As I share my thoughts, I realize even today that our society still struggles with issues of “difference” through social systems that exclude those that are seen as “less” than or “not equal” by someone’s standards or judgment.
It has been almost a year since our church published a new informational document that further expresses, who we are as a faith community – it is simply called “We Share”. Within “We Share”, are eight “Enduring Principles.” These principles challenge us to take what we believe and say, where people live in our communities and cities.
I am a member of the Expanded World Church Leadership Council, a group of church members from various generations, cultures and ethnicities. This council worked together on the development of “We Share”. I remember vividly the intense, emotional and awesome experience of spending two years in conversation and prayer with each other as brothers and sisters from different parts of the world, yet the same church family.
Brainerd Community of Christ (Chicago, Illinois) is a diverse urban African American community ministry. They have a very intentional affirming ministry that sends the message, “We care about you, and want to share with you the love and ministry of Jesus Christ.”
The enduring principle “Worth of All Persons” has helped shaped this congregation and their community invites everyone to fellowship with them. No matter if they are dirty, just released from jail, white, unemployed, gay, have mental health or substance abuse challenges, everyone is made to feel comfortable and invited to tell their story. Discussions occur about their worth as part of God’s creation, the importance of the gifts of salvation, the ministry of healing and reconciliation, and how Brainerd will join them in their journey of being restored to wholeness. This ministry humbly illustrates how it takes “all of us” to change and become a community which takes care of each other no matter “who you are” or “what you have.”
My personal mission is, “Always leave a person better off than how I found them”. I do this by taking any opportunity to cross-over and break-down barriers that keep people from sharing in the love of Jesus Christ. How can you help break-down barriers that keep people from sharing in the love of Jesus Christ?
Enduring Principle: Worth of All Persons
- God views all people as having inestimable and equal worth.
- God wants all people to experience wholeness of body, mind, spirit, and relationships.
- We seek to uphold and restore the worth of all people individually and in community, challenging unjust systems that diminish human worth.
- We join with Jesus Christ in bringing good news to the poor, sick, captive, and oppressed.
Read the “We Share Document” with our 9 Enduring Principles.
Derrick Williams is an African American Ministries Minister living near Chicago, Illinois. Ask Derrick how you or your young adult group can hook up with African American Ministries to get involved[