Here’s an excerpt from our interview with North Brisbane Salvos, whose leaders Donna and Craig Todd and their team, build their health and vitality through initiatives such as this.
Read the conversation below.
NCLS: Would you say your inter-generational and multi-cultural mix has changed between 2011 and 2016?
DT: It’s become a lot more of our language, you use it a lot more. Obviously when we first arrived at the church you just spend a year getting your feed on the ground, seeing what’s going on, etc. Then after a while you see what is God doing here, and that God is bringing these people and this is how it’s happening. It’s kind of seeing where God’s working as well and jumping on board with that.
NCLS: What sort of changes have you seen in terms of that multi-cultural mix? Or how your church community matches the wider community?
DT: When we first came here there were some Samoans that were here and then maybe after three or four years, just started to see a few more different nationalities. Again, it’s just observing what God’s doing, different people of different nationalities are here.
I remember a Salvo training event that Craig and I had gone to years ago had talked about if you want to see people of different nationalities in your church then you have to feature them. So, they need to be on your welcoming team, they need to be on the stage, and you need to celebrate that. We’ve tried to then make sure there are opportunities for people of different nationalities to be visible.
in our meetings for Saturday and Sunday our goal is that every meeting has someone from a different nationality featured, in one way or another. Whether on the stage or in the worship team or something like that, someone of a different nationality ideally of different ages represented. And both genders included, so it’s not female dominated, it’s not male dominated.
We don’t always get it right, and sometimes you can’t be token. Then once a year we have Mosaic Day.
We decided to, because we could see what God was doing, have Mosaic Day to celebrate all the different nationalities in our church. We have a big fellowship lunch with international feasts where everyone brings food from their background. We do things in the service, the worship team would be of all different nationalities and people dress up. Or you might have a dance group or people singing in other languages.
The message will be very much about, we are all one in Christ Jesus, or they’ll come from the east, they’ll come from the west. Whatever passage we would preach on that would celebrate that.
NCLS: Would you say that that was an intentional goal that you held?
DT: Absolutely. We’ve been very intentional about doing that and it’s one of people’s favourite Sunday’s of the year. We often pick it around Pentecost too sometimes because of all the people speaking the different languages. We might have a prayer time and say, everyone just speak in your language. So, it’s just all messy and loud or whatever, but that’s great.
NCLS: Do you feel that the church more reflects the wider community now in terms of cultural diversity or age?
DT: We’re getting there. Definitely, if you came into our church now and you were of a different nationality, you wouldn’t feel that you were the only person, as we’re definitely more diverse. We’ve had a few refugee families come as well and we’ve been very intentional about embracing them.