Books The Arts

United: A Book Discussion (Chapter 7 – His Bride)

Jasmine Holmes

“Oh, your dad’s a pastor?” he asked. “Is it a missionary Baptist church?”

I smiled at the questioner, shaking my head. “No, it’s a Reformed Baptist church,” I told him.

He grabbed a handful of materials from his booth at the conference we were both attending. “That’s great! We have lots of resources for pastor’s in urban contexts!”

“Awesome,” I said, grabbing the pamphlets without having the heart to tell him that, for as long as I can remember, my dad has been on staff at predominately white churches in suburban contexts.

Our church surroundings are “diverse” because we make them that way. I mean, when you’re a black family of ten, you make an impact sitting in the pew at Sunday school.

Joking, aside, the fact remains that many black families in search of doctrinally-sound churches will find themselves in ethnically monolithic contexts at one time or another. Further, many of those wanting to blaze a trail of multi-ethnic ministry might have to be the lonely starting point in their local congregations. In United, Trillia offers advice to people who may find themselves in this circumstance: Pray. Evangelize. Show Hospitality. Go. And Stay.

Continue to pray that God would give you opportunities to reach out. Evangelize, inviting people from all different sorts of backgrounds to your church. Show hospitality to build community among those who are different from you. Be willing to stay in a situation that may not be as comfortable for you.

The church is the Bride of Christ, and we, as believers, are called to love and build up the Bride at the cost of our own comfort. God wants us in church, and he wants us building community with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Once this becomes non-negotiable (Hebrews 10:24-25), the next steps becomes simpler: love the Bride and build the up Bride.

This week’s discussion questions are from Trillia’s study guide for United:

  1. What are you looking for when you search out a church?
  2. We’ve heard the saying “be the change you want to see.” What do you think about that saying? Do you think it could be useful in the context of selecting a church?
  3. Have you resisted getting to know people within your church? How might developing authentic relationships help or change your experience?
  4. If you’ve developed relationships already, how has it helped your church experience?
  5. How do you believe God views the church and its role in the believer’s life?

2 thoughts on “United: A Book Discussion (Chapter 7 – His Bride)

  1. Stacey Westfall

    When I look for a church to be a member of I look for expository preaching, fellowship and if they practice church discipline. I am biracial, African American and German Caucasian, and grew up as a military child attending all black and all white churches, some were a little more diverse than others. I learned very quickly that if I went into a church expecting diversity that I would be disappointed, and I also learned that even if the church was diverse that didn’t mean that I would necessarily fit in there either. I attended an all Korean church with my neighbors and felt completely at home there, and I have no Asian background. Although the Bride of Christ is very diverse, most of the places that we call churches in the world are not. We live in a fallen world and cannot expect people to live as though they had no sin. True believers are all ethnically, culturally and socioeconomically diverse. Most of the people I live in fellowship with, were it not for Christ, I would have never crossed paths with in life. Christ is thing one thing that we have in common and that is the bonds of our unity.

  2. george canady

    You ask questions and offer a comment section but hardly any one comments. Do you have any comments on that. Oh well. I am a reformed middle aged white small business owner guy with good teeth, who just joined a Missionary Baptist Church where my blonde hair blue eyed sweetheart of a wife was just baptized. Lets see if God will allow us to do this thing in reverse. I have been like a bull in a china closet for the last 6 years as I have discovered the beauty of the doctrines of grace. It seemed to me that, if properly understood, these truths should have brought about an ethnic unity In the gospel message that surpassed any previous generation. How disappointing then to see the rank segregation on Sunday in the very churches that have the truest truth. How disappointed to hear insensitive ethnic remarks by otherwise mature Christians when blacks are not around. I finally decided why not just go and do something radical. Who would care anyhow. They would be glad to be rid of a “factious man” any way.
    One reformed church I attended had a very prominent local black pastor that said that slavery was like the NFL draft. I didn’t agree at the time. But then I thought about it. Man, what if all blacks thought that way. Wouldn’t it be great if all blacks wanted to stay players and never coach or own a team. Problem solved. But then I thought about all the wisdom that we have missed out on because the “players” had not had a chance to direct the teem. I wanted forgiveness for that, not and excuse. So here I am at this church hoping to show a reformed kind of love that makes my reformed doctrines attractive. I know I am being watched very closely. Now I have to be quiet. I think it is good for me …………….Did I here someone snoring?

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