I have some friends who’ve recently come to faith. They’re from a subculture very disparate from mine. They’ve drawn me into conversations I’ve never had with other church members. Since they’re new believers and I’m a pastor, I usually see our interactions as an opportunity for me to assist their spiritual growth. I find myself defaulting to asking what about their worldview needs correcting. Today, it dawned on me that they are changing my worldview as much as I am changing theirs. By receiving Christ, they have brought their unique perspective on the gospel to bear on the church’s mission in the world. Today I had to admit to my friend that he was right about something over which we had disagreed.
His response was, “It’s like this turn signal thing on my van. If I find the short I can fix it. You needed a fix to the short. Its me.”
He’s right. I can get all energized by God’s grace but that energy won’t reach certain people in the world unless I have a bridge like my friend. I can study the Bible for the rest of my life but the gaps in my perspective will always hinder my understanding. I need a fix like my friend.
In the New Testament, Cornelius the centurion served as a bridge. He was a gentile who came to faith in Christ without having to convert to Judaism. His conversion not only catalyzed the a new gentile church in Caesarea it also sent theological shock waves through a church which saw itself largely as an extension of Judaism. Cornelius’ conversion converted the mindset of the church leaders of the day. We need to reach people from all backgrounds not only because they need Jesus but also because we need their idiosyncrasies to better understand and communicate our own message. (Acts 10-11; 15)