“Tribes” is a word that we don’t hear used much in everyday conversation. And if we do hear it, most likely we draw a mental image of Native Americans. However, whether we realize it or not tribes are an integral part of our lives.
We all belong to different tribes. We all draw a sense of belonging from our tribe, we often find validation from our tribe, our world view is often influenced by our tribe, and we tend to derive a sense of self identity from our tribe.
Tribes have many different names and it is possible to simultaneously be a member of many tribes. For example, my last name is McCollough; therefore I am a member with all rights and privileges of the McCollough tribe.
This includes being a son, a husband, a father, a grandfather, brother, uncle, etc… But I am also a male; therefore I am a member of the male tribe. My hair is turning gray and turning loose; therefore, I am a member of the bald/balding tribe. I am a Christian; therefore, I am a member of the Christian tribe. I am a preacher; therefore, I am a member of the preacher tribe. I am a little on the fluffy side; therefore, I am a member of the faaaaaa – well, never mind! You get the point!
As I was thinking about tribes I couldn’t help but think about the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Each son of Jacob (Israel) was the patriarch of his own tribe. Each tribe had its own unique characteristics, talents, and identity.
And from these twelve vastly different tribes God formed a nation. But the thing I find most interesting about what God did regarding Israel is that He never commanded them to stop being tribes. In fact, the Bible celebrates their diversity and God used the strengths of the individual tribes to build a nation.
I submit to you today that if we are going to reach America with the Good News of Jesus Christ, it must happen through tribes. Tribes who retain their identity and rich heritage while simultaneously partnering with other tribes to make America a Christian nation again.
Evangelism happens when tribes realize that the task is too great for any one tribe alone to accomplish and we need the strengths that others bring to the table!
Speaking to His disciples in Luke 10:2 (KJV) Jesus said to them, “… The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Jesus was telling them that their tribe was too small to reap the harvest.
And so it is today. One church is too small to reap the entire harvest, one association is too small, and one denomination is too small.
We need Bible believing Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, and every other Bible believing denominations, while maintaining their rich tribal heritage, to band together as a Christian nation and go into His harvest as His laborers and preach the message of redemption by the Cross of Jesus Christ and the hope of life evidenced by an empty tomb.
You see, as the old American Express commercial says, “Membership has its privileges.” As a member of your tribe you have privileges that others do not have. You have a built in audience with your tribe. And I firmly believe that revival hinges upon us reaching those in our tribes with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Revival starts with family reaching family, co-workers reaching co-workers, rick folks reaching rich folks, poor folks reaching poor folks, neighbors reaching neighbors, stay at home moms reaching stay at home moms, teachers reaching teachers, bankers reaching bankers, ethnic groups reaching ethnic groups, and on and on and on I could go.
In Revelation 7:9-10 (KJV) John the Revelator tells about a gathering of tribes when he said, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
I long for the day when there is no longer a Black Church, White Church, Korean Church, Hispanic Church, or etc… but simply His church and His tribe. But until then, may we, the different Christian tribes of this world, go forth as into His harvest united as a Christian nation.