Everyone who drinks coffee knows that the flavor is in the blend you use. Some choose this brand, others choose that brand because of the flavor. At my church, we have the Seattle’s Best Blend and the cheap blend and the difference is quite staggering.
This book is about bringing together people of different ethnicities and building a church. It’s about building a community here on earth that will reflect the community in heaven: “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 13:29 ESV)
This book is also about what struggles and battles will be faced when there is an attempt to make a church look like heaven. It’s counter-cultural in most church circles.
The authors are passionate about dis-engaging the homogenous mode of thinking and embracing the multi-ethnic blend of coffee that God himself drinks!
I really learned a ton from this book. I picked this book out because I am a part of a Multi-Ethnic church and am a pastor to Middle School student within that paradigm and I wanted to learn more about how to minister to them. Even though I came from a blended church, I still felt I needed more education on how to deal with it and after reading this book, I know I was right (and still have TONS to learn).
This book is filled with story after story that shows the authentic, honest, rewarding and hard calling of being a multi-ethnic community. I was particularly touched by a story where two brothers of a different ethnicity got into a fight. Instead of storming away and leaving the church these two men of God desired to work it out and although it was hard they worked it out to the glory of God!
After they worked it out, one of the brothers was on the schedule to preach and he felt the Holy Spirit leading him to wash the other brothers feet. It was hard and he did it with the leading of the Holy Spirit and God did a work in the congregation that day! (this story is found on pages 175-178)
There are more and more stories laced throughout the book that point to God doing a mighty work in and through the Multi-Ethnic blend of community.
As I said before, I gleaned a ton from this book, but I think the thing that I will attach to my life right away comes from Chapter 6- Roasting for Flavor and is an outline of 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. The authors have 3 bits of instruction to help overcome the Cross-Cultural Obstacles that pop up from these verses.
1. You Must Surrender Your Rights (1 Corinthians 9:19)
Our ideas about church and life are not always right. If it isn’t a Biblical mandate, it’s subject to change! We can’t be stuck in “our way” when we desire to be multi-ethnic, because with that much difference in culture, there will be that much difference in opinion! We (I) must be flexible!
2. You Must Extend Yourself to Others
To Those Most Like You (1 Corinthians 9:20)
It’s OK to care about your own Ethnic group, but not to the exclusion of the rest of God’s body
To Those Least Like You (1 Corinthians 9:21-22)
We must care for the WHOLE body of Christ and offer ourselves up to others of different ethnicities.
3. You Must Not Be Dogmatic (1Corinthians 9:22)
Don’t be rigid in how you do things! Again, if it’s not going against the Bible, it’s subject to change!
These three things I know I will attach to my life and live out before my Middle Schoolers and I will encourage them to do so as well. I love what these authors are doing and talking about. It is great to see such passion and fervor for the Multi-ethnic church. I hope to continue to instill these truths into my teens to make our church even more diverse than it ever was!
Lastly, the authors caution anyone from undertaking this ideology without first knowing it will put a target on your back. They end the book with some of the Spiritual toils they’ve dealt with once they’ve decided to go multi-ethnic. When we are doing God’s work, God’s way we can expect (as the authors remind us) a huge reaction from Satan. May we, as we all endevor to do this great work God has called us to commit ourselves to the Lord’s care and remain close to Him!