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7 Principles of the New Culture

This is an introduction to the seven articles in the “7 Principles of the New Culture” series.

Light shines in the darkness

It was September 22, 2001 in Queens, New York. Those of us who lived in New York City were still reeling from the attacks on the World Trade Center. Smoke from the remains of the two towers could still be seen from miles away.  It continually reminded us all of the devastation the previous week.  Some of us had lost friends, others had lost their jobs, and everyone lived with the fear of when the next attack would come. In the midst of the tragedy, we were in a local church preparing for our first “ReNew Monthly Meeting.” The meetings were the fruit of nearly a year of prayer, discussion, and work by a diverse group of young adults, ministry leaders, and me. We hoped the evenings of worship, prayer, and relationship-building would spark greater unity and partnership between the various ethnic groups and denominations in the area. We had no idea the first one would fall at such an emotional time — but the Lord did.

As we opened the doors, young adults from across the New York City area started to pour in. A bus load from Boston even arrived to show their support and join in the evening. As we began to sing, pray, and talk together we realized that the ugliness of what we had experienced was no match for the beauty and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We experienced a taste of heaven worshiping together as one body despite our many differences. As the young adults left the meeting refreshed and encouraged, many expressed, “We need more of this type of thing!”

Over the next five years, we continued to help facilitate multi-ethnic gatherings and service activities in Queens and other areas.  My wife and I eventually felt led to leave our role with the campus ministry we were a part of, and start “ReNew Partnerships” as a non-profit organization focused on helping to build greater interracial unity and partnership in the Body of Christ. Since that time we (ReNew staff and volunteers) have helped to facilitate many multi-ethnic meetings, events, workshops, outreaches, prayer events, luncheons, etc. in a variety of cities around the U.S. Over time our focus has shifted from multi-ethnic meetings and events to helping to foster ongoing, biblical, multi-ethnic community within churches, campus organizations, universities, etc. We have had the privilege of helping to introduce many Christians to the joys of multi-ethnic community; as we have done so, we have consistently heard comments like: “This was so fun!” and “I’ve never experienced anything like this before!”

The New Culture and this series

Why do so many people find it exciting and refreshing when they come together with fellow Christians of other ethnicities?  I believe it is because it is a taste of what we refer to as the “New Culture”the beautiful, unified, multi-ethnic community that Christ made possible through his life and death on the cross (more on this later in the series).  Those of us who have received new spiritual life through Christ are attracted to the New Culture because it is what God has designed us to be a part of for eternity (Rev. 7:9-10).  When we share in the New Culture we feel a unique sense of God’s presence and favor.  As we experience the “unity of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3) the Holy Spirit within us rejoices – and so do we!  Therefore, it is not surprising that a typical response we hear when Christians are in those environments is, “We want more of this!”

So, how do we “get more of it”?  How can our churches, ministries, and lives be filled with more of the beauty of the New Culture?  How should we think about and define the New Culture?  And, how can our discipleship efforts be more effective in equipping leaders to build and sustain the New Culture?    These are the types of questions that are the focus of our (ReNew Partnerships) efforts and it is what this series is all about.

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