“Love is in the air
In the whisper of the tree
Love is in the air
In the thunder of the sea
And I don’t know if I’m just dreaming
Don’t know if I feel safe
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when you call out my name”
The name John Paul Young may not ring any bells, but his one musical hit “Love Is In The Air” certainly may. Even after this one tune became a hit in 1977, love songs continue to retell the stories of the power surrounding us…the power of love. I once heard a pastor say if you listen closely to the words of love songs, you can often hear echoes of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Young’s love song reminds us that love involves risk and faith. We risk little in preaching, teaching, and living the gospel in the security of just sitting in the pew on Sunday morning. Instead, we should use our time in the sanctuary as the springboard for reaching out to “the other” – those who are different from us.
We know the Body of Christ is diverse and crossing cultural boundaries should be pursued with our hearts and out through the doors of our churches because it is what we believe in. But, there is risk involved in loving, caring, and praying for others. In light of our too frequent national tragedies, it is difficult for us to see that love is all around us. We must work through it. Every time we witness tragic events around the country, thoughts of safety first rush in to protect us. Instead of sequestering ourselves we need more churches willing to awaken us from our safe comfortable pews and risk engaging “the other” in love.
As an ordained African-American woman, serving a Burmese refugee congregation, I am learning to release routine comfy pew sitting for the freshness of experiencing the Gospel through another culture. The gathering of God’s people is our calling to reach beyond our comfort boundaries.
We need more churches…..
to move more people towards embracing the whole community
where the pulpit and platform reflect the ethnicity, gender, and generations in our pews.
to welcome the stranger and reflect the demographics of our community in the pews.
to take us outside our comfort zone and challenges us to understand what it means to be “the other”, while actively engaging within our community.
loosely holding onto bricks and mortar and tightly holding onto souls reached for Christ. Consider “Sabbatical Sundays”. Sabbatical Sundays allows your church to meet outside the walls of the sanctuary; holding worship and engaging the community without intimidating barriers of stained glass windows, iconic doors, and high steeples.
where financial budgets and building funds are equally as important as the number of people reached each year. A church willing to be accountable for the people served, met, reached, engaged, and witnessed to.
willing to share conversations about unconscious bias. We must be willing to receive that it is not “if” we have unconscious bias, but rather “which ones” are part of our everyday lives and how unconscious bias changes our discipleship as we share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Love one another” was His simple instruction. We need more churches willing to take the risk with us to actualize these words of Love.
Daynette Snead, is an Ordained Baptist Minister and Pastor of Community Outreach serving, First Chin Baptist Church, a Burmese refugee congregation in Eastern North Carolina, President of Diaspra (Diversity Inclusion A Support Presentation Associationz), Licensed Lifeforming Diversity Coach, and Chair of the Racial Reconciliation Ministry Team of the Cooperative Baptist Church Fellowship North Carolina. She coaches congregations and church leadership towards intercultural ministry. Daynette is a Doctor of Ministry student at Gardner-Webb University and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org