Just Sisters

The similarities are striking.  I wrote a book about two thirty-something pastors with a heart for unity, who wanted a diverse church.  And I happen to attend a church—The Gate—with two thirty-something pastors with a heart for unity, who wanted a diverse church.

But I didn’t attend The Gate when I wrote The Color of Hope.  I didn’t even know about The Gate.  It launched just last May.  But God knew.  And I find it amazing that He would lead me to the very type of church the book envisioned.

I’ve never experienced a church like this.  My previous church of ten years was predominantly white, with a handful of African-Americans sprinkled among hundreds.  My church prior to that was the exact opposite.  And before that in Wisconsin, in a small A.M.E. church, we had one or two white members.

We talk a lot about diversity and unity in our Christian circles, but when I look around, I seldom see it walked out.  In publishing, my white author friends are on one side of the aisle; most of my black author friends are on the other.  In Christian music, there’s gospel and CCM.  And of course, there are the churches . . .

So I was thankful this past weekend to attend The Gate’s first women’s retreat.  We ate and played together.  We learned together.  We shared, cried, and prayed together.  We weren’t black, white, red, and brown.  We were just sisters.  And it was beautiful.  As one of my pastors said when he saw this picture, “Different cultures, different backgrounds, one God.”

What’s funny is that the Color Me Retreat—remember that?—would’ve had this same beauty.  I’ve been blessed to walk out diversity and unity right here on this blog as well, and I hope the blog sisters can get together one day and eat, play, learn, share, cry, and pray. :)

Do you see diversity and unity walked out among believers in your corner of the world?  How so?

 

38 Responses to “Just Sisters”

  1. Catrina says:

    How Wonderful! My church is beautifully diverse as well. My Pastor is white and the congregation is a mixed bag from all types of backgrounds. It is one of the reasons I love the church so much. I grew up in a predominantly white church with just a handful of black families. When I married, we joined a Baptist church with mostly black families and one white family. I have been at my current church for almost nine years and I truly believe it represents what heaven is like. Beautifully diverse.

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Catrina, I love that. It’s truly not often that we hear of the congregation being a wonderfully “mixed bag.” :) It’s interesting too that you’ve experienced a predominantly white church and a predominantly black church, as I have….and now we’ve got that slice of heaven. :) It’s such a blessing to be able to experience that type of unity with a church family. Thanks for sharing that…it’s uplifting!

  2. Felecia C. says:

    In my corner of the world in Alabama; I see diversity but there are times when I do not see it. I am fortunate to be a part of a few groups that embrace the idea of unity and diversity among believers but it’s like the believers stand at bay. Last night I was hanging with my group of friends and when I read this and surveyed the other members I was amazed and in awe. My group was diverse from single people to married people, male, female, black, white, hip, geeky, and goofy. There were greeks and non greeks just coming together to chill. It was awesome because my group of friends represent a campus group at my university that aim to spread the gospel and provide Christian community. I am glad to be a part of them once again. On the other side my church in my home town and many other plans are so segregated. Even the church that are open there is only a speck of the other races. I hope that things would be different but only time will tell I just treasure those nuggets of opportunity I get when I do encounter the diversity of being unified with all my brother and sisters no matter what they look like! Have a blessed day sisters love yall smooches!!!!

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Felecia, that description of your campus group is AWESOME….true unity down to the hip and geeky! :) I LOVE that you all are all about spreading the gospel and providing Christian community. What an impact the very visual of your group makes! And I imagine that as you all get older and spread to different communities, you will take that heart of unity elsewhere. On the other hand, so interesting, isn’t it, that your church experience is segregated? Praise God that you do get to encounter and treasure diversity and unity elsewhere….and within! Love you too, sis!

