“You and I are stretched when we associate with people who are different and we’re proclaiming the Gospel. And as we’re stretched, God fills those stretched spaces with grace and we become the ones that are growing.”
Pastor and former football player Derwin Gray has a firm commitment to the beautiful diversity of the Church. He’s the lead pastor of Transformation Church, a multi-site, multi-ethnic body of believers who seek Christ together. It’s a picture that takes time and patience to develop – but God does move in the hearts of His people to bring them to reconciliation.
Derwin shares one such story.
“After a church service, a young white man was running literally towards me.”
The young man, with tears running down his face, threw his arms around the pastor. Derwin remembers his first words.
“I can’t believe I’m in church. I can’t believe my pastor is black because I don’t even like black people. But I love Jesus.”
The man who was hugging Derwin was a young man who had carried a strong prejudice against African-Americans as a whole. His girlfriend had been trying to bring him to Transformation Church with her for months after getting saved, but he refused because of Derwin’s ethnicity. He finally came one afternoon, and God softened his heart. Derwin shares what this young man said next.
“The more I listened to you, I tried to reject what you were saying. But the love of Christ just broke me down.”
Derwin eventually performed this couple’s wedding, even walking the bride down the aisle. One of the best parts of that moment for Derwin was seeing the groom as a changed man.
“As I’m walking down the aisle… the former racist, who Jesus transformed into a gracist, is weeping and crying.”
God delights in doing these kinds of everyday miracles. He can turn even the most hardened of men and women into those who see the power and joy in diversity. When we live in that space, we are a powerful example to the world.
“We have a lot of stories where the Gospel of Jesus Christ not just saved individuals and transformed their lives, but has created this heavenly community in the present.”
God doesn’t ever promise that Gospel-centered living will be comfortable – but He does promise to help us and give us grace in the process. Derwin shares more principles and encouragement in his book, .
Featured Songs: From the Day by I Am They; Even So Come by Passion; This is Revival (Open Up Our Eyes) by Emmanuel Live