Yesterday, I spoke at a church that supports Ignite. I focused on Philippians 1: 7-8 and the “All of you” statements in that passage. I took a poll during the middle of the message and asked a series of questions. “What size town did you grow up in?” “How many siblings did you have?” “What was your church background?” I had the people look around during the poll to see the different responses to these questions, for I wanted them to see the diversity of the church. I then talked about the challenges that can come from this diversity, for our different experiences create a filter that we view life through.
Everyone’s filter is a combination of family background, learned values, environment we grew up in and lessons learned. We all have a filter that determines the way we view situations and other people. Conflict comes when we think that our filter is the only one that matters. This is not where we want to be.
The message focused on celebrating our differences and remembering the commonalities that we share: we are all participants in God’s grace and we are all supposed to be growing deeper in Christ. The church is a diverse group of people committed to a common mission: sharing the good news of God’s grace extended to the world through Jesus. It was also a good reminder to me to value the filters of others as I interact with people this week.