The United States of America sure is a huge melting pot of people, diversity, cultural differences, religions, beliefs and more. Think about your upbringing for a moment. Think about all the things that you were taught, all the things that you learned, and all the things you believe to be “right.”
If we are church-going people, we more than likely picked a church based on our upbringing and where our parents went. For instance, Kym and I both grew up Catholic. We were baptized, had first communion, and were confirmed. We then continued to go to the Catholic church, got married in it, and so on. There is a good chance that you might have done the same thing which leads me to this place.
When we think about Crosstown Fellowship Church, we are a diverse church in so many ways. We usually point to the fact that we are a “multi-ethnic” church and that we strive to restore diversity and unity. This is one major way in which we are diverse but think for a moment what comes with all of that…
I really like my music loud, I really like the hymns, the sermon could be longer, couldn’t the pastor shorten his sermon, I like doing communion each week, at our old church we never did communion each week, community groups are weird to me, I love community groups, I think we should dress up for church, I think we should come as we are, we should dunk people for baptisms, we should just sprinkle them, and on and on and on they could go.
We all come, specifically to the church, with a preset view that is directly related to the way we were raised. Music is such an easy one to bring up because our church has such a clash of styles and genres. We have “contemporary christian fans”, we have “hymn fans”, and we have “gospel fans.”
When we celebrate one another we become open to someone else’s point of view or better yet, we become accepting of the way something is being done even when it isn’t exactly what I want. We find joy in watching others worship because a hymn or a gospel song is being sung. We contemplate the lyrics of what is being said and we find out that the song has very little to do with the way I feel or what I think. Rather it is all about bringing glory and honor to the Name above all names, Jesus. Music should be the celebration of who God is and it should bring glory to his name. It should celebrate the fact of what he has done for us.
As I stated before, our backgrounds are so diverse. We come from different traditions when it comes to church. Some of us have kneeled during church and for some that concept is completely foreign. The great thing about this diversity is that we get to shape culture. If you took all of us, with all of our diversity, and threw us into a blender and hit puree, out comes a mixture that is well blended and probably tastes great. While that is a bad visual (or maybe just a bad example), we get to shape the way Crosstown “does” church.
Here are some things that I think you will find:
– We won’t meet your expectations 100% of the time.
– We are an outward focused church.
– We incorporate important “traditions” based on 4 pillars, God’s Word, sacraments, fellowship, and the poor.
– We are communal and outgoing (reputation as the “huggy” church)
– We believe that we can make a difference and create change in our communities.
– That church is more than a Sunday morning stop.
– There is beauty in diversity and unity because it is God’s design, not ours.
– We celebrate each other well, even in our differences and disagreements.
The effectiveness of Crosstown Fellowship Church is not based on the name or the building. Our collective effectiveness is based on you and me; specifically what we do outside of the 4 walls on a Sunday. How are we helping the last and the least? Are we inviting people to something larger than just great music, a great preacher, etc? Does our mission really mean something to each and every one of us or is it just a great catchphrase idea?
When we get out of self and into others powerful things can take place. Life change happens at a rapid pace. We become surrounded by new friends and people that really care for us and want to see us succeed in life, get ahead, and are actually there when things don’t go as planned. We become the example for others that restoring diversity and unity can happen but it will only happen through a life conformed to Jesus, anything short will just tolerate and not truly celebrate.
Crosstown Fellowship Church is a melting pot where we are called to live out what it means to restore diversity and unity through authentic faith in Christ. A powerful mission of life change.