by Renee Scott
Recently we had a guest pastor at church that spoke on diversity. I was excited to hear the message because at work I handle multicultural marketing. I didn’t expect to hear anything that I didn’t already know.
- 1st confession: I actually went in feeling like everyone else around me needed to hear the message more than me. I mean really, what more could I learn about diversity. I’m a Black woman with a career focused on other cultures. On top of that, I grew up in a traditionally Black church. I felt like I knew more than most. It felt good to relate my past to the guest minister’s past of growing up in a similar church.
- 2nd confession: For the longest time, I wondered why God placed me at Grace Family Church. We were transplanted into the Tampa Bay area due to a career move approximately 7 years ago. Grace Family church wasn’t the first church we visited in our quest to find a church home. Grace represented a big difference for me in the “church” experience. I brought with me a myriad of mindsets about worshiping with individuals different than my norm. We were invited to Grace by one of its members about a year after our move to the city. We enjoyed the experience, however, I was fine if we kept looking. This wasn’t what I was used to. After praying about where God wanted us to go, He led us to join Grace. I didn’t come to the church as a “baby” in Christ. I would consider myself a mature Christian. I’d seen a lot, knew a lot, but had so much more to learn. I’m grateful that I was obedient to God’s leading. After Sunday’s message I realized more and more that we are all God’s people and we can’t judge others on past experiences or outside perceptions that aren’t reality. I loved when the guest minister said, “God doesn’t move in our preferences.”
More confessions about my experience:
- The music is very different: Before I came to Grace, I remember my sister telling me, “don’t miss the opportunity to worship because of the music.” She was gently nudging me to focus on God along with the words and meaning of each song. I needed to allow God to move in a different way.
- My daughter didn’t understand interracial couples: The family that invited us was an interracial couple. My daughter was only 5 years old when we met them at church. I introduced them to her and her first words were, “Mommy, how can they be married when she’s pink and he’s brown?” I was mortified and embarrassed. Fortunately the couple laughed it off and explained to her that they can marry each other even though they were different colors.
- What in the world was a small group? In my previous church, we didn’t have small groups. We had Wednesday night Bible study. The minister taught, and we listened. We weren’t sitting around the table telling others about our lives. What happened in your house, stayed in your house. You took your cares to the Lord in prayer (in private).
- Our Beautiful women’s retreat was different: I don’t remember every dancing in my pj’s at a women’s retreat. I would normally leave a women’s conference/retreat, tired and without a voice from worshipping, singing, and crying out to God during the course of the weekend. It was a unique experience to eat brownies by the pool, relax in a lounge chair on the beach, or take a cardio exercise class in the middle of the day.
I thank God for this season in my life. I love my church and all that I’ve gained in the past six years of being here. I needed the reminder that this journey, called life, is about relationship with Christ and others. We were created to be in relationship. God wants us to LOVE all people despite their differences.
Renee Scott is co-founder of the popular blog, www.doubleportioninspiration.blogspot.com ,where she shares encouragement and inspiration to men and women all over the world. She’s been a member of Grace Family Church for four years. She loves to run and recently completed her first half marathon. She is a wife of over 14 years and mother of two children.