Opportunities for Cross-Cultural Ministry
More than 90 million Americans now claim African, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American ancestry. More than 10 percent of our population was born in a foreign country. Ethnic peoples are growing at 6 times the rate of America as a whole.
"Today the world is becoming urbanized and internationalized. Feelings of ethnic belongingness are growing stronger, not weaker. Consequently, even here in the United States, one of the great challenges for our generation is to learn to relate the Gospel effectively across cultural differences and in the urban setting.
Churches do not remain static. A church is a moving, growing, living organism. It functions in the midst of neighborhoods and cities that change."(1)
These changes present opportunities to your church, if you have eyes to see them. The population of the neighborhood around your church may be quite different than it was just a few years ago. Are you ministering to the new arrivals?
"In His soverignty over men and nations, God has allowed the United States of America to be a land where peoples from all over the world seek a new life. Your ancestors and mine came from far away. The flow continues.
Every city and every region of our country is being touched. Our churches are being given a marvelous opportunity to look on fields white already to harvest, for immigrant groups are especially open and responsive to the Gospel.
We believe that there are great possibilities for growth in the church in the large cities, where old, English-speaking churches in changing communities have the vision to add Spanish or other language group departments to their outreach.
Some, of course, have yielded to the temptation to sell or dissolve. But others have experienced great growth by ministering to their changing communities. The advantages are many. There is an adequate place to meet. There is prestige of an established work. There is the prayer support of many Christians and the financial backing of the young group."(1)
We believe that churches which resist change, which attempt to remain isolated from the changing populations around them, will becoming increasingly ineffective. But churches which welcome those whom God is bringing to their towns will grow and thrive in the years ahead.
(1)Excerpted with permission from "The Stranger Who Is Among You," James Duren and Rod Wilson, William Carey Library, 1983.
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