God showed up!
We were just shy of 300 people for our Grand Opening and approximately 100 for Easter…if it doesn’t sound like much, please consider we started with only 35 people a few months ago. Our guests were welcomed in, loved on, cared for, minstered to, and served a multiple course meal (both spiritual and physical)… you can’t go wrong with the Gospel, pulled pork, and pan dulce (Mexican Sweet Bread). So much hard work, sacrifice, and dedication on behalf of our CORE Team paid off…God was extremely gracious to us on our Official Launch/ Grand Opening which was on Palm Sunday and then again on Easter Sunday the following week. We had so many friends and family come out to support us, and show their love to us by reminding us that we matter to them, that we hadn’t been forgotten. We felt loved, honored, and affirmed in our calling.
This is amazing for us because we’ve only been on this journey for about 9 months… check out our timeline:
- July 2017 we visited local churches in Compton, Watts, and Lynwood to learn from them and how they engage their specific communities.
- August 2017 – We visited some reformed churches in the greater L.A. area.
- September – October 2017 – 7 weeks of public worhsip out in the open at Lynwood Park.
- November 2017 – March 2018 – Public worhsip in our new building.
- March – April 2018 Official Launch/ Grand Opening – Easter
What does this mean and why is it such a big deal? This means that our CORE Team has sacrificed so much of themselves, family time, personal time, giving of their gifts in serving, giving of their finances, and even giving up a piece of themselves as we all incorporate into a larger group of people. . . why is this important? Let me tell you why… in the Christian, Evangelical, Protestant, reformed, and church planting world… the phrase “multicultural church planting” sounds really appealing… and it is… but it is NOT easy.
Everyone wants to have a multicultural church, but not many are willing to have folks of different races on their decision making board. Many incorporate “tokenism” into their staff to make it look diverse and multicultural and the people might even have a voice at the table, but not a vote. But I won’t go into that now, because in our experience…just forming a multicultural team can be really hard. But we’ve seen how despite these types of challenges, when a team is focused not only conserving our ethnic identity while preserving our individual background and life experiences into who we are today, all while blending them into a larger melting pot with others of different cultures and backgrounds doing the same…can be extrememly difficult. But when this same team is focused moreso on the fact of creating a new type of culture, a Christ driven culture, one where ministry is a priority and not something you do when it’s convenient has inspired me and filled my pastoral fuel tank on many an occasion. Our team has shown that despite some challenges, we’re more focused on Christ and our similarities in Him, than the differences we share. . . and we learn from each other, and we’re better togehter. This makes all things seem insignificant in comparison.
Our CORE Team is comprised of men and women that are white, black, Mexican, Guatemalan, Samoan, Filipino, and Indian. Some of us speak English perfectly, some a bit hood, and some barely speak English at all. . . some of us have been in church all our lives while some have only recently come to faith. Some of us come from pretty rough pasts and broken families while others have not. There are also diverse levels of education, and even first languages. . . but despite so much diversity, there is the common blood relation. . . the shed blood of Christ. And this makes it all worth it… For me personally, I had many people from my past life come to our Grand Opening to show support, to encourage, and even ask to join RCLA. People that knew me when I was involved w/ gangs, used and sold drugs, and even went to prison with. . . God is making all things new. . . this new church in Lynwood, I pray will be a catalyst to foster a new culture, to love a community in the name of Christ, to bring the existing churches together for the common good of Lynwood, and to offer the greatest gift we possess…the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. . . this is a perfect spot to say, “AMEN!!”
Please continue to pray for us as we make progress in development of our leadership team, impact our community, raise funds, preach/ teach the Gospel, and love our neighbors as Christ loved us. We celebrate all that God is doing, we will NOT allow the enemy to whisper in our ears that we are not good enough, that we can’t do it, or that we won’t be successful. . . God has affirmed our calling over and over again, we will stand upon His promises, we will stand upon His Word, and we will be faithful with what He’s entrusted us to.