We have a choice: we can choose to ignore other cultures and in doing so, ignore 16% of our city, or we can strive to make disciples of all nations and to reach all of the people in our city.

As a church, we believe God is calling us to that second option.

There are many reasons, but one more, for the sake of time: Revelation 7.

Look at the picture John describes in his God-given vision:

9After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. 10And they cried out in a loud voice:

 

Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!

 

Wow. What a staggering image of the church, gathered in the awe-inspiring presence of God. Countless believers of every nation, tribe, people, and language. I don’t believe it’s a huge theological leap to assume that if this is a picture of eternity, it just might bring honour and glory to the God of all creation to aspire to such diversity in our little earthly body of believers, too?

We think it’s worth a shot.

But as with the multigenerational mission, the natural question is this:

How do we become a multicultural church?

Here are a few simple things we can do:

  • We can pray with passion that God would meet with all people in our city.
  • We can hold any church traditions lightly that aren’t expressly in the Word of God. For example, as with generations, the style of music we sing, or the vocabulary we use, or the way we express prayer might vary.
  • We can build relationships with people from different cultures to us – as Dwayne so brilliant reminded us on Sunday, that might well be an internationally different culture, but it could be a subculture within our western society as well.
  • For those believers with different (international) cultural upbringings to us, why not take time to try and understand their expressions of faith or experiences. Some questions I’ve personally found helpful are:
    • “Is your expression of worship/church/community in your home nation similar to ours in Canada? If not, how is it different? What do you prefer about our Canadian expression, and what do you think we could learn from your home nation?”
    • “Moving to a new country is a big deal. What was it like for you? What caused you to make the decision to come to Canada?”
    • How do you think can we better serve first generation immigrants in Red Deer?

These are, of course, just a few thoughts. Perhaps you have some insights that you would love to share with us as well. If so, we’d love to hear from you! Send an email to davebetts@trinityreddeer.ca if you’d like to contribute to our blog.

Father God, as we strive to be the most welcoming community in the city of Red Deer, would you teach us how to embrace other cultures. Give us wisdom as we hold to the truth of your Word but recognize that some of our cultural expressions of faith can vary. Give each of us at Trinity a deeper longing and passion to reach all of the people represented in our city with the wonderful news of the Gospel.
Bring transformation to every area and person in our city, we pray. Amen.

 

Related Posts…

JOIN US on Sundays!

 

WHAT TIME?

10:30AM -12PM

WHERE?

The Centre
5301 50 Ave
Red Deer, AB
T4N 4B6

Contact US

Email

info@trinityreddeer.ca

MAILING ADDRESS

PO Box 21092
RPO Bower Place
Red Deer, AB
T4R 2M1