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The M.O.S.A.I.C. leadership framework for a unified church provides six essential bridging actions for oneness in a multicultural church: “M” (Multitudes); “O” (Openness); “S” (MeSSage); “A” (All); “I” (Impartiality and Inclusion) and “C” (Communication). (Figure 1) [i] One of the framework’s essential leadership actions is the practice of intentionality, the purposeful and planned steps in ministry that bring the multitudes from the Body into oneness in Christ.

Jan Paron/February 16, 2013

MOSAIC Framework for Bridging the Gap

(Figure 1)

Unity Does Not Mean Uniformity

Paul wrote the letter of Galatian church, comprised of predominantly Gentile membership (Gal 1:16; 2:2-7-9).[iI] Many of the Galatian believers were Gauls, or Celts, who originated in central Europe. The Gauls migrated from Switzerland to southern Germany, northern Italy, France, Britain, Balkans and later Asia Minor (cf. Galatia).[iii]  The characteristics of the Celtic culture differed from regional residents, which included Galatian citizens, local tribes, Jewish converts and Roman militia.  The Gauls were mercenaries and warriors, with a unique physical stature and wild appearance. Additionally, they spoke their own oral-based language that was Celtic.[iv] It was without wonder that Jewish Christian infiltrators, or Judaizers, in Galatia were determined that Galatians had to take on a Jewish identity specified through Mosaic Law to be Christians. They perverted the Gospel (1:7-9) by insisting all Gentiles be circumcised (5:2; 6:12-13), adhere to the law (3:2-5; 5:4-6) and take on a Christian identity marked in Jewish rites and practices. Apostle Paul refuted the Judaizers’ false teaching and clarified the law versus the promises of faith in Jesus Christ (Gal 3:19, 21-22). The Apostle Paul sums his discussion on the law by highlighting the joining of Jews and Gentiles together through faith in Christ.“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28 NKJV). We begin with this intent of joining the Body together as one.

“M” Intentionally Ministers to the Multitudes

The first action from the framework for a M.O.S.A.I.C. church relates to intentionality in ministry. An intentional action accomplishes two purposes. First, this action opens access for individual reconciliation with God. Second, it also brings the collective Body into one fold with one Shepherd. Intentional actions direct the salvation message to different people groups representing God’s elect. A basic definition for a people group is a cluster of people who share the common language and cultural distinctive. Within language and culture are sub-divisions. For example, the national language of the United States is English; however, its citizens speak with different dialects and regional vocabularies. Also, linguistic variations present themselves from first to third-generation Americans. Each of these unique groups represents a sub-division of the English language in the United States. Age groups form a separate culture within society. Sub divisions form by age, ethnicity, geography and other factors. The goal is to intentionally minister to the different people groups that make up the communities in your ministry.  Jesus reached out to the multitudes with intentional actions. He ministered to many different types of people. Regardless of their language and cultural backgrounds, He broke through the barriers that separated people from the blessings of salvation, wholeness and restoration. There are eight intentional reaching actions to practice regularly in ministry (See Figure 2). These actions include

  1. Giving opportunity for reconciliation with God to the multitudes;
  2. Inviting and welcoming the multitudes into all facets of ministry;
  3. Involving diverse team members in the decision-making process within the circle of power in your ministry
  4. Bringing together a diverse team of like-minded people in your ministry staff
  5. Living in brotherhood and esteeming culture;
  6. Developing relationships with people from other cultures; as well as creating opportunity for cross-cultural fellowship
  7. Using spiritual growth measures to assess progress for unity within your ministry and
  8. Blueprinting, architecting and inspecting the surrounding and outlying communities to guide inward and outward focuses.

SMC.Intentionality in Practice

(Figure 2)

Biblical Instances

Jesus modeled intentional unity.  He initiated unity within diversity when He chose disciples. Each disciple showed a distinct personality. They hailed from various professions and had diverse economic backgrounds, lineages and intellectual abilities. Jesus taught and nurtured them, loving each unconditionally. He gave each opportunity to minister, never withholding or placing anyone outside of the sphere of learning. Jesus loved them to the end. In the faces of the disciples, the populace saw ordinary people who were imperfect and flawed. Through their commonality with everyday humankind, Jesus opened invitation to a host of others. Jesus ministered in other ways to promote intentional unity. He loved the rich and poor. During Jesus’ ministry He walked among the multitudes, fellowshipped with a sundry of people, stayed in various regions, fed the hungry, healed the sick and disenfranchised and taught in many sites. He loved equally and gave opportunity for people to come to Him by going to them.

Ministry Contours

I am one of the assistant pastors at the Lighthouse Church of All Nations, a multicultural church of over 4,000 in the Chicago metro area. The church membership live in a tri-state region that includes Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. While Lighthouse shows intentionality in every facet of ministry, let’s look at a few examples of it.

Gives opportunity for reconciliation with God to the multitudes. Lighthouse has a large volunteer base. The church connects people to ministry, in addition to each other. By living in brotherhood within ministry teams, people feel welcome and a part of God’s family. This gives opportunity for reconciliation and restoration.

