By Travis Hurley
My story changed when I served as lead minister for a multiethnic congregation in the Washington, D.C., area. Suddenly I was seeing an answer to Jesus’ prayer for the visible unity of his people (John 17:20-23) in a way I had never seen before. As I developed deep, rooted relationships across ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic lines, my faith was sharpened, my willingness to love and serve all people was stretched, and a newfound humility and teachability was born within me.
The mystery of the gospel—reconciling us to each other as well as to God himself—defies conventional wisdom. The world draws lines to keep the peace. Jesus and his church offer a better story through visible unity no matter our ethnicity, background, or social standing. Visible unity that doesn’t gloss over differences, but learns to love through them, pointing people to Jesus in a powerful way.
This better story is why I am compelled to make it my life’s work to preach, teach, counsel, and encourage the church to live out the mystery every day. It’s what drives me in my work at Ozark Christian College and with the Dream of Destiny Initiative.
The sin of racism continues to plague the church, and a broken world is watching. A more well-rounded expression of Christian faith is available to us when we worship, serve, and live alongside those whose life experiences are different from —and can challenge—our own.
I believe we need a revival of repentant people who realize that Jesus and his church are not held captive by America’s Western culture and values. Every political party and platform, every social and financial system, pales in comparison to the mystery of the gospel and the law of love that advances Christ’s kingdom when his people obey it.
Travis Hurley serves as vice president of development and diversity with Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri, and as director for Dream of Destiny.