  3. Tamara Davis says:

    Hi everybody!! I live in a city that is racially split and it is magnified in our churches. There is a serious principality of division over our region. I sit under a Pastor who has a division for diversity and through him, I’ve been exposed to ministries of people with different backgrounds and races other than black. That is our church confession that we are ministry of diversity. Like Israel Houghton said in one of his songs “It ain’t a black thing. It ain’t a white thing. It ain’t a color thing. It’s a Kingdom thing.”

    • Debbie says:

      “Amen”!!!

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Hey Tamara! Praise God that your church has a heart for diversity in the midst of great division in your city. You can truly be a light in that circumstance. I pray we all see as God sees, at the heart level and not the skin color level. It’s a blessing that you’re exposed to that heart attitude. It is TRULY a Kingdom thing! :)

    • MrsTrip98 says:

      Very well said, Tamara! My pastor has found himself in a similar position, in which part of his ministry includes cultivating a place of worship that welcomes diverse backgrounds. Our church family is a work in progress…

      • Tamara Davis says:

        I was thinking of this post as I sat in our annual Camp Meeting night after night. The last two nights we had a white speaker who was powerful and phenomenal. I sat there and said “you will not ever see this in other churches in this part of town.” It was beautiful. We have to realize that when we segregate ourselves spiritually we miss out on so much more revelation from God. Kingdom has no racial boundaries and that is a real sign of maturity right there–not limiting ourselves with earthly, worldly principles. God’s kingdom rules over ALL!

  4. Debbie says:

    Good morning my sister!!!! One God! And we are all His and we are ALL one in HIM…the variety, the diversity, the beauty — we are like one beautiful kaleidoscope of color or prisms dancing before the light. Our God knew what he was doing blessing many nations and peoples through the work of Jesus Christ…”I just wanna celebrate…” Amen and Hallelujah!!!!

    and

    “Color Me Retreat” Yay!!!

    Bless you, you wonderful woman, you!!! I’m blessed to call you “Sister”
    (and p.s. I’m not forgetting all you other sisters out there — love ya, and I’m so glad God brought us into each others lives)

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Hey Debbie!!! This is so beautiful! I have to repeat: “…the variety, the diversity, the beauty — we are like one beautiful kaleidoscope of color or prisms dancing before the light…” Such a magnificent picture that paints. Yes! It wouldn’t be the same if we were one color dancing before the light….it’s the variety that makes it beautiful and shows off His glory. Celebrating that truth with you and adding my Amen and Hallelujah!!! I’m blessed to call you “Sister” as well….”Kindred Sister” in fact! :D

    • MrsTrip98 says:

      Did I hear “Color Me Retreat?!?!?” If so, I am in!

  5. Brenda says:

    Hi blog family, I grew up in a small town much like the fictitious Hope Springs and attended an all African American Baptist church until I moved to Charlotte NC. I never thought I’d be part of such a wonderful, diverse congregation. My pastor is white and the congregation is made up of many nationalities. It’s such a beautiful picture of heaven! It breaks my heart that we continue to segregate ourselves during the most important time in our lives – worshipping & serving the Lord.

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Hi Brenda! Wow, so you’re familiar with the small town feel of Hope Springs, coupled with the segregated church….and now you’re experiencing something very different. So interesting that both you and Catrina above (and myself) think of it as a beautiful picture of heaven…it truly is! It breaks my heart too that our churches are so segregated. I hadn’t thought of it quite this way, and love the way you put it….”during the most important time in our lives – worshipping & serving the Lord”…wow. Charlotte must be a dynamic city because I have a college friend who’s pastor of a diverse church there…I almost thought you were talking about that church, but he’s a black. :) Maybe I should’ve had the Hope Springs characters all move to Charlotte! :)

  6. Kristian says:

    Hey Blog Fam!

    Love the pic above. All yall are some hot sistas in Christ! Loved the book, Hope Springs, I emailed you about it. Awesome and even more awesome hoe God has you living out that book at your new church even though you had no idea that Hope Springs was going to come alive, but guess what it did, and you are living it, forreal forreal.

