Unity in the Spirit

June 3, 2010


The experience of true unity is absolutely exhilarating.  On the athletic field, in the workplace, in community organizations, or in everyday family life, an atmosphere of unity creates fulfillment and energy.  The same is true in church environments.

This week we will be examining the foundational role of the gift of unity in the ongoing transformation that God is bringing to our community.  We will be answering these questions and more:

  • What is God’s purpose and plan for unity?
  • What are the things that trip up our unity?
  • What are the consequences for walking in disunity?
  • What is the evidence of Godly unity, as opposed to false unity?
  • How can we take the next step towards unity in the Spirit?

Come and join us on Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff, and bring a message on “Unity in the Spirit”.

Feel free to take a “sneak peek” at the Scripture passage for the week.

Raytown Vineyard is 6 Months Old!

July 5, 2009

Half Year Cake

This week, as we celebrate our 6 month birthday, we are especially aware of so many blessings.  Here are some highlights of what we have seen God do so far:

+We now have over 100 people serving on our Intercessory Prayer Team. 

+We have witnessed 3 adults give their lives to Jesus.

+We have baptized 5 adults and 1 nine year old.

+We have experienced numerical growth in several areas—especially in Ministry with Children.  The number of kids participating in our weekly worship service increased from an average of 13 kids each week in January to an average of 21 kids each week in June.  This last Sunday, we saw 27 kids!!!

+We have also ministered with an average of 200 kids (and their families) each Sunday in the Summer of Love Swap Meet Ministry.  (This ministry is scheduled to continue through the end of August.)

+We have provided simultaneous English/Spanish translation of our messages.

+We have experienced a strong level of multicultural multiracial participation, reflecting the demographics of our local community.

+We have developed strong partnerships with the city, the school district, local churches, the local media, and social service agencies.

+We have donated to eight other organizations doing great ministry in Raytown.  As a tithing church, we are committed to giving away the first 10% of funds received.

+We have met every single one of our financial commitments on time during this period.

+We have an outstanding core of leaders who are stepping up in every way!

There are plenty of ways to get involved, whether you live around the community, or around the world.  Be sure to check back later this week for a “Top 10” list of ways you can participate.

God’s Heart for a Multicultural Multiracial Church

June 26, 2009

At the Raytown Vineyard, we are convinced that God’s heart is to develop  churches that enjoy the multicultural and multiracial environment that is reflected in the broader community.

While we are clear in our understanding of this principle, we are continiously being challenged to find out how to actually DO what needs to be done to BECOME who we are called to become.

Here are some of the key questions we are wrestling with:

1)  How can we best join God in speaking to people’s hearts in their own language?

2)  How can we build more flexibility into our church community culture to become more adaptable–both over the long haul, and sometimes even “on the fly”?

3)  How much about what makes church “familar” and “comfortable” are we willing to give up to make others feel at home?

4)  How can we help people from diverse cultures and people groups feel not just “welcome” but truly “wanted”?

5)  How can we honor each person’s culture and perspective while maintaining unity of purpose and mission?

As a young new church, we have experienced some small successes.  But honestly, this is going to be a lifelong process as we continue to change and grow.  We are seeking to remain centered on the permanence of God’s nature while remaining completely adaptable in communication styles and methods.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below. 

And come join us this Sunday at 5 as we CONNECT with a challenging message about “God’s Heart for a Multicultural Multiracial Church”.

We are a Multicultural Multiracial Church

June 10, 2009

We recognize that the Raytown community as a whole is becoming more and more multicultural and multiracial.  Laurel Hills Elementary,the school we are partnering with, includes more than 60% African American and Hispanic.

We want to be effective at sharing the Gospel with a community filled with people of diverse cultures and races.  We have been intentionally praying for this, and we have also been intentional in preparing for it.

One BodyAccording to George Yancey, the common “critical mass” for a multiracial church is met when a cultural minorities reach at least 20% .  (Check out his book One Body One Spirit for further insights.)  This is true whether the majority of the church body is white, African American, Hispanic, Laotian, etc.

This past Sunday, we got to minister at the Swap Meet.  Of the 16 from our church, exactly 50% were people of color.  That’s a good thing, because at the Swap Meet, more than 90% of the kids and their parents we served were people of color.

At our Sunday Night CONNECT Worship Service this week, we continued the trend of becoming a multicultural multiracial church.  For example:

1)      Folks in attendance represented these people groups:  African American, Mexican, Honduran, Gypsy, Indian (Sub-Continent), and Argentine.
2)  Of the 60 in attendance, 21 represented “non-majority” race/culture.  This reflects a 35% rate. 

3)  We enjoyed providing simultaneous Spanish translation for the 2nd time.
4)  Reflecting our diversity, we included a bilingual English/Spanish song during our worship for the first time.

As an aside, I personally had the incredible opportunity of doing an interview this week with Jeff Adams, Senior Pastor at KCBT, a Raytown area church that is widely recognized as a national model for multicultural multiracial churches.  When Adams arrived, the white population in the congregation was 98 or 99%.  Today, it is approximately 25%.  It takes a special person to navigate a church through this metamorphosis.  I learned a lot.

Click here to read the Interview with Jeff Adams.

If you have thoughts about this topic, please leave a reply below.