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Valuing Diversity Like Jesus Did

By Obe Arellano

Valuing Diversity Like Jesus Did by Obe Arellano

One of the best parts of having a Spanish speaking ministry as a part of your church is the perspective it brings your organization. It brings diversity, which is a buzzword in today’s political climate. But what does that look like for the church? How essential is it to have in the church?

Diversity in the Church

The Bible is clear. Diversity is not an end in itself, but it is incredibly important to building a true community of believers. It is about God, Creator of all, being true to all and loving His whole creation. Revelation 7:9 makes it clear that people of every nation, tribe, people, and language are among the body of Christ. These people look different, speak differently, and live differently than the culture you are accustomed to. The body of Christ is diverse by definition.

By extension, starting a Spanish language ministry should not be a “feel good” ministry for the rest of your church to check off a list. It is about valuing Latino humanity as image bearers of God. There are very real language, culture, and socioeconomic barriers that make this kind of ministry difficult, but it is necessary to overcome them and continue building up the body of Christ. We can take our pointers from Jesus Himself when considering Hispanic ministry in the United States.

Knowing Those Not Like Us

The way Jesus treated the marginalized is a great example of how we should treat communities of people that are outside of our comfort zones, whether because of race, culture, socioeconomic status, or any other reason. Jesus did not avoid ministry to people who were outside the mold of people He was expected to minister to—the ones most like Him. When it came to those who were outside of His bubble, Jesus was not anyone’s volunteer either. He was a friend. He knew them, and therefore He could minister to them.

We tend to not help Latinos because we do not know them. What you see in Jesus’ relational life was an incredible amount of diversity with all kinds of people to whom He related. Jesus knew all people, even those who weren’t like Him or in His socioeconomic class. He ate with prostitutes, tax collectors, and Samaritans. In fact dining with the marginalized was one of the most offensive things Jesus did. If we value diversity like Jesus did, our ministry will be focused on reaching all people groups and all backgrounds.

In Acts 1:8 Jesus calls the Church to minister locally, regionally, and globally. This call includes the Latinos in Latin America and the Latinos in our hometowns. When we heed this call, our church becomes a stronger and better community, and we see a glimpse of what community in heaven will look like.

Diversity is a reflection of heaven. If God values it so highly, then so should we.

This article from Obe was adapted from our Spanish Speaking Ministry course. Do you feel like starting a Spanish speaking ministry, campus, or church plant seems overwhelming? Check out our Spanish Speaking Ministry course and access 12 modules to help you serve this growing population with the right strategy and right leaders.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Obe Arellano

Obe Arellano is the Aurora Community Pastor at Community Christian Church in Chicago.

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