So many questions were answered when I participated in an unforgettable worship service. The sense of grandeur still lingers in my memory of the Sunday morning I sat in the wooden pews and united my voice with the congregation to sing an old hymn. The power of this moment wasn’t just the hymn that reminded me of my grandmother’s impact on my life. The awe was that this hymn was preceded by songs from different genres of music. Every expression of worship that shaped my encounters with Jesus had flooded into one room.
In one moment, one place, all of these genres were blended together. There were songs that connected to people from different cultures and multiple generations. It is likely that everyone present heard music that was familiar and music that challenged them to be intentional to engage. In one worship service it’s likely that everyone in the sanctuary experienced the warmth of something familiar and the discomfort of growth.
I didn’t know it was possible for all people and all genres to intersect in worship of Jesus. Before that Sunday morning, I thought the Church was as compartmentalized as the rest of the world—along lines of shared preferences and among similar people. It was in those wooden pews that the power of our differences melted and I could see the surpassing glory of Jesus. Multi-ethnic worship expands our view of Jesus beyond the confines of our culture and our preference. It reminds us of the manifold (many folds) wisdom of God that continuously reveals another aspect of God as each layer unfolds. Wherever we find ourselves sitting, may we experience many layers of Jesus, that includes and exceeds our culture.
George Hopkins was born and raised in Baltimore. He attended Poly High School and then Morgan State University as a student-athlete. George got involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) as a football player at Morgan State. After earning his degree he worked full-time with FCA in Baltimore City then he served as a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Timonium. In 2014 he partnered with twenty people to launch Gallery Church Sowebo—a multi-cultural church actively engaged with the community in Southwest Baltimore. He is currently the Lead Pastor of Sowebo Community Church and volunteers with various organizations that help build the city of Baltimore. He lives in Baltimore with his wife Stefanie and three children Sofia, Shiloh, and Gabriel.
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