God is ambidexterous and multilingual. God is fully able to use various ways to reach people. Consider the Bible, authored by God through many human imaginations and cultures. Holy Scriptures are written using many styles: poetry, history, personal letters, vivid apocalyptic symbolism, law, and practical wisdom sayings.
God could have conveyed his message through a blog or a newspaper article all composed at one time. Instead divine revelation is spread over hundreds of years from diverse cultural settings.
God is like a musician who cannot confine his tunes to classical, country or rock. God has more channels than SerGod is an artist who paints in the detail of near-photograph realism or in stark abstraction. God is fluent in speaking to humans using many means and media. The willingness to be fluent comes from a loving heart.
God’s church follows that divine multifaceted ability to speak to our lives. The Christian family is worldwide -- the only truly cross-cultural faith. Christ-followers are yellow, red, brown, white and black. They can be found on every continent. Christ-followers speak thousands of different languages. The church started with a burst of God’s revelation in different dialects and languages (Acts 2). “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. That is God’s style.
At the birth of the church the earliest Christ-followers were compelled to speak the languages of Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappodocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphilia, Egypt, Rome, Cretans and Arabs (Acts 2:8-11). God goes to great measures to reach people in their home languages. One thing we can know about God: there will be not stopping the fullness of the Spirit until he gets to the language that you speak. We’re talking about a lot of different ways of talking.
So it is no surprise that God creates many ways to open the church to all sorts of people and situations.
Connections to the local Christian family happen in many ways: through music, worship services, Sunday Schools, social justice projects, soup kitchens, youth groups, personal invitations, picnics, weddings, baptisms, funerals, men’s and women’s groups, preaching, the food pantry, personal conversations, mission trips, retreats, hospital visits, counseling, Vacation Bible School, community involvement and holiday programs.
In the local church is made up of a diversity of members, gifts and talents. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all of its parts form one body, so it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12). The church has so many members who possess different talents, backgrounds and spiritual gifts. Why all the parts? Because God equips us to reach out to as many people and situations as possible. It’s God’s way.
Following God’s way, we have prayed that our church would be more open and more able to share the eternal gospel. Over the past four years we have hired staff to help shepherd all of our different kinds of gifts and needs and people. The result: we have increased our capacity to receive people. We have more kinds of ministry to reach a greater diversity of people. For example: the food pantry has introduced people to our church. Further exploration has led food-pantry-serviced people to come to Vacation Bible School and onto membership and deeper involvement in the church.
Our widening ministries are attracting a widening diversity of people. There are many doors to God’s House here. GriefShare, Bible studies, Kids’ Zone, youth groups, Feed the Children, expanded Vacation Bible School, End Hunger Babylon, soccer camp, basketball ministry, community events for young families are all new programs involving a greater diversity of helpers to connect with a greater diversity of people.
This month we are beginning to form yet another ministry to extend and to deepen our life together. We are forming community groups during the Lenten (pre-Easter) to do Bible study and help all of us get to know our welcoming God more. Groups are located in homes throughout our area as well as being offered at different times during the week. They will meet weekly up until Holy Week.
It is wonderful to see God’s character replicated in the life of the local congregation. There is still one Lord, one baptism and one faith. There is one way to come to know the intimate and saving love of God in Jesus. However, the Spirit compels the church to have many doors to engage that one gospel.
There are not many ways to heaven. But there are many situations and styles and ministries to bear witness to God’s great gospel. The church of many entry points follows God’s way of expressing the greatest reality -- God’s glory expressed to every people and situation.