This is perhaps a bit of a vulnerable post as in full transparency – I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I stepped into my role now almost seven months ago. The previous 25 years were spent doing front line ministry, in many diverse communities, in different countries, and in the inner city – serving the most vulnerable families and their children. It was a calling that I was passionate about. It was a calling I knew God had positioned me for.
Enter God’s call to join Hillsong Church, as the Global Race and Ethnic Inclusion and Diversity Manager. This was not the first time during the past 25 years that I was approached to consider joining the staff of a church. I was on staff with a church in my early twenties, and since then was approached two times to join the staff of two different churches. But it was the only time that I had one hundred percent confidence that God was directing me – to the unknown.
Since stepping into my role, God has been revealing several things to me. He has shown me things I did not yet have eyes to see. He has given me a deeper understanding of His heart for ethnic and racial healing and unity. He has revealed scripture that is foundational to the journey. He has repeatedly through scripture confirmed that He is our main why for this important journey we are on. And, He has captured my heart for Hillsong Church!
In my role I have had the privilege of sitting down with every global lead pastor (via zoom) as well as many other leaders throughout our global church. In our meetings we talk about the Global Ethnic and Racial Healing and Unity Strategy, but we also spend time connecting where I have had the privilege of getting a window into their hearts. Each time I have finished a meeting I have felt encouraged and inspired. The humility of our leaders is inspiring. Their passionate love for Jesus is inspiring. Their servant hearts are inspiring. Their love for the church bodies and communities they serve is inspiring. Their heart posture to lean in and step into this journey of ethnic and racial healing and unity is inspiring.
Unanimously the heart posture is, “we are committed! We are passionate!” To the journey. To the sacred work. Of building ethnic and racial healing and unity within our global church. And all their why, because they love Jesus and His church.
In one of my conversations about ethnic and racial unity, with Duncan Corby, he said some things which were so insightful to this journey – I had to share it. It gives Biblical truths for why we as Hillsong church are going after ethnic and racial healing and unity. In case you don’t know Duncan, he has been on staff with Hillsong since 1995. While earning his M.Th. (Practical Theology), he has held numerous roles at Hillsong College, including lecturer, Campus Principal, Academic Dean and now General Manager. For over two decades he has been one of the College’s key faculty, teaching New Testament, leadership, theology and apologetics. Duncan said:
“In Revelation 7 we get a glimpse of where it is all heading. In Revelation it says: “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude, of every tribe, tongue, and nation”.
What an incredible picture of God’s mission in the world of where God is going. A huge multitude of every ethnic and linguistic group, declaring the glory of the God of all creation!
Why does Revelation give us a glimpse of that?
- It gives us a glimpse of that eternal future so that God’s people can go about creating that now!
- Because church is meant to be a foretaste of what is to come, ahead of time, of that eternal reality!
- That is why it is so important as a church to go about being a diverse and unified community!
- That we treat each other with grace, justice and mercy!
- So that the world can see a foretaste of the heart of God and of what is coming!”
As a Hillsong team we are on a journey of discipleship. Discipleship of ensuring that we are a healthy church changing lives through Christ. Discipleship of ensuring that as a spiritual family we are healthy in our ethnic and racial diversity. Discipleship of ensuring that our unity is undeniable, is a foretaste of what is to come, and that we are a bright city on a hill witness in the communities we are a part of!
Hillsong Global Ethnic and Race Diversity and Inclusion Manager
Maria Hansen-Quine, LASW, MSW