Seek and Find
Life At DLBM
Bridging the Cultural Divide By Senior Pastor Victor Clay, M. Div. And Phyllis Kopp
I remember as a child my father telling me to remember to use my head for more than a hat rack. Today we should be using our church buildings for more than Sunday morning service.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells his disciples, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” In 2011, “the end’s of the earth” has come to the United States. We take that verse and look at it very narrowly and apply it to our own local congregations in building membership. We can however, take this same verse and look at it with a universal church mindset and bring Judea, Samaria and the end of the earth into our local churches.
Our building is located in an area of Kansas City that has a high concentration of Hispanic and Latino people and now has a growing population of refugees from Burma. We have prayed for a long time for a way to reach out initially to the people in our neighborhood who speak Spanish. Unfortunately we only have one individual in our congregation that speaks any Spanish which makes outreach into our neighborhood very difficult.
God in His infinite wisdom however, chooses to answer prayers in ways we may not always consider. About a year ago the Pastor of Truth & Life Ministries which is a bilingual congregation but has their services in Spanish, teaches Bible studies in Spanish and offers English as a second language classes needed a new place to meet as the facility they were in would not accommodate them any more. God’s answer to prayer!! Someone suggested they talk to us and for the last year, they have used our building for their ministry. God has provided us a way to reach out to the Hispanic and Latino community in our neighborhood through Truth & Life Ministries.
About six weeks ago a gentleman came by the church. He just happens to live in the apartment complex next door to my house (coincidence?). His name is Pastor David and he is a refugee from the Chin state which is located in Burma. He is part of the leadership team of a group of 80 plus refugees from Chin who needed a place to worship as they had outgrown the house church they were worshipping in. Another answered prayer!! For the last 3 weeks 80-90 Chin refugees have used our sanctuary and Sunday school classrooms on Sunday afternoons for their worship services.
About a month ago Mission Adelante which is a group that reaches out to non-English speaking Hispanics and Burmese individuals by teaching English as a second language classes needed space for 2 of their classes. Again, someone suggested they talk to us. We started four weeks ago opening our doors on Tuesday evenings for 2 classes to meet in our building for outreach and English lessons. They have been so blessed by the availability of space in our building that two weeks ago they added a third class. So now every Tuesday evening we have 50-60 teachers and students using our building to learn how to speak English through the Word of God.
Although the membership numbers in our local congregation have not risen because of these ministries, God has created a Universal Church right here in Kansas City, Kansas because we were willing to open our doors to non-English speaking churches so that they could worship and praise the same God that we worship and praise. God has not blessed us with the building that we have for it to sit empty Monday through Saturday. The Universal Church is alive and growing within our walls. The question is, could the Universal Church be alive and growing within the walls of your local church? Could you bless a group that needs space to worship and praise? Galatians 3:26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Thank God for answering prayers and for the unique ways He sometimes chooses to answer our prayers for outreach and growth. It is exciting to see God’s church, His chosen ones serving, worshipping and growing within our walls.