Think about the people you surround yourself with. Are there clear similarities between them?
It’s easier to build a community around people like yourself: people of similar socioeconomic status, age, ability, gender and — whether you’ve thought about it or not — likely skin color. It’s more comfortable that way.
It takes more effort to build relationships with people who are not like you. But what might it look like to step outside of your comfort zone and be in community with people with whom you have no obvious similarities?
I challenged myself to find a diverse community within my church, and I was surprised at how it made me rely on the Lord for patience, kindness and understanding.
Here are four benefits of a diverse community that I discovered:
Growth in community starts with understanding that diversity in community is necessary. Different people bring different things to the table that can stretch our values, understandings and beliefs.
God has made people diverse. But if we have placed our faith in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, He’s given us a connecting point through a relationship with Him. A common bond in Christ allows people who are different to live and learn from each other.
God invites us to understand more about His character through our similarities AND our differences. But we have to be willing to take a step of faith — outside of our comfort zone — to move toward a better understanding of the kingdom of God.
God’s kingdom is not segregated by ethnicity, age, gender, physical ability or socioeconomic status. Part of what it means to live a God-honoring life is that we are unified with other Christ-followers because of our shared hope in Christ (Ephesians 4:4). Jesus told us to pray for God’s kingdom to come — to pray that all things would be made right (Matthew 6:10). We have the opportunity to help answer this prayer by actively moving toward one another in pursuit of diversity in our communities.
This week, try taking steps toward a more diverse community.
If you want to change your life, you can’t do it on your own. Sharing your struggles with others may seem intimidating, but if you find the right people, it can transform you.
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