Calvary Baptist Church is serious about diversity! We work hard to be a church that has racial diversity, gender diversity, generational diversity and diversity of gifts. We want to look like Heaven is going to look. We want to be a church with men and women from every walk of life worshiping King Jesus!
Diversity is at the core of Calvary Baptist Church. It is implicit in our motto. “Carrying out the Great Commission by healing hurts and meeting needs.” Diversity is built into the great commission. This famous passage is found in Matthew 28:18-20.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This passage leaves no doubt that the Gospel is for all men and women, in all places, and at all times.
Diversity is at the core of the Gospel. It is the center of John 3:16. The word “whoever” in this verse transcends race, age, gender, or ethnicity. In other words, whoever means whoever! We believe, every church should strive to look ethnically and racially diverse. We believe every church should reach across gender and across generational lines. We are serious about breaking down the barriers of prejudice until we see each other only as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Jesus was a Jew! He wasn’t white and he wasn’t black. Our church goes to great efforts to make sure that we don’t make Jesus try to look like us. Rather, we try to be a church that looks like Jesus in our actions and attitudes because we know most of us don’t look like him in skin color. We make a deliberate effort to create a church service that reaches across racial lines. We believe that all people, regardless of the color of their skin, belong to one race- the human race!
Regardless of background, all people are similar. We all come from the same ancestors (Genesis 3:20). We all share the same struggles (Romans 3:23). We all need a Savior (Acts 4:12; Ephesians 4:5). Jesus was willing to leave Heaven, set aside his glory, and become a man so that men might be saved.
Recent church research shows that most Americans want a racially diverse church but few are able to find a racially diverse church. Why don’t most churches look racially diverse? There’s a lot of reasons why most churches don’t look racially diverse. Basically, it boils down to one main reason… an unwillingness to do the hard work to break down barriers. That reason usually shows up in these three areas:
- It’s hard- this is probably the easiest identifiable reason why churches don’t look more diverse. It’s just not easy to create a culture and develop a style that reaches across the lines and breaks down barriers. Often when pastors are challenged with this difficulty, they give up and target people that look and act exactly like them. That’s why most churches look homogeneous.
- Stylistic differences- if we we’re really honest with each other we would say there are sometimes huge style differences between races and generations. For example, some like the traditional music others like contemporary music, some like gospel others like rock music, some like loud preachers others like the quiet thought-provoking style. As challenging as the style differences are they shouldn’t stop a church from trying to reach across all racial lines.
- Don’t really take the Bible seriously- Few pastors are going to admit this but you can’t escape the conclusion if you really believe the Bible to be true you have no choice but to reach across all racial lines. If you’re not reaching across the lines you really don’t take the Bible seriously! Because we take the Bible seriously, the Gospel seriously, and the Great Commission seriously, we take racial diversity seriously at Calvary Baptist Church.
Calvary works diligently to be a church that reaches men and women of all colors of skin. We hurt when one part of Jesus’ church hurts, and we celebrate when one part of Jesus’ church celebrates, no matter their color of skin (1 Corinthians 12:26). Calvary is a church that looks men and women the way God looks at men and women. If God only looks at the heart as demonstrated in 1 Samuel 16:7, then we should only look at the heart. If this is how God sees us as his children, then this is how we should see others.
Jesus affirmed women’s dignity. He, more than any other during his day, showed women their value in the sight of God (John 4:27). Calvary is a church that wants women to share an important role in almost all aspects of our church (Acts 2:18). However, we believe Scripture teaches that the role of preaching is reserved to only men (1 Timothy 2:12). With the exception of this teaching role in the church, we encourage women to participate in the other aspects of our church. Here’s a link to a recent sermon that will give you a lot more detail on how we view gender diversity at our church.
God blessed his church with wise men and women who were able to mentor others (Acts 2:17). We believe that the older men and women in the church should encourage and support the younger generations (Titus 2:3-4).
We believe that there is a great deal that young men can learn from older, godly men. Therefore, we want to see older generations active in the process of making disciples of younger generations (1 Timothy 5:1).
It is our goal to create an environment where young men and women can learn from the wisdom of older generations in our church. Some of the activities of our church are designed to get people playing and praying together across generational lines.
Diversity in Giftedness-
We believe God gives diverse gifts to the members of his church so that his church can be complete. This is the emphasis in Ephesians 4:11-12. Therefore, Calvary wants every member to be a minister. We believe every minister should have a ministry. We believe that every ministry is important. We teach that the role of pastor in our church is to equip the members to do the ministry of the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). God brings diverse people to his church, with diverse gifts, for the good of the whole church (Romans 12:6).
Without this diversity, Calvary Baptist Church would be incomplete. Any church that doesn’t look diverse in race, gender, generations and giftedness doesn’t adequately represent Jesus’ kingdom! Calvary is a church that wants to look like Heaven will look- with men and women from every tribe, race, nation, and tongue worshipping King Jesus (Revelation 7:9).
If you’re already a member of Calvary Baptist Church here’s my challenge for you. Go develop relationships with people who don’t look like you. Learn other people’s culture, respect other people’s culture, and engage others with the Gospel of King Jesus.