The words above were spoken recently by someone who had been reading “A Dream for Bethel”. He learned of Bethel’s vision to see people from many different races and cultures enfolded into the church. As a new arrival to Bethel who originates from the Congo, he recognized that the dream spoke of him! He was touched by the love behind the words.
“Someone dreamed me” - what amazing words to speak, and what heartwarming words for us all to hear.
The meeting at which these words were spoken was called specifically to discuss Bethel’s multicultural dream. Participants in the discussion are people who originate from Liberia, Iran, Jamaica, the Congo, and North America (that’s me!). It was the second time we had met.
During the meeting, I asked each person present if they would be willing to be part of an ongoing Multicultural Team, and if they would be willing to invest themselves to see Bethel’s dream of reaching the nations come true. I said I knew it would involve personal sacrifice for them, since they are a very few in number, and it can be rather overwhelming to serve in a church where you are a small minority.
The group resoundingly affirmed that they believe Bethel’s dream is, first of all, Jesus’ dream, and that they wholeheartedly commit themselves to it. They will start by seeking out people from other cultures who visit Bethel on Sunday mornings. Eventually they hope to host events like potlucks featuring foods from various nations to which newcomers to Bethel Church from other cultures can be invited. Starting with these small steps they believe they will see people from many different races enfolded into the church beyond what we can currently imagine.
During our recent meeting, one of our group members compared Bethel’s multicultural dream to starting a family. When a couple first dreams of having children, they cannot fully know the sacrifice involved. While they have a worthy goal, and are embarking on a joyful journey, they will no doubt be surprised along the way by the cost required.
If we as a church truly want to welcome people of other cultures, there will be a cost. It will mean that we will have to stretch beyond familiar patterns. It will mean each of us will have to extend ourselves to people who love Jesus but whose culture is different from mine. It will mean opening up leadership roles to people from many different races and recognizing that the church will change as a result.
The person who said, “Someone dreamed me,” went on to pose a question. He asked: “Is Bethel ready for me?” That is a question we each need to ponder.
– Pastor Tom
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