In 1960 Dr. Martin Luther King described Sunday at 11 am as the most segregated hour of the week, highlighting the racial division among churches. Over 60 years later this continues to be true, but not at Bridgeway Community Church. Dr. Anderson planted Bridgeway in 1992 with a vision that was distinct from that of existing churches and church plants at that time. His vision was that Bridgeway would be a place where all cultures are welcome and at home – a place that looks a little bit like heaven where people “from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Rev. 7:9) worship God together.
Bridgeway is a multicultural body of fully devoted followers of Christ moving forward in unity & love to reach our community, our culture & our world for Jesus Christ. It was my ministry here at Bridgeway that inspired the topic of my dissertation. I have been given a great gift to work and worship in a place that can serve as a beacon of light to other churches who desire to achieve the diversity we witness every week. I want to share with you what I have learned about the value of diversity and give you an opportunity to help other churches equip attendees to address racism and bridge cultural divides in their family, community, church, and society. A diverse body is biblical; a diverse body that is unified and loving is beautiful; and a body that reaches our community, culture, and world shines bright.
Since Genesis, God has been in pursuit of all people. God’s promise to Abraham is that “all people will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:3). The coming of Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise and the embodiment of God’s grace come to earth for all people. Jesus exemplified His love for all, caring for the marginalized, healing the sick, caring for Samaritans (whom the Jews despised), elevating women, and teaching that our neighbors, whom we are to love, includes everyone. Jesus died “once for all” (Rom. 6:10), rose from the dead, and gave His followers a mission “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). The first church had people “from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). While followers of Jesus come in a variety of colors, cultures, and classes, we are “one body” (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12 ) that is interdependent.
A multicultural body of believers is a beautiful thing! Where else can people from different cultures come together united around one purpose, and lift, celebrate, and honor one another? This kind of multicultural church represents what Dr. King meant when he talked about the “beloved community.” Coming together to learn from and share with one another allows us to see God through the perspective of other cultures. This view helps us gain a more complete perspective of our diverse God.
Because of its diversity, Bridgeway is an example to other churches of what it means to reflect heaven and shine in our divided world. With so much tension, anger, and division, a living example of how unity in Christ can bring people together is a bright example to a world in need. We have a calling to build into one another as we build bridges to our community. In a world that seems to dig ditches and create divides, bridgebuilders are a light that shines in the darkness.
Bridgeway, thank you for being you! Though we differ in cultures, perspectives, and life experiences, we are one in Christ. We are one local body of believers seeking to reach our community, culture, and world for Jesus.
I want to give you an opportunity to participate in a study that will encourage and build into multicultural congregations like Bridgeway. You can contribute to multicultural church research, help me, and possibly earn a $50 Amazon gift card in the process. By completing this 10-15 minute questionnaire, you can contribute to the advancement of independent research on multicultural churches and help me move closer to the completion of my dissertation. JUST CLICK HERE TO PARTICIPATE. Thanks!
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