Diversity and Partnership
Adapted from a blog post by Werner Mischke
Two startling facts emerged from The Brookings Institute’s report, America’s Diverse Future: Initial Glimpses at the U.S. Child Population from the 2010 Census, based on the 2010 U.S. Census:
New minorities—Hispanics, Asians, and other groups apart from whites, blacks, and American Indians—account for all growth among the nation’s child population.
Ten states and 35 large metro areas now have minority white child populations.
Why is this important? What does it mean for your local church? Let’s explore a few of the 14 ramifications presented by Mr. Mischke:
Prioritize youth and children. Training youth and children’s ministry leaders in Christ-centered Cultural Intelligence (CQ) will enable them to seize the opportunity to serve children and youth from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Pursue cross-cultural friendships with other leaders. Leaders who are bilingual and/or comfortable in another culture will have advantages over those who are not.
Equip laity in CQ. Christ-centered Cultural Intelligence (CQ) training is typically for professional career missionaries. These demographic changes suggest basic training for everyone—for ordinary believers—become a normal part of Christian discipleship
Anticipate shock…and joy. Culture shock may no longer be limited to those participating in mission trips. Believers trained in building authentic cross-cultural relationships will find even more joy in following Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all peoples and nations.
Seek out the sage. Seasoned missionaries and ministries with years of experience serving or partnering cross-culturally are ideally suited to train believers in local churches to build healthy cross-cultural relationships.
Remember unreached peoples across the ocean. The increasing ethnic diversity of our own communities, especially in urban settings, may tempt some Christian leaders to think reaching people within their own community is satisfactory obedience to Scripture. But Jesus said, “make disciple of all nations” (Matt. 28:19) and “be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The temptation to focus on local ministry alone, regardless of how ethnically diverse it may be, should be avoided. All churches need a balanced approach that is local, regional, and global.
Expect great blessings from God. Expect cross-cultural ministries and partnerships—locally and globally—to become more fruitful, more exciting, more dynamic. Obedience to Jesus Christ combined with cross-cultural understanding and training will result in a great harvest of transformed lives—for the glory of God.
About the Writer: Werner Mischke, director of training ministries for Mission ONE, is passionate about developing excellent training resources and communications for mission mobilization. Mission ONE, a partner organization of FWBIM, is focused primarily on planting churches among unreached peoples, those who have little or no access to the gospel of Christ.
International Missions has partnered with Mission ONE to provide insightful tools to the local church.
The Beauty of Partnership is a six-week small group study designed to produce godly character, cultural intelligence, and organizational competence. Groups completing this study will have a better understanding of how to effectively partner with believers in other countries. Visit both organizations at the national convention and attend seminars to learn more.