Thoughts on Becoming a Multi-ethnic Community…

The first dimension of our vision statement at River City Community Church is “becoming a multiethnic community of Christ-followers…”

This may sound utopian, but is quite difficult in reality.

Culture Shock: the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when he/she is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. (http://expatchild.com). Symptoms that can accompany culture shock: sadness; loneliness; homesickness; depression, mood swings; idealizing your home country and culture; confused sense of humor; taking everything too seriously or not taking anything seriously; generalizing that all problems happen in the new culture and none happened back home; sense of isolation; loss of identity; feelings of inadequacy or insecurity; negative self-image; lack of confidence and feeling insecure; finding it difficult to fit in; feeling foreign, different and therefore misunderstood; closing up (not talking to others); becoming overcautious in everything/ over thinking

Living authentically in cross-cultural community requires a recognition that with it come shock, disorientation, challenge, and the presence of numerous tensions. So why do we do it? For one, science proves that we grow exponentially more when we live in diverse community. But more importantly, it is the type of community described in Scripture:

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5.14-16)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2.9)
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is true worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  (Romans 12.1-2)

The church in Antioch (Acts 11-13) was the Mother Church for every daughter church seen throughout the rest of the New Testament. Antioch was the most culturally diverse church in the Roman Empire (18+ nationalities) and was led by a culturally diverse leadership team (5 different cultures). This is the only type of community known to the early church.

Summary: Christian community should be a cross-cultural, counter-cultural group of loving people that demonstrates in both word and deed what the world looked like if it fully trusted and obeyed Jesus.