“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”
Although we as a Church have fallen short of this harmonious and racially diverse mission, I believe that it’s never too late to start. It’s never too late for churches, pastors, and ministers to reach out to their communities and to foster diversity within their own staff, elder boards, and congregations.
With this goal in mind, I started a ministry in 2007 called Dream of Destiny. The name was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech he delivered in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Referring to the white brothers and sisters who had joined the freedom demonstration, he said,
“…for many of our white brothers and sisters, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”
Dr. King’s words still ring true today. In order to foster racial diversity within churches across the United States and the world, we cannot walk alone. Hand in hand, we must construct positive bridges in relationships and communities. We must mentor and disciple young people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds as preachers and leaders in the Christian Church, Churches of Christ, and Bible Colleges. We must take steps to diversify our platforms, staff, and elder boards.
I know this is possible! As the senior pastor of one of the more racially diverse congregations in America, Shepherd Church in Los Angeles, I’ve seen firsthand how Christian churches and colleges can reflect the colorful landscape of believers around the world. Let us be proactive in the sharing of ideas and strategies to help fulfill our God-given destinies in accordance with the Great Commission. Will you join us? Will you help us make this dream a reality?
Founder of Dream of Destiny, Senior Pastor of Shepherd Church
Dudley Rutherford is the founder of Dream of Destiny and the senior pastor of Shepherd Church, a 10,000-member congregation that has been called “the most racially diverse church in Los Angeles” by the city’s mayor. Dudley is passionate about boldly sharing the truth, hope, and salvation that is found in Jesus Christ with all people.
Dudley is the author of Walls Fall Down: 7 Steps from the Battle of Jericho to Overcome Any Challenge; God Has an App for That; Unleashed: The Church Turning the World Upside Down; Romancing Royalty; and Proverbs in a Haystack. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Ozark Christian College and his Master’s Degree in Church Growth from Hope International University. Dudley also obtained an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from St. Charles University. He has had the distinction of speaking for several professional sports teams and has been a featured chapel speaker for the World Series. Dudley and his beautiful wife, Renee, have three children and reside in Porter Ranch (Los Angeles).
For more information about Dudley, please visit LiftUpJesus.com.
Travis Hurley is a passionate communicator of the love of Christ for His church and our call to pursue that love with all that we are to all that we meet. He believes in the Dream of Destiny initiative, because he is convinced that visible unity – unity that the world can see crossing ethnic, socioeconomic and denominational lines – is a powerful testimony to the power of the Gospel of Jesus to reconcile people to Him and to each other.
A graduate of Ozark Christian College and Cincinnati Christian University, Travis has been preaching for more than twenty years, the majority of which was spent serving as the lead minister of a multi-ethnic congregation in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Trav’s passion for visible unity led to his pursuit of an M.Div., emphasizing pastoral leadership in a multi-ethnic setting.
In 2012, Travis accepted a position in the development department back at Ozark, where he also continues to teach and consult on issues of unity and diversity in the body of Christ, and the evangelistic power of visible unity in Christian efforts toward community development.
Travis and his wife Dena have been happily married for over 20 years. They have four children, one son-in-law, and one grandchild.
For more information, or to have Travis come speak, visit his website travishurley.com.