Thankfully Called to Reach the Nations

Thankfully Called to Reach the Nations

Written By Rolland Slade

Thankfully Called to Reach the Nations

I write this as Sunday evening draws to a close, and I am, once again, reminded of how thankful I am to be the under shepherd of Meridian Southern Baptist Church in El Cajon, California. It truly is a position I never would have imagined being in, let alone knowing it has been nearly twenty years. You might ask, what is it that I am thankful for?  

One of the things I am thankful for is our diversity. 

Meridian is the congregation that I had dreamed of, yet, only imagined could exist. It is a congregation who loves God and loves people. Loving God is easy, of course, especially when we consider where we have been and how we may have lived. As human beings, we tend to be drawn toward those who look like us, talk like us, and like the things we like. More times than not, we tend to be homogenic in our association. We gravitate toward “sameness.” I’m not saying that it is a bad thing, rather I’m saying it’s the “safe” thing to do. 

Well, not at Meridian SBC, or for that matter, within the San Diego Association, or our California Convention. Sameness is not who we are. California is one of the most diverse states in our country. The greater San Diego area is made up of over 5 million people when we include Tijuana, Mexico. The city of El Cajon has the second largest concentration of Middle Eastern refugees and immigrants in the nation. 

As Christians, we have been commissioned and called to reach the nations (Acts 1:8). God has literally brought the nations to us. We are called to be people who love people, and loving people means being willing to step out of our comfort zone and meet people where they are. At Meridian, we celebrate the diversity that God has brought to us. On display in our worship center are flags of the countries from which our congregants were born. Though diverse, there is some sameness in the display. Often, we see the color red within the flags. It is fascinating to observe how each country takes that simple color and displays it within the banner that represents who they are.  

Among the flags in our display is the Christian flag. The red within it stands for sacrifice and reminds us that the blood of Jesus redeemed the world. He sacrificed himself for our salvation. I wonder if we were to display the flags of all the countries that are represented within the CSBC, how many would have red in them? I would venture to guess it would be the majority.  

It is interesting to ponder the meaning of such a display. Biblically speaking, the flag symbolizes presence, ownership, and relationship. Are those not three words that challenge us as Christians? I am thankful that Meridian, the San Diego Association, and the California Convention are present in this moment, taking ownership of the call to share the Good News of Jesus throughout the state and through our relationships with one another.  

Through it all, we are discovering that we truly are better together. 

About the Author

Rolland Slade
2024 CSBC President

Rolland Slade is the newly elected President of the California Southern Baptist Convention. He serves as Lead Pastor at Meridian Southern Baptist Church in El Cajon. Rolland’s passion for the local church is what he refers to as his “big calling.” He loves his community and is present across San Diego, but his church of 19 years is his highest ministry priority.

A native of San Diego, California, Pastor Rolland Slade has been the husband of the love of his life, the former Adrienne C. Jewell, since 1981 and is the proud father of Rolland “Jay”, Ryan, and Alexandra.

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