WHAT?

Jesus’ reached out to those who were different from him, including those considered unspiritual, unclean, or unaccepted. He bridged the gap between God and sinners, between men and women, between rich and poor. Every Disciple of Jesus has been given this ministry of reconciliation. Cross-Cultural Exchange helps Disciples discover new perspectives on self, God, and faith, but most importantly helps the church grow more like Christ who is our Peace.

Intentional Faith Development means learning how to talk with, understand, and when needed be reconciled to your neighbor who is different from you.

 

There are many things divide our families, neighborhoods, churches, nation, and world.

Class (economics)       Race                Nationality      Cultural/Social Background

Faith/Religion             Generations                Education                    Language

 

The Bible does not ask for conformity or uniformity in our spiritual life, however Jesus demonstrates the fruit he expects from his Disciples:

Reconciliation             Unity                Peace-Making                         Shalom or Wholeness            

Confession       Healing            Humility & Understanding                  Celebration of different gifts

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”- Prayer of St. Francis

WHY?

‘Us’ and ‘Them’ is just as a strong theme today as it was 2000 years ago.  Sadly, many outsiders to the Christian faith see judgment, hate, and discrimination when they look at the church. Eleven o’clock on Sunday morning continues to be the most segregated hour in American society—whether it’s division of race, language, or class. Spiritual Growth means opening your soul and church to places of brokenness and division in personal relationships and the wider community.

 

HOW?

Doing Resource

  • Establish a relationship with other faith communities in your neighborhood, especially ones different in ethnicity/culture/language from your church.
  • Plan a short-term Bible study with a small group from a “sister” church to promote deeper relationships and prayer.
  • Sponsor an ecumenical or inter-faith event, especially around a church or national holiday (Easter or MLK) or a common community goal (garden project).
  • Participate in a United Methodist covenant relationship with an overseas church or support a foreign missionary to develop knowledge and empathy for people of that nation.

 

If you have questions or would like to further explore these Stepping Stones to faith development
please contact Rev. Amber Massingill by phone (817-877-5222) or email (amber@ctcumc.org).