You’ve experienced these moments.
Time stands still. You’re overcome with the presence of God. You might even question whether the moment is really happening. You’re standing on holy ground (ok, in this case, we were sitting, recording a podcast).
Holy moments can’t be crafted, predicted, or rehearsed. They simply unfold. And when they do, you experience a connection to a community that you haven’t experienced before.
In episode 179 we experienced one of these moments – and we hope you will too. Listen and consider what has changed about church and community in the last 30-47 years (yes, 47 years, not 45 or 50 -lol). Explore the shift from “come to church” to “get out of doors” and how one of us first experienced God beyond the church walls.
Then consider how our aspirational values can confuse us and our inability to accurately assess diversity – if we are in majority, the tendency is to overestimate our diversity.
So where do we begin?
Begin with the desire to learn and grow. Perhaps you’ll have a conversation about a book. Here are two of April’s suggestions:
Then, listen to the stories of people around you.
If you are white, ask someone who is a person of color, with whom you have a relationship, to tell you their story. Then, LISTEN. No commentary is necessary. The only thing needed is curiosity. April offers a wonderful example of how to enter into these conversations. She also offers an abundance of grace, reminding us that we’re not always going to get it right.
Finally, in the experience of a holy moment, we talk about everything from letting go of expectations, being right and what being fully seen can feel like. We name fear and explore how to remove any barrier that stands between a person and an encounter with God. Yes, the barriers can take the form of doubt, worry, fear, expectations, unwritten rules, perceptions, and stereotypes. How then, do Christ-centered leaders remove these barriers, let go of the filters and expectations to create space for people to encounter the holy.
You see, your story intersects with God’s story. In those holy moments, we not only encounter God but we experience Christ in one another – even online.
Write it Down/Talk it Out
- Who do you want to invite into a conversation as a result of “being aware of things in a new way?”
- What recent experiences of God (personal or by others) point to transformed lives and community?
- What is a transformation story you can share? For example, it can be simple as the transformation from self-centered to God-centered thought last Tuesday after a meeting. Think about daily life, current responsibilities, personal experiences, ongoing learning, etc.
- What is being transformed in your life? In ministry? In the local church?
Talk it Out
- What is your hope for the church in the next 10 years as it relates to diversity and inclusion?
- What barriers exist in the community that are stopping people from encountering God? How will you find out?