    If you just look at a pic of me you will see almost every race possible. I beleive God made me this way to be all things to all men, just like Paul. Anywho, gotta run, gonig get my copy of The Color of Hope. Love yall! Smoooches~

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Hey Kristian! Just replied to your email and so thankful you loved Hope Springs!!! YES….”living it, forreal forreal”….and since you just read the book, you know exactly what I’m talking about. :) I’m glad you’ve shown us your pic because it’s so true that God made you “like one beautiful kaleidoscope of color or prisms dancing before the light” (couldn’t put it better than Debbie! :)) You’re that by yourself! I hope you rejoice in God’s handiwork whenever you look in the mirror. :) Love and Smooches to you too!

    • Danielle says:

      Hey Kristian! You know, I just realized I never responded to your comments on the last post!!!! My bad…….yes, I am pregnant! Only like 7 weeks until our little boy is supposed to arrive and I cannot WAIT!!!!

      You are so sweet – Bavin and I are ok; not great, but God is faithful and He is hearing the prayers of all of you and all the other faithful who are praying for us and for Bavin’s heart to hear God. I’m waiting in faith, and God is giving me plenty to keep my mind and heart occupied in the meantime :)

      And can I say that I just love what you wrote – “God made me this way to be all things to all men, just like Paul” – preach it, girl!!!!! That is powerful right there!

      I’m praying for you, too, and hope that God is continuing to give you peace and perseverance as you wait in faith to see all the plans He has in store for you! Hugs :)

  7. MrsTrip98 says:

    Hello everyone :)

    Wow, Kim! The question you posed required deep and reflective thought for me. I have pondered it for a few days now.

    My family looks of diversity, but some individuals lack or neglect to embrace diverse thought. When I participated in a family reunion (at a younger age), I saw almost every ethnicity I could think of. But when it came to worshiping and praising God together, the church family (back home) was and still is a segregated one-dimensional group. When I hear some of my older kindred voice negative and even racist thought, I am finding more gumption (as I approach middle age) to respectfully ask how they can spew such self hate. We have such varied skin tones in our family. Some of us (including those who choose a segregated mindset) look like were are of other races. I mean really? If they were to look in the mirror, they would clearly see that they do more than reject other races; they reject themselves in the process.

    My family relocated, and our current church has grown, we see a few more believers of different backgrounds. However, some of the more seasoned believers still have a ways to go with regard to forgiveness, acceptance, and embracing the different faces that Heaven will welcome. Our pastor, who acknowledges his growth in this area, stands firm as he reminds our church family that our relationship with other Christians reflects our relationship with Christ. Thus, we continue to grow as a church befitting for our bridegroom.

    Thanks for this reminder, Kim. Be blessed!

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Hey Sis! I love this very reflective response. :) So interesting that, depending on where we are, we can experience diversity in one setting and segregation in another (sadly, usually church). Like you, I have been in settings where people (yep, often the “older kindred”) will voice racist thoughts, and it’s like, wow…. Praise God that you are speaking up in love when you hear that. Hopefully, the more they receive a godly check (*especially* when these are people of God), they will look to God to soften their hearts. It is simply not okay to harbor prejudice and at the same time, profess to be Christian….love is supposed to be our banner. It’s awesome that your pastor is leading the charge to grow in the area of unity and diversity. It makes such a difference when it’s coming from the top. Plus *you* are there! I know your light is shining in the midst! So thankful for your heart, sis!

  8. Danielle says:

    Hi all! This was a great, thought-provoking post, Kim! I like this observation – “We talk a lot about diversity and unity in our Christian circles, but when I look around, I seldom see it walked out.” So, so, so true…..

    I have to say, the church I attend is predominantly white, but then again, the surrounding neighborhood is as well. It’s something that I do think of often, especially when it comes to my husband (who is black) and daughter (who is mixed) – and, ironically, I am often more comfortable in predominantly black settings than predominantly white ones. Go figure!!

