The heart of the multicultural ministries has been put under a test and experienced crisis within a crisis.
The pandemic has been a constant crisis but there has been a crisis within the pandemic that the church was forced to deal with.
Political and racial strife has caused people to reach out, lash out and drop out!
Bishop Bill Lee of Victorious Life Church in Conyers, Georgia hit the nail on the head when he said, "It's one thing to be a multi-colored church and another thing to be a multi-cultured church. You can be a multi-colored church and have various colors in your church but only one expression of culture, which often is European or Anglo-Saxon. Then you have those who have adjusted themselves to that but there is only one voice being heard. The problem with that is when a crisis comes and you need to speak to other people and their experiences, how do you respond? Also, so many times those voices often are not being heard from the congregation or from the platform. What happened with George Floyd and the racial tension, blacks being led in those kinds of congregations wanted to hear their man of God address the issues they were dealing with police brutality, racism, discrimination, etc.!
"Unfortunately, some of the offensive and racist statements were made because it was in the heart of a person or they were speaking out of ignorance. It's one thing for you to lead me but it's another thing for you to relate to me and my experience."
Bill Lee started mentoring other pastors to give them a place to talk and become educated on culture and what the people need to hear from their Shepherd in times of racial and political crisis. Pastors from all walks of life were calling Bill Lee to learn how to "express the voices" of other cultures and their crisis.
We've seen the country divided through politics and now we see the church divided through racial tension and misunderstandings; too many people are talking and not enough people listening. It's time for white pastors and black pastors to address the crisis within the crisis while staying biblical with the approach and keeping political opinion out of it.
The church is no longer the same. We can't go back to the way things used to be! It's different. It's time for us to "get used to different."
I asked Bill Lee a very important question: "How do you know if your church is multi-colored or multi-cultured?" Maybe you have Latinos, African-Americans, Nigerians and Asians in your church, and you are wondering the same thing: How do I let each voice be heard among the congregation? Bill Lee said, "Our church is multi-cultured and I just hired a minister of music. I told him that I need to hear a representation of what we see in our congregation. Mixing the music from Elevation Worship to black gospel to a Nigerian worship song to a song being sung in Spanish." In this way, you are allowing their voices to be heard.
Also, Bill Lee said, "Preaching has to remain extremely biblical and the focus has to remain extremely kingdom. When we stay biblical and kingdom, it encompasses so much. There is so much in there that helps us communicate to the people that helps to make everybody understand that we are all together and part of the kingdom. The problem that we have is that some of you think that you're a political 'voice' opposed to being the voice of the prophets and preachers. I have to constantly check myself while I am preaching to make sure that I am representing 'kingdom' and not being someone's political voice. Because when I become a political voice, this is what happens: I already alienated 50% of the harvest and I have minimized the kingdom of God. I should be led by Jesus and not led by political leaders."
Churches can also represent the voices of their congregants by who they have on the elder board, counsel board, volunteer team and the worship team. Each culture's voice is heard and represented.
It's time to get busy doing kingdom work and tear down every idol that keeps us from looking more and more like Jesus!
I was so blessed by Bishop Bill Lee and his wife Sheila. If you'd like to check out their church Victorious Life Church in Conyers, Georgia, visit their website at vlcog.com and/or Facebook page, facebook.com/william.lee.399.
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