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Plumb lines are a series of short, pithy statements that we, at the Summit, use as rallying points—both for our staff and for the entire church. They are a way to encapsulate our ministry philosophy in short, memorable phrases.

Plumb Line #9 at the Summit is: “The Church should reflect the diversity of its community and proclaim the diversity of the kingdom.”

Hardly anyone in the American church thinks that ethnic diversity is a bad thing. And yet, take a look at most of our churches, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous criticism still has some bite to it: “Eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America.” A mild desire to see diversity isn’t going to create multi-ethnic diversity in our churches. For diversity to truly take hold, it takes intentionality.

One of our African American pastors, Chris Green, has summarized the process of a church becoming multi-ethnic in a helpful spectrum:


We all start on the left, with ignorance. Most of us grow up around people like us, we work with people like us, and we socialize with people like us. We aren’t willfully hateful, but we simply don’t know much about people from different backgrounds. So we—especially those of us in the majority culture—fill in the gaps with presuppositions and stereotypes. We assume that “black people” or “Hispanic people” all think, act, or feel a certain way.

Admitting our ignorance leads us to the next step along the spectrum—awareness. Perhaps we watch something on the news, or make a new friend, or have some personal experience that forces us to recognize cultural differences. Awareness is unsettling, because it challenges a lot of what we assumed was simply “normal.”

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I learned the story of Rachel and Leah as a kid, because it’s entertaining, even a bit crass (the exact story that kids immediately memorize, of course). It’s full of disappointment, betrayal, sex, scandal—basically an HBO television drama from a few thousand years ago. But I always thought it was just a crazy story about a bizarre love triangle. Recently, though, I’ve come to see the gospel in Leah’s story.

Leah, you see, isn’t Jacob’s first choice. Jacob is head over heels for Leah’s little sister Rachel, because Rachel is “beautiful in form and appearance” (Gen. 29:17). Jacob doesn’t really love Leah. And yet God decides to use Leah, not Rachel, to continue the line of the Messiah. Jacob picked Rachel, but God chose Leah.

That’s good news for those of us who identify with Leah. Maybe you’re not everyone’s “first choice.” It could be, like Leah, that you think you aren’t beautiful enough. Or you don’t think you’re smart enough. Or valuable enough. Or moral enough. Maybe you just think you’ve made too many mistakes for you to matter to anyone.

Leah’s story teaches you something about God’s love that can set you free: God doesn’t love you because you’re beautiful; you’re beautiful because he loves you.

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Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Infographic of the Week

What are each of the books of the Bible about? Jeffrey Kranz. A one-line summary of each book of the Bible, its author, and impressive icons that actually communicate quite a bit (Numbers, Habakkuk, & Philippians are my favorite).

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