by John Hampton
The church on earth should look like the church in Heaven. And what does the church in Heaven look like? The apostle John answers that for us in Revelation 7:9: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”
Heaven is a place of ultimate diversity. Do our churches look like that? Not for the most part. I have found the majority of local churches and even national gatherings to be mostly uniform-looking crowds.
I don’t think we intentionally seek to be that way. I think we don’t know how to change or have failed to be deliberate about including people from every nation, tribe, people, and language.
Recently at the church I serve just outside of Orlando, Florida, our music/technical director made a comment that made me smile. He was remarking about our worship band and vocalists on a particular Sunday. He said, “We had a Swedish blonde vocalist, a Latino piano player, a Puerto Rican drummer, a Haitian back-up singer, an Irish ukulele player singing the lead, and three white guys on the guitar, bass, and keyboards trying to keep up!”
I love it! I think that is more reflective of the church in Heaven that John describes and certainly more representative of the area in which we live. For those who worship and serve in parts of the country that are mostly white, I would say diversity is not about location and geography; diversity is about motivation and theology. We want to see the gospel penetrate all cultures. We desire to see all nations find hope and healing in Jesus. That is the mandate of our Master and the reason for our existence.
From Theology to Doxology
Out of this kaleidoscope theology springs forth this compelling doxology: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb . . . . Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”
John Hampton is the lead minister at Journey Christian Church in Apopka, Florida. John and his wife Melinda have two daughters, Anna (24) and Rachel (19). John is vice-president of the 2011 North American Convention to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 5-8.