Invites and welcomes the multitudes into all facets of ministry. Each Wednesday the church holds the Art of Worship.  This service illustrates invitation across cultures. It features multiple styles of worship, presented in different genres (music, dance, spoken word, etc.) and according to various age ranges (Adult and children’s choir, praise teams, youth.org, etc.).  Assistant pastors across generation, ethnicity and race minister the Word through illustrated sermons. The various facets create an environment that attracts a broad segment of people to our mid-week worship.

Involves diverse team members in the decision-making process within the circle of power in your ministry. If you want to glimpse a diverse team who work together and share power, just look at the cultural makeup of the Lighthouse assistant pastors and elders and the manner in which they work together as a unified whole for Christ. Representing a sea of ethnicities, they seamlessly minister together.

Lives in brotherhood and builds cross-cultural relationships. The All Nations Choir shows ministry strategies for living in brotherhood. The diverse adult and youth choirs minister the Gospel message internationally and nationally.  Each choir is founded on tight-knit relationships, and spread this same love for others as they travel.

Uses spiritual growth measures to assess progress for unity within your ministry. Each of the Lighthouse ministries assess how it intentionally reaches people through spiritual growth measures. The spiritual measures are maturation growth, growth in unity, growth in favor and growth in numbers (Acts 2:42-46).

Blueprints, architects and inspects the surrounding and outlying communities. An affiliated organization of the church is the All Nations Leadership Institute (ANLI). The institute prepares, equips and disciples men and women for urban, multicultural ministry. It opens admissions to any student desiring to further his or her call, with the goal of providing seminary-level and quality education. The staff regularly blueprints, architects and inspects the spiritual and academic backgrounds of its student community, and then makes adjustments to content presentation to accommodate the wide academic backgrounds and age ranges among the student body.

Note: Please review the below Slideshare on the Lighthouse Children’s ministry for a more detailed view of intentionality in ministry.

Closing

Jesus ministered to the multitudes teaching, healing and feeding them (Matt 14:19, 15:10, 15:35-36, 17:14-15, 23:1; John 5:13, 6:32). He addressed their hunger, both physical and spiritual. He tended to the physical by healing (Matt 14:14) and feeding (Matt 14:19, 15:35-36) them, while ministering to the spiritual, giving them living water (John 4). As ministers of reconciliation, Christians must mirror Jesus’ same attitudes and behaviors towards the multitudes. Today’s multitudes are His people. We must be intentional.

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Endnotes

[1] Paron, Jan. Seeking the Multicultural Church. Alsip, IL: PerSpectives12, 2012.

[2] William Baird, HarperColllins Commentary, p. 1105. Baird notes that the original kingdom of the Galatians was in the north-central area of Asia Minor, but in BC25, the Romans reorganized this region to include in the province of Galatia areas to the south. According to south Galatians’ theory, The churches addressed in Galatians are from this south region, which Paul established during his first missionary journey (Acts 15:4-14:28). On the other hand, the north Galatians’ theory espouses churches in the original territory of Galatia.

[3] Ben Witherington, Grace in Galatia: A Commentary on Paul’s Letters to the Galatians, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing House, 1998), 3.

[4] Witherington, Grace in Galatia, 870-72.

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References

  • Mays, James L., ed. HarperColllins Commentary. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2000.
  • Barton, John and Muddiman, John, eds. The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Ester, Phillip F. Galatians. London: Taylor and Francis e-Library, 1998.
  • Keener, Craig. The Bible Background Commentary New Testament. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
  • Martyn, Louis J. Galatians: The Yale Anchor Bible. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.
  • Paron, Jan. “Reconciliation in Corinth, Pt. 2: Biblical History & Forces of Change,” PerSpectives 12, Cited 9 October 2012, Online: https://specs12.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/corinth-biblical-history-forces-of-change/.
  • Paron, Jan. Appropriation Project: Galatians 3:19-22. Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion: Wesley Seminary, 2012.  
  • Paron, Jan. Seeking the M.O.S.A.I.C. Church. Alsip, All Nations Leadership Institute, 2011.
  • Paron, Jan. “Seeking the M.O.S.A.I.C. Church: The Mandate for Unity,” PerSpectives 12, Cited: 10 October 12, Online: https://specs12.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/seeking-the-m-o-s-a-i-c-church-the-mandate-for-unity/
  • Longnecker, Richard, N. World Biblical Commentary: Galatians. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990.
  • Marshall, I. Howard et al. New Bible Dictionary. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2002.
  • Ramirez, Frank. Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians Immersion Bible Studies, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011).
  • Witherington, Ben. Grace in Galatia: A Commentary on Paul’s Letters to the Galatians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing House, 1998.
  • Wuest. Kenneth, S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002.

Photo Credits: Framework and Intentionality Indicators, Jan Paron, All Rights Reserved, 2012