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Women Of Reverence welcomes Craig Meyer as a guest blogger for Fathers Day month.

Craig and Colette Meyer have a son and a daughter in high-school and have been church leaders since their second year of marriage.

Craig leads the Eldership Team at Grace Cov Church and serves on the NCMI Translocal Team. They have been privileged to minister much in Lesotho, and serve churches in other parts of the world. Google maps have become his prayer journal.

Craig and Colette are serial home renovators. He loves good coffee and carpentry, cutting wood and making things puts a smile on his face.

Voices without number, crowds beyond counting, languages of every sound, faces of every profile, sounds that jar and sooth the ear. A visual and vocal cacophony to overwhelm the senses and spark awe and wonder at the majesty of God.

That’s the dream isn’t it?

It’s what Revelation chapter 7 tells us heaven looks like.

The culmination of the ages, the ultimate consequence of creation and the cross.

… is people!

If this is the design and destination for the people of God, it’s strange then, that our churches tend most easily toward mono-cultural style, narrow gatherings of people similar to ourselves!

“Birds of a feather Flock together” is really just code for admitting that it is easiest to associate with the people most like us.

Teenagers prefer to hang out with teenagers rather than grandparents, golfers prefer to spend time with golfers rather than stamp collectors.

Not even to mention the epic culture wars of our day: Apple vs PC, Milk vs Dark chocolate, Coke vs Pepsi, T-bone steak vs Veggie burgers!

South Africa walks forward from our history with a limp. But such a limp can be a beautiful thing.

It speaks of wrestling and overcoming. It speaks of beauty being found from ashes, it speaks of the evidence of the Hand of God on our lives.

In Gen 32 we read the account of Jacob wrestling with God, and ending in an injured hip, and a blessing from God. Verse 31 tells us “as the son rose, Jacob was limping because of his hip” for the rest of his life, people would see the physical evidence of the Lords dealings. We read on that the encounter passes into Jewish culture, verse 32 “Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip”.

One man’s journey becomes not just a testimony, but shapes the culture of the people he lives among!

The dealings of God can be a beautiful thing!

That is why we as a local church carry a Heart for the Nations, for Apostolic Christianity that willingly sows & sacrifices to make disciples of all peoples. Not just beyond our borders, but also in our back yard. We have the pleasure of being part of a church of many home languages, colours and nationalities, in our congregation, ministry, service and leadership teams. This gives much opportunity for laughter, teasing & delight!

We’ve seen Gods smile on our unity in Him.

If you would respond to Jesus call to build multicultural, multigenerational churches, it will come with both a cost and a celebration.

It takes a willingness to invest in those not like us.

To have difficult conversations, say the wrong things, be misunderstood.

To be hurt out of ignorance, to stand on toes you don’t know are even there.

To love relentlessly and embrace the dream of heaven, that we are better together.

That our nation’s healing will be a work of God, that the culture wars fade when we acknowledge our brother and sister, made in the image of God as we are, not as a representative of a group or ethnicity, but as a son or daughter of the same Father “ from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” Ephesians 3:15

Practical approaches to building Multiculturally:

- Celebrate our differences, both cultural and personal. To delight in diversity and appreciate the gift whatever vessel it comes in.

- Forgiveness and choosing to be unoffendable

- Allow room for mistakes, and laugh at them together

- Tenaciously believing the best of others

- Honouring each other and appreciating our differing efforts to reach the same goal.

- Recognise, raise and release every gift, even if different to what we have.

- To contend for Kingdom culture, vs the prism of personal experience, preference and habit.

- Surrender our baggage, understanding that much of our church culture is learnt, not biblical.

- To understand our Setting. It’s foolish to fight our context, e.g. urban, rural, city, suburb, or village. But we should strive to represent the fullness of the place you come from.

- To fight for biblical values, understanding they can be represented in different ways.

- Language – to delight in speaking our own languages when fellowshipping with those who understand us, even using many languages in worship & prayer, but always using a common language in mixed company.

I believe that building multicultural churches is more challenging, often slower, calls for an uncommon yielding to the Spirit, but is more beautiful, more clearly glorifies God and evidences His power, and offers more hope to our Nation.

Isa 41: 19 I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, 20 so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it. God says as a display of His splendour He will bring together different trees from different habitats, and cause them to flourish together, for the very purpose of displaying His glory to all mankind!

Let’s live this dream together!

Craig Meyer

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