The Bible is adamant that God is building one church. The unity of the church is of paramount importance to God and has to overcome all our cultural, racial and gender preconceptions. Most of us are comfortable with people who are similar to us and there are many who advocate churches gathering along cultural or racial lines. There is even a principle espoused by the Church Growth movement, “the homogeneous unit” principle, which states that people are attracted to churches that have “their kind of people,” and advocates that we should be targeting a certain segment of the society (e.g. Generation Xers or ‘Baby Boomers’). I’m not comfortable with that, because I believe God is building a church ‘from every tribe and language and people and nation.’ (Rev 5:9) God is the one who chooses the people and He is wanting salvation to touch every age group and racial group without discrimination.
Steven J. Cole says that ‘the church should be as racially diverse as the local population,’ and I think this is true. The church needs people of all ages and races, because it is the family of God. The acceptance of Gentiles into the church in the same way as Jews (described in Acts 10 and 11 and elaborated by Paul in Ephesians 2 and 3) shows us clearly that we don’t get to pick and choose whom God chooses or how He works. Our wrong thinking has to be transformed; our minds have to be renewed. (Rom 12:1-2) One of the greatest testimonies to the power of God is to see people of all ages, temperaments, races and backgrounds working together for God’s glory, united in the love of God and serving His purposes for their locality and generation. May He work in us to bring together people and build His church.