St. Paul’s City Church in Murrieta, California is working at being a church like that of Paul’s Antioch or Corinth. Both of those cities were multi-ethnic communities on the crossroads of the empire. The Church that took shape in both cities reflected the people of those cities. Even more importantly, the vibrant community prepared the Church to take steps of faith and make a huge contribution to the expansion of God’s Church and Kingdom.
The cultural dynamic in Antioch was a key ingredient to sending out Paul and Barnabas on their “first mission trip”. The Church had raised up a multi-ethnic leadership team (Acts 13:1) including two Jews, an African, a Cyrenean, and a Greek. Notice that having raised up a diverse team to pastor a diverse congregation, they were prepared to release two of their leaders and send them out. The team had the flexibility to delegate.
Likewise the Church in Corinth was not a back-sliding Church as some suggest, but rather a new missionary church plant. It was a new congregation growing in faith and in discipleship. How so? Notice that the problems that Paul addresses in the first letter are barely mentioned in the second letter–the believers have matured, the church has grown in sanctification and in the power of the Spirit (Isn’t interesting then that Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians teaches about the gifts and equipping of the Holy Spirit?) In fact, in the second letter in chapter 16, Paul is recruiting the Corinthian Church to partner with him in the task of the larger ministry of the Church. First he instructs them with regards to giving to help the people in Jerusalem; and secondly, in verse 6, he seeks their assistance “wherever I go”.
The multi-ethnic Church is a glimpse of heaven wherein all nations will bring their glory into the presence of God (Revelation 21:26). The multi-ethnic Church is also an incubator for God’s work in the world today. I rejoice therefore to see God at work in and through St. Paul’s City Church.