    Anyways, we are starting to look at schools for Adanya, and the “mixing” factor is something that is really important to me. When I taught high school at a Christian school, one of the things I loved was the diverse makeup of the student body, and how so many friendships and interactions crossed those lines and it was just a “family”. It was especially powerful during the weekly chapel services – it always touched my heart to hear all those students worshiping together. That’s what I want for Nya…..and side note – even though Bavin is struggling with faith and religion in general, he did say that it was important to him, too, that Adanya attends a Christian school, so there’s a praise to God right there!

    So I guess, even though our church is not a fantastic example of diversity in the Body (although they are working on that aspect of faith), I’m trying to seek out other avenues for us to experience the true picture of what God would have our worship and fellowship look like….

    Blessings to all of you fabulous sisters!!!

    • MrsTrip98 says:

      Like you, Danielle, I also seek other avenues that offer a more diverse worshiping experience. Diverse, in the terms of culture and ways of worshiping. Our pastor challenged the church family to research how individuals in other countries worship the same God that we do. He said from his experience, America was the one of the few countries in which our places of worship was so segregated. Places of worship in other countries welcome and include persons of various backgrounds. For quite a bit of America, that change factor is something which with to reckon.

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Hey Danielle! Okay, I think it’s so interesting that you are more comfortable in predominantly black settings than predominantly white ones….what’s up with that?? (I’m glad I can say that to you, seeing as we are all “just sisters” here :D) Did you grow up in a predominantly black school or neighborhood? I have a close friend who’s white, married to a black man, and feels the same way. She grew up mostly around black people, and that’s just where she’s comfortable.

      Love your experience at the Christian school. And WHAT A PRAISE that Bavin wants Adanya to attend a Christian school…that says a lot! He could easily be bitter toward Christianity, but time and again, the Lord shows a softening of his heart in one area or another. It must surely be encouraging to see these glimpses of His grace. I know He will lead you to the right place for her. And I saw your comment to Kristian – only 7 weeks!!! That’ll fly by! So exciting!!!

      I’m not at all surprised that you are actively seeking “to experience the true picture of what God would have our worship and fellowship look like”….that’s awesome. Believing God will grant that desire of your heart! Blessings to you too, sis!

      • Danielle says:

        Hey Kim! LOL – it IS awesome that you can say that to me…I love the “sisterhood” here that allows us all to be transparent and forthcoming….and you know, I don’t really know why that is. The high school I went to was a good, diverse mix of students, and my group of friends was made up of everyone….I can’t really pinpoint one event that made me feel more comfortable in predominantly black settings over predominantly white ones, it’s just “one of those things”, I guess! :) Funny how God works.

        Speaking of God working, it IS an awesome praise that Bavin wants Adanya to go to a Christian school; another sliver of evidence that God is still working, slowly, on his heart….and he seems SO excited about the new baby. He even paused his Bulls playoff game to work on the nursery – THAT is a miracle in itself! LOL….you are so right, and I love that you said “but time and again, the Lord shows a softening of his heart in one area or another.” It is true – helps me to keep walking in faith that one day, I’ll have the marriage God wants for me.

        Oh….and a BIG praise, my sister-in-law (who some of you know has been staying with us since December) has found an apartment! We have spent quite a bit of time getting it furnished and ready, and she is soooo excited to start this next part of her life. She has been about as nice a houseguest as you could want, but I must admit that I’m kind of glad that she will be out on her own before the baby comes, and we can get back to our “family routine” and I can continue nesting :) God is soooo good!!

        • Kim Cash Tate says:

          Wonderful news about finding an apartment for your sister-in-law! She’s excited….you can settle in and prepare for baby….Win-Win :) And I love that Bavin paused the playoffs to work on the nursery…his excitement about the baby is awesome. May the Lord continue to nudge his heart closer and closer to Himself. We are praying and believing with you!

  9. Sherri says:

    I’ve seen a little bit of racial and cultural diversity at churches here in America, but much more at our international fellowships in China. At the Beijing International Christian Fellowship I had Christian brothers and sisters from more than 20 countries. :-)! I loved it; it was a little bit like heaven.

