Diversity In The Kingdom Is Like A Potluck
In this video, Ruben Quintero (Pastor of La Viña del Valle Imperial and La Viña Specialist for Multiply Vineyard) illustrates diversity in the Kingdom of God as being like a potluck.
Pastor, La Viña del Valle Imperial (El Centro, CA) La Viña Specialist, Multiply Vineyard
Diversity In The Kingdom Is Like A Potluck
“What is a potluck?” I asked my wife. This email says: “potluck for dinner.”
“I don’t know what it is, but it sounds like a duck cooked in a pot. I don’t know what this family eats. Let’s google it.”
Potluck: a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish (Oxford Languages).
Oh, I get it!
It was our first Vineyard USA Area Leaders Meeting. We were new church planters – immigrants coming from Mexico to plant in the U.S.
A potluck was our first experience with other pastors and church planters; it was a beautiful experience.
I dearly remember those meetings with many different American dishes, desserts, and of course, a Mexican dish to bring some heat! From flour tortillas to tamales, we always brought something from our own kitchen so everybody could try it. That group had not only Californians, but folks from Mississippi, Ohio, Colorado, and Texas – so, they were good potlucks. The weirdest dishes for me were from the South, brought by our friends from Mississippi – but we loved them!
Dinner, worship, listening to each other, and prayer were part of those beautiful meetings that were so encouraging for church planter like me. We drove two hours each way just to be there and feel God’s love through a diverse group of men and women.
We were people from different backgrounds, of different ages, ministering in different cities, but serving the same Jesus and inviting the same Holy Spirit into our conversations and into our places of ministry.
I’ve experienced diversity in our Movement since day one. More than ten years after that first experience, I can say that we have grown a lot. And I can say that I always have been welcomed by the Vineyard family.
Let’s jump into Scripture and talk about Peter. It was lunchtime, and he was praying.
10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
Here is a hungry Peter praying.
He was very Vineyard. He got a picture from heaven. More than just a picture, it was an HD video image that showed him all kinds of animals: cows, sheep, chickens, and pigs. Then he hears God say, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
And he reacts with his religious posture. “No way, Lord! That is not holy.”
Religiosity prevents diversity.
“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean,” answers the Lord.
Can we ask God what he has made clean? Is there anything from a person to a church to a nation that we say is impure, but God has made it clean? I don’t know.
What I do know is that we all love food. Our food is part of our own personal, family experience, and even part of our national history. Example: Our own corn tortilla has been made in Mexico for 2500 years. It is part of our history. In every home, we grew up eating them.
Bringing food to a table is bringing what we love and who we are.
That’s very important. That’s the reason why the Holy Spirit talked to Peter to let him know that the Gospel must be shared to the gentiles.
Being part of the Vineyard is bringing to our conversations and to our relationships who we are, what we think, and what we love. It’s not fighting which one is the best, or trying to promote us, but to appreciate everyone’s flavor.
I can brag about hundreds of meals that I have had over the years with many of you. Many at restaurants, but also many in different homes. I have tasted delicious dinners cooked in the oven, but the thing that I remember most from each meal, is each person.
In those moments, I love the privilege of listening to what God is doing in someone else, and in turn, sharing my own fears and failures with them.
We are so different, but sharing a meal brings us closer.
Diversity in the Kingdom is not a buffet where a big organization called Church has so many different dishes so you can consume what you like. In that setting, you just pay and eat what you want, but nobody really knows you.
Diversity in the Kingdom is not a food market where you bring what you produce and sell it for the best price. In this setting, you bring only what you can sell for a personal profit.
Diversity in the Kingdom of God is like a potluck; you bring what you love and share it freely, and at the same time you’re able to taste from everyone’s dishes for free so you can appreciate and let them know how good they are.
Diversity is spelled P-O-T-L-U-C-K. So, bring your own dish!
Rubén Quintero loves Jesus Christ, he is pastor of Imperial Valley Vineyard in El Centro, CA, and serves as La Viña Specialist for Multiply Vineyard. He is a CPA graduated from UABC in Mexicali, Mexico, and holds a Master’s in Theology from San Diego Christian University. He is passionate about planting Hispanic churches in the U.S. Rubén is happily married to Vaneza and they have 3 wonderful boys – Rubén (15), David (12), and Iván (10). He likes traveling and baseball, so he expects to visit the 30 MLB stadiums during his lifetime.