Politics. Religion. Money. Science. Music. Food. The list of things that set us apart from the people around us goes on and on and on. Things we disagree on, things we prefer over others, even the money we make and the houses we live in all make us unique and different from others. Our uniqueness is something to be embraced and appreciated, but all too often we allow these things to divide us from the people around us.
If there is no unity, then our communities have no place for celebrating our differences. If we have no diversity, then our unity becomes uniformity, and our communities lose their vibrancy. The community is the space where our differences and our similarities intersect, and we can share these things together. We don’t have to “put aside” our differences, but if we can appreciate our neighbors despite them, we can learn and grow from one another.
This past month our church was blessed to see this principle in action. We were privileged to participate in an event known as World Changers. World Changers sent young people to various church plants in their communities to both help them and to join in ministry with them. They joined in various activities from service projects with local community members to worship services with our church. We expected to provide a great learning opportunity to these young people and give them a chance to see the impact they can make, but we were surprised by what we had to learn from them.
We found that this event not only allowed the young people to see what it looks like to put faith into action and be a part of the community, but it allowed us to see the hope that exists for the next generation to bring a positive change to our neighborhoods and cities. The members of Convergence Church were blown away by the heartfelt tenacity of these young people who came to a church they weren’t familiar with and passionately participated in its mission and vision. What a refreshing time this was to see young people so excited to impact their communities!
In many ways, we are very different from this group of young people. Yet past our differences, we came together and did some great things, and we learned from each other along the way. At Convergence Church we want that to become our daily reality. We want to meet with people who don’t look or act or believe like us, make a change in their lives, and display the love of God to those people. When we do so, we create that beautiful environment we call a community. In the New Testament, the church is reminded to “have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” It is this attitude by which we can make the community a reality.
Every week the members of our church meet with each other in our homes, in parks, in restaurants, or anywhere else where we can live, laugh, and grow with one another, and hopefully meet new people and inspire them to do the same.