“You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.” Ephesians 4:4-8 (MSG)
There is beauty in the DIVERSITY of the Church.
I was recently moved by this thought after leading worship at an Australian Christian Churches conference, before visiting Sydney’s Blue Mountains to lead worship at the Wesleyan Methodist National Conference.
The differences in communication, culture, and expression were vast, yet the core beliefs and values were so similar.
It was a refreshing experience to encounter new and unique styles of worship from heartfelt hymns, to Tongan choirs, energetic praise songs and ancient hymns.
I believe this contrast illuminates the beauty of His bride — the Church, which is as diverse as the humanity God has created.
Across the planet today there are thousands upon thousands of evangelical churches, each wonderfully distinct in style, culture and expression of public and corporate worship.
Unfortunately however, it’s often the case that our diversity and differences evoke division and misunderstanding when really, our differences as the body of Christ should stir unity – they should be celebrated as unique expressions of His love.
True worship is defined by WHO we worship, not HOW we worship — Jesus is our common focus.
Worship is not characterised by your choice of instrument, the volume of your sound system, or whether or not you sing songs written by your own church. Leading worship is simply engaging and encouraging people to lift their eyes to Jesus, to focus on Him and find rest in His presence.
I am deeply convinced that the Church is heading for a new day, when Christians will look beyond what divides and UP to He who unites. For our God is greater than any stylistic preference. His worship transcends our differences.
Diversity within the Church allows for ANY and EVERY person to find comfort and acceptance in His House. There is a place for everyone. There is a church for everyone.
I pray that the Person of our affection would continue to unite us, that our eyes would be open and hearts accepting of the colourful diversity of worship as we continue to magnify His Name in oneness.