By Richard Hayes, District Representative, Southwest
The Result of Diversity
The Southwest District of Village Missions spans four states: California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. The word “diverse” is the single word that best describes the people, cultures and churches of the Southwest District. According to Webster, the word diverse carries the idea of differing from one another, or having various forms and qualities. As we survey the vast mosaic of peoples and cultures that forms the Southwest District, we find individuals of all walks of life, from various backgrounds and from virtually every ethnicity. Glenn Daman, in his book, “The Forgotten Church,” shares this pertinent insight. “While rural churches often support global ministries, they now need to recognize that cross-cultural ministry has come to their own communities. As rural America becomes more ethnically diverse, especially through the Hispanic population growth, the church can become more involved in cross-cultural ministry at the local level.” (Daman, 205).
Diversity in Village Missions
Virtually every Village Missions field and church throughout the Southwest District represents ethnic, social and economic diversity to some degree. Some fields minister to specific language groups, such as our Navajo speaking church, Navajo Bible Church in Defiance, New Mexico with Village Missionaries Jimmy and Nevey Francisco or our Spanish speaking church in the central valley of California, Casa de Dios Christian Fellowship in Avenal, California with Village Missionaries Raul and Teresa Corona.
The Reason for Reaching Diverse Communities for Christ
As diverse communities are reached for Christ, the church naturally begins to reflect the ethnic and social makeup of the community. In the end, diverse churches are not the result of something we program into our church’s ministry. Rather, diversity results from lives being impacted by the Gospel. While barriers such as language, culture and customs may need to be overcome, as Christians and churches intentionally build relationships with individuals who are not necessarily like themselves, the gospel is advanced as individuals place their faith in Christ.
Thus, we get a taste of the vision of Revelation 5:9-10, “And they sang new song, saying,‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals,for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,and they shall reign on the earth.’”(ESV).