A few years ago a good friend of mine said, “Our worship flows from our understanding of God’s heart.” This has stuck with me on a really deep level. And this has changed the way I approached multicultural worship. When I first started pursing the vision for multicultural worship in 2005 I focused heavily on singing songs in different languages. (I still do.) And I did that because I believe that’s where part of my gifting and passion is. But after awhile I didn’t really understand why I was so passionate about multicultural worship. I enjoyed the musical side of things and the vision resonated with me. However, I honestly didn’t understand God’s heart about it.
Don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t like I wasn’t reading my Bible. I haven’t missed a day in the Word for nearly 15 years, but I was missing something. I needed the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom about why multicultural worship is so important. For example, I used to hear people sing and say, “Be still, and know that I am God.” What I didn’t realize was that although this is true statement, it wasn’t the whole statement. Psalm 46:10 reads like this: He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Wouldn’t knowing half a verse leave you with an incomplete idea of who God is? How much more if we take an idea, verse, or chapter out of context without understanding the big picture of what God is doing? And what is that picture?
I believe part of the answer to that is that God has shown us that he’s bridged the gap between the races, generations, and gender through Christ. He’s given us instructions on how to relate better with one another because the call on the Church is to be united, not separated by ethnic group, language, musical style, denomination, etc. And this would all the more magnify the name of Jesus.
Now, I wouldn’t have understood that unless I did the following and continue to do the following:
Make a plan to read the entire bible in a year…every year.
Use bible commentaries when I read Scripture to gain better context about who the author is writing to, what the situation was when they received letters, etc.
I use a online software called www.Biblearc.com to help me study the Bible by learning how to break it up into smaller sections/ and ideas.
I develop relationships with people of other cultures and ask lots of questions.
Why? There’s a good possibility that the reason I may be turned off from a certain expression of worship is because I don’t understand the reason/history behind it.
Ask our pastor lots of questions.
Ask other ministry leaders lots of questions.
I want to encourage and challenge you to do some of those very same things to continue learning and growing in your understanding of who God is. I pray that this will give you, the people on your team, and the congregation reason to embrace God’s heart to bring the nations together to worship Him.
(This article was written by Peter Park for Proskuneo Ministries of which Josh Davis is the Founder and our vetted contributor to Worship Ministry Catalyst. Peter Park is the founder/blogger for Redemption Boulevard A Multicultural Worship Ministry and serves as the worship director at Aldrich Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis MN. Peter is also part of the lead team of the Multi-ethnic Worship Leaders Network. You’ll also find him busy at home watching his two boys as a stay at home dad).