    I really wanted to write because I recently read Faithful. My husband & I also married later (I was 48, he was 45). He’s not a baby Christian, but he is younger in the faith than I am, and sometimes I’ve wished for more. Reading Faithful made me appreciate what I’ve got. I’m so thankful we were both agreed about waiting till we were married to have sex. I’m thankful we pray together, go to church together, go on mission trips together. I’m thankful he studies the Bible and serves at church. I’m thankful he’s faithful. His heart is toward God and for me. I’m very blessed, and reading Faithful motivated me to tell him these things. Thanks, Kim!

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Hi Sherri! Wow, you left me wanting to hear more about your experiences at the Beijing International Christian Fellowship, like how you got there and what you do….sounds awesome! And what awesome feedback about Faithful. :) I love those moments when God shows us how much He’s blessed us, and that He used Faithful to do that in your life means so much. I love that you both agreed to wait to have sex (that says a lot about him, by the way :))…praying together, mission trips, serving, studying the Bible…..YES, you’re blessed! I’m so glad you told him! :) Thank you for taking the time to read Faithful and give such encouraging feedback. Love it!

    • Tamara Davis says:

      That is a beautiful testimony Sherri! Hallelujah!!! And I am very sure that you sharing that with him encouraged him in so many ways. What a blessing! The flesh always wants to make us look at what we don’t have instead of praising God for what we do have. Like Kim said, both of you all agreeing to do it God’s way and wait to have sex speaks to how much he honors God and how much he honors you. God gave me a quote last year in regard to men and dating. He said “If he makes Me (God) look, you look good by default.” Sherri, you are bountifully blessed.

      • Danielle says:

        “The flesh always wants to make us look at what we don’t have instead of praising God for what we do have.” So true….learned that lesson the hard way – so much better to praise! And I am so in agreement with Kim and Tamara, Sherri – you and your husband have an amazing testimony!!

        • Sherri says:

          Kim, while I was in China I taught ESL, studied Chinese, and helped children with disabilities.

          “The flesh always wants to make us look at what we don’t have instead of praising God for what we do have.” Amen, Tamara and Danielle. I am indeed bountifully blessed.

  10. anon says:

    Its nice to have unity. Its unfortunate when you have a predominate race church those in the minority get left out. Im triracial but grew up around mainly white ppl. My church is predom afram. Sometimes i get the shaft alot of times i understand why and its okay i try to just not let it bother me.but when do i get to b myself, i got ppl calling my white girl not withstanding im part african, you must b who God created no more no less but you get judged i simply live with it and praise God silently. It’d b nice to have a home tho But bc most churches here adopt a us versus them attitude i cant go anywhere. Since im both. It sucks royally at times

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      It’s so unfortunate that you haven’t felt the love of God and beauty of diversity in the churches you’ve attended…that should be present in ALL churches. What a praise it would be if we would worship Him by appreciating His handiwork in creating us all differently. I hope you don’t give up, though. Pray for a God-glorifying Gospel-focused church where you will be seen for who you are in Christ.

  11. Anita Koller says:

    Wow! I found your blog. I’m Erin’s mama.

    Erin talked about the lady who wrote the book, I did no realize it was you. She has a copy…but she’s already moved it to her and Zach’s apartment. So I must buy my own.

    Love your first bible study with the lady, wished we didn’t live so far, I would love to attend on a regular basis. Erin will be attending regular once she and Zach are married, I’m sure.

    Well…off to purchase your book!

    Many Blessings,
    xoxo
    Anita

    • Kim Cash Tate says:

      Hi Anita! So glad you found me! :) It was such a blessing to meet you at the first bible study and to talk homeschooling. :) Thank you so much for wanting to read the book! I so appreciate your support. Wishing you well as you prepare for Erin’s wedding….what an exciting time! Many blessings to you too! xoxo