One of the things I enjoy most about my job is all the different pastors I get to interact with. Age Sandoval is one of those pastors. He has been involved with starting a new church in the Colfax neighborhood of Denver. The name of the church is “Tha Myx.”
I like the name.
I like what it implies.
Every Monday night Tha Myx hosts a program called “hoops and rap.” It’s a basketball ministry with a little rap and Bible study thrown in for good measure. The evening begins with Age picking interested youth and young adults and bringing them out to a suburban church. The church has a gym. Some youth and young adults from the host church join in. And so begins the mixing.
When I first started working for DOOR, I always worried about mixing different groups of people together.
Sometimes we would have five youth groups visiting us in the same week. A Mennonite group from southern Manitoba, a Methodist group from western Texas, a Presbyterian group from Ashville, N.C., a United Church of Christ group from Vermont, and a Baptist group from Mississippi.
I would worry. Will these folks get along? What happens if they get into a religious debate?
I was always surprised when things worked out.
There is something special that happens when we mix. We begin to discover that we have more in common with each other than we might expect.
When we mix, we create safe places to celebrate out differences.
When a group from Canada and one from Alabama spend a week together, differences like accents, food preferences, worship styles and family expectations become something to talk and laugh about.
When we create a place to talk about the “safe” differences a powerful byproduct is also forged. Space is created to talk about the big issues: race, nationalism, sexism.
There is power in “tha myx.”
I am convinced the finding safe places to mix changes the world and begins to build the kingdom of God.
In Galatians 3:28, the Apostle Paul declares, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
This declaration can only be made real when we find ways to get past our differences.
I am grateful for pastors like Age who have the vision to mix different people together for the purpose of building a church that includes all people.