Lesson 11: August 13, 2017
Called to Break Down Barriers: Acts 8:26-39
Teaching Strategy: Discuss what the church is doing or can do to break down cross-cultural barriers. What other barriers keep people from enjoying fellowship in our congregation?
The story of Philip preaching to the Ethiopian eunuch reminds believers that the gospel is for all people. Christians are called to share the good news beyond their “comfort zones.” This means finding ways to break down the barriers that so easily divide people. Under the broad umbrella of “cultural differences” are differences in race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, immigrant status, sexual orientation, political views, and national background. Sometimes these differences are experienced within a local congregation as demographics change and new people bring new perspectives. Sometimes these differences occur when believers travel across the country or around the world to share the love of Jesus with others. Whatever the circumstance, breaking down cross-cultural barriers can be a challenge; it always requires humility, wisdom, prayer, and love. Love flows from the conviction that all people are created in God’s image and gratitude that God first loved us.
Food for thought:
- Inspiring story of a teenager in Mississippi who is working to overcome segregation in the churches of his community: Teen Leads Revival for Racial Reconciliation
- Interesting report on challenges some churches face: Houses of Worship Do Some Soul Searching As Their Neighborhoods Change
- Disturbing story of violence against Muslims in Minnesota: Explosion Starts Fire Inside Minnesota Mosque Just Before Prayer
- Insightful essay about how churches can most effectively engage in cross-cultural partnerships: Effective Partnering: The Church and Cross-Cultural Worker On-Task Together
- Signs of hope for cross-cultural (inter-religious) engagement: NCC Announces Two New Dialogues