Red and Yellow, Black and White…
The dream that launched our church eleven years ago was simple: to be a transethnic church. Of course, there were other reasons—prayer, worship, ministry to the poor, evangelism, etc.—but transethnicity was the value that gave us the greatest distinction, the greatest motivation, and the greatest challenge.
New Life Providence is committed to being a prophetic model to the world, where men and women from different backgrounds and ethnicities can love one another, with God’s love, in complete mutuality and brotherhood. Agape love transcends ethnicity. It requires the working of the Spirit of Christ in willing hearts.
At the root of the human condition is pride, which manifests in judgment, anger, fear, condescension, and prejudice. It can be extremely subtle. As we pursue the ideal of transethnicity, we must continually confront issues in our own hearts. I need to ask myself:
• Have I made broad generalizations regarding another culture’s music, dress, abilities, ethics, and values?
• Do I allow my personal preferences and tastes to be defended as if they were kingdom truths?
• Do I really treat people equally?
New Life Providence will never be homogeneous, i.e., having one basic kind of member. We are a church for all nations. A church for all cultures. A church with black, white, and brown male and female pastors. A church that embraces a wide variety of worship expressions and dramatic/performing arts. A church for the hip-hopper, the skateboarder, and the Midwest farm boy (who incidentally may like hip hop).
We are staying on our prophetic theme. It is taking time, sacrifice, and faith, but we believe it is God’s heart for us to show the world, as the song says, that “we are all precious in His sight.”