I love Franklin, TN. It’s an amazing city. Everything you could want from a city, small town, and country is just within a few minutes. There are great schools, people, and events. It’s the heart of Williamson County, which is one of the wealthiest counties in America. Since I’ve lived here most of my life, it’s filled with incredible memories too.
But it isn’t a perfect city. For instance, many people new to Franklin are surprised to hear that life in Franklin isn’t great for everyone in Franklin. There are food shortages in Franklin. Yep, that’s right. Food shortages. There’s poverty. Drug abuse. There’s homelessness in Franklin. There are deep divisions in Franklin. An “Historic Franklin” that has some “must see” plantation homes that survived the Civil War means that the mixture of pride and pain in this city isn’t new.
Thankfully, Franklin has some fantastic men and women working to make this amazing city even better. Elected officials, school administrators, business leaders, churches, and many other types of people of goodwill are leaning into the complex problems facing our city. I’m grateful that God allows me to pastor a church, Redemption City Church (RCC), that has invested a great deal of time, money, and energy in serving our city.
But I want to see more. I believe we can see more. I want to see changes in our city that far exceed our abilities. That’s why I’m asking God to help RCC serve our city in a way that adorns the gospel. Out of the many ways we are trying to do this “adorning,” I’d like to ask you to pray with us as we pursue a more ethnically diverse RCC. I’m praying that RCC will be a church marked by greater ethnic diversity than we see in our historic city. And I’m asking you to join me praying for and pursuing this for the following reasons:
I’m Praying For More Ethnic Diversity At RCC Because The NT Church Prioritized It – One of the greatest evidences of grace in the early church was the uniting of diverse and divided peoples. Nobody could get the Jews and Gentiles together in Ephesus, but the Apostle Paul insisted that the Ephesian church use the gospel to make it happen (Eph. 2:11-22). He told the church in Corinth, a church ministering in a divided city, that their ministry is fundamentally a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). This emphasis shouldn’t come as a surprise, since, after all, Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” asks God to unite his people—a people made up from all nations (Jn. 17:21; Matt. 28:18-20). Christ’s church has always made uniting diverse peoples a priority. In light of this, the question really becomes more of a “how could we not pray and pursue greater ethnic diversity,” than “should we?” That’s why I’m praying RCC becomes more diverse ethnically.
I’m Praying For More Ethnic Diversity At RCC Because God Says The Church Will Be Ethnically Diverse In Eternity – There’s a lot that God hasn’t told us about heaven. Thankfully, He’s not completely silent. He’s revealed the most important aspects, one of which is the fact that people from all over the world will be united in Christ (Rev. 5; 21-22)! What a glorious sight that will be. I can’t wait. So, if that’s where Christians are headed and that’s how God defines “Heaven,” why not work towards it now? If Redemption City Church is going to become more of a preview of the coming Redemption City (Rev 21:1-6), we’ll need greater ethnic diversity. If this aspect of the coming of God’s kingdom is going to be a visible reality, we need to pray for it.
I’m Praying For More Ethnic Diversity At RCC Because The Power Of The Gospel Shines Brightest When It Unites Diverse People – Ancient Philippi was divided. In Acts 16, we learn that it was divided politically, socioeconomically, and ethnically. And yet, unbelievably, a church was started with people from each of these diverse groups! How did the Apostle Paul get Lydia, a slave girl, and a Roman jailer together? The gospel. The gospel was powerful enough to bring these diverse people together. And it still is. That’s why I’m praying that the diverse and divided people of our city will be united in Christ at RCC, revealing the unbelievable power of the gospel.
I want to be a part of a church that is a shining example of what the power and grace of God produces with the gospel. I’ve been in enough conversations and read enough about this to know that God alone can produce what I want to see. Join me in praying that the God of the impossible will do the impossible in our church, in our city, and in our day.