By Reggie Ramos
Imagine this scenario: Pastor Mitch concludes his Sunday sermon with a firm challenge and a familiar “Let’s pray.” While heads are bowed, he continues to lead in prayer as the worship team quietly makes their way to their positions on the platform. As the pianist sits down, she thinks to herself, “What should I do?”
- Should I begin playing something while he is talking, or should I wait until he finishes?
- Should I play at all?
- If I play, what should I play?
What should the pianist do? Is there a right answer?
Some would prefer silence to give space for uninterrupted contemplation. Others appreciate music being played, as long as it is not a specific or familiar song (which draws their attention). Others expect the music playing to encourage their prayer by guiding them towards familiar songs with lyrics that form an appropriate response to the sermon. The bottom line: whatever the pianist does, at least one of the groups of people is not being ministered to in a manner that honors their preference.
I bring up this scenario because it is a very small glimpse into the complexity (and potential messiness) of the process of growing as a diverse church. Based on our cultural backgrounds, we very likely have differing views on what is “normal”, “regular”, “good”, and “effective”. So whenever we put our preferences forward, it is potentially at the cost of what honors those not like us.
However, as a congregation, we have agreed that diversity is a defining core value of Wellspring. Specifically, we have said that we love and honor one another in our differences. This value is an invitation to grow in Christlikeness as we put others before ourselves, just as Paul taught in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” It is also an invitation to learn to flourish outside of our comfort zones, as we learn from those who are different from us.
As we move forward together, let’s remember that it’s more than about styles, songs, or preferences. It’s about elevating us over me because of Him.