Christians You Don’t Have To Go Across The World To Experience Diversity, Simply Go Across The Tracks. There are many different ways for congregations to connect with a diverse group of people and going on an international mission trip is not the only solution.
Most churches give both time and resources to other non-profits, outreaches, ministries and mission efforts. As it relates to Church Diversity, ministry leaders should look at the percent of their personal outreach and philanthropic budget that goes towards local multicultural organizations. I’m not implying that a church should cut their international missions budget, I’m just saying look local.
The reality is church organizations can make great strides in impacting church diversity by exposing their congregation to local multicultural partnerships and outreach. Congregations can find multicultural organizations to give to, partner with and work alongside. When Jesus said go into all the world, that didn’t simply mean go around the globe—for many churches that simply means go across the train tracks.
For those of you who may not understand what “the other side of the train tracks” means, its referring to the fact that most communities were and some still are racially segregated by a set of train tracks or a dividing street. It can be “The Hood” on one side of the tracks and things get a little nicer, cleaner and newer on the other side. Hood or not, many times there is just a clear racial divide.
I thought the blockbuster movie “The Blind Side” provided an excellent illustration of what happens when people go across the tracks; the experience can be similar to an international mission trip. When Christians get out of their comfort zones and be the hands and feet of Christ in a community that’s less than a 20-minute drive from their suburban utopia, eyes are opened. In the movie The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock plays the role of Leigh Anne Touhy. The Tuohy’s are a Christian family led by wealthy restaurant chain owner Sean Tuohy, played by Tim McGraw. The short and skinny on the movie is the fact that a kid from the other side of the tracks got a shot to attend a rich private school, the Tuohy’s adopt him, he learns how to read, gets his grades up, becomes an excellent right tackle, learns to protect the quarterbacks Blind Side, goes on to play college ball at Ole Miss and eventually gets drafted in the 2009 NFL by the Baltimore Ravens.
There were several scenes in the movie where Lee Anne Tuohy was heart broken by what she experienced in “The Hood” only 20 minutes from her beautiful suburban home, in an area that she never realized existed. She had a desire to reach out, give and make a difference. She confronted some of her rich swanky girlfriends about their negative stereotypes as she had a desire connect with and change a community that she never knew existed. She realized that You Don’t Have To Go Across The World To Experience Diversity and Serve The Under-served… You Simply Need To Go Across The Tracks.
Why don’t we simply go across the tracks more often? Share your thoughts!