Worship Unifies And Exercises The Body

Worship Unifies And Exercises The Body

This is why our Sunday services often include an intentional appeal to spiritual unity

Chad Ashby with Ramny Perez

I was in the men’s room between sessions of the Immanuel Network Summit when in popped the new church-planting intern. Energetic, friendly, and my same height(!), there was nothing to dislike. We struck up small talk. It was 2017, and I accidentally pronounced his name “Romney.” He smiled kindly and asked about things at our church. He told me he’d come to seminary in hopes of returning home.


The Lord fulfilled that dream. Check Ramny’s socials these days, and you’ll read:


Lives in Bronx, New York 

From Bronx, New York


In the heart of the city, Perez and Fordham Community Church have faced the typical challenges of church planting: finding a meeting space, parking in the city, building committed relationships, and dealing with religious baggage in the community. All of this is hard enough in one language. At Fordham, they’re trying to do it in two.


Worship Unifies.

New York is a city of 1.5million, and 30% are first-generation Americans who speak Spanish as their first language. Recently, Fordham took the major step of launching a Spanish-language service to serve this demographic. It’s a Pentecostal aspiration—each hearing the gospel “in his own native language” (Acts 2:8). But for a young church in a buzzing city, Perez anticipated a very real issue: “How do we bring together English and Spanish-speaking services?”


Breakfast. That’s how.


Normally, we don’t think of fellowship meals as an element of morning worship, but at Fordham, the weekly breakfast is the bridge that unites their two services. During the interval between services, English and Spanish speakers are blended around breakfast tables. Rather than seeing the meal as an add-on, it is an intentional part of unified Sunday worship. As they “receive their food with glad and generous hearts,” the members of Fordham want the enduring testimony of their fellowship to be that the “full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (Acts 2:46; 4:32).


Often, the addition of a Spanish service to Sunday morning requires a whole new staff. Fordham has been blessed by a crew of leaders who sound like the community—bilingual. This unique skillset allows both English and Spanish services to have the same sermon, same Scripture readings, often the same songs and musicians, and the same preacher!


Ramny is particularly sensitive to the ever-present risk of division: “We are in the business of gently discipling people pre-programmed with individualistic tendencies. This is why our Sunday services often include an intentional appeal to spiritual unity. We are repeating the same core themes across both services to build unity and love.”


Worship Exercises.

Nothing unifies the members of a body quite like exercise. When members of a church body work hard together, they find their rhythm, harmony, and balance so that “when each part is working properly, [Christ] makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph 4:16). 


When Ramny and his leaders looked into the faces of Fordham Community Church, they saw unique talents, gifts, and abilities waiting to be exercised. How many churches can boast a cadre of musicians and leaders who can move comfortably from English to Spanish? In the heart of the city, God has done just that.


The Spanish service has given the members of FCC an opportunity to exercise their God-given talents to the fullest. No member is there by accident. As Ramny and his elders looked at the needs of the community and the abilities of the church, this was their exhortation: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them . . .” (Rom 12:6).


A body in motion is a beautiful thing. And a church body unified in purpose and exercising every member? Glorious. FCC is striving side-by-side in the Bronx: “We want the gospel to take root and bear fruit in this place.”

*Photo Credit: Fordham Community Church 2023

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