Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: Acts 18:1–28; Exodus 2:23–25; Matthew 13:3–9, 18–23; John 15:12, 13; 2 Peter 3:9
What’s the most multicultural city in the world? While there is some debate over which city qualifies as the most diverse, several immediately rise to the top. There’s probably a metropolitan area near you where you can “explore the world”—at least a small part of it!1
Amsterdam has a reputation for being a warm place for asylum seekers and has residents from at least 178 different backgrounds, helping make it a multi-lingual, cosmopolitan city. London has an ethnically colorful population with one-third of its residents being foreign born. You can hear over 200 different languages in the largest city in the UK.
Los Angeles, California, is a very multicultural city. Over 140 countries speaking 86 different languages have made the “City of Angels” their home. It has small neighborhoods called Koreatown, Little Tokyo, and Boyle Heights.
Paris is also filled with global cultures. Though immigration is a hot topic there, many ethnicities live in this romantic city.
Around 36 percent of the populace in New York City is from abroad. This East Coast metropolis is made up of five boroughs and boasts people from India, Korea, and Brazil just to name a few. Some estimate that 800 languages are spoken there. San Francisco also boasts 36 percent foreign-born residents with the largest group from China.
We could also list São Paulo in Brazil, Singapore in Southeast Asia, and Sydney in Australia, but of all the cities in the world, Toronto holds the title of “the most multicultural city in the world.” It boasts 200 ethnic groups with over 140 different languages spoken with neighborhoods like Chinatown, Greektown, Little Poland, Little Italy, and Little India.
If the apostle Paul were alive today, you just might find him visiting Toronto or Singapore. In this week’s Sabbath school lesson we discover his passion for urban ministry. Not only did he enjoy connecting with diverse groups of people, he was gifted at working with those from different cultures and belief systems.
Reaching out to people from different backgrounds than your own takes a couple of gifts. First, you need to be flexible. It’s easy to get sidetracked by differences, especially in values and beliefs. Those who can skillfully connect with others set aside their own ideas and look at others, regardless of culture, as children of God.
Most important is that if we would do urban ministry effectively, we must have the heart of Jesus. The stories of Christ reveal One who loved people from all walks of life. Regardless of ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic background, Jesus cares about every person who walks the streets of our cities. Do we?
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