I was so honored to collaborate with Ruthie Johnson of the Missio Alliance Writing Team to address the following concern.
A Lack of Resources
I recently heard this from a Pastor:
“I can find plenty of resources of missional communities as vehicles designed to help groups of people engage in some sort of common mission together. And I can find other resources that deal with the issue of multi-cultural churches. What I can’t find are any resources or perspectives on how to form or lead multi-cultural missional communities.”
When I (Natasha) first read these words, my heart was both excited that a pastor was expressing this reality and saddened that there are so few resources for such an important need–and unfortunately, the resources that are available from diverse voices are not necessarily being read by our pastors. I am honored that Ruthie Johnson has asked me to partner with her to address this concern–she as an experienced practitioner, I as a budding theologian, and both of us being committed and invested in the multi-cultural relationships, multi-cultural ministry, advocacy, and justice work. Our academic training and practical experiences have led to the following observations.
Shaping multi-cultural missional communities require:
- Patience and a delicate pursuit of the long-term vision of a multi-cultural missional community,
- A willingness to understand our own strengths and weakness as we also embrace the strength and weaknesses of others within the body,
- A willingness to seek-out, listen to, and learn from the diverse voices within your missional community, and
- A willingness to seek out and learn from other diverse voices that are also doing similar work- consider them as resources for learning and study, embrace their mentorship, and maybe even consider partnerships.
The resources pastors read to equip them for shepherding, especially in a multi-cultural context, matter. Not too long ago, I had the opportunity of presenting a workshop at a very large church-planting and missional conference.
Several publishers were present and selling books to these pastors and church-planters. Most of the titles or themes of those books had something to do with tips and techniques on leadership or church growth. There were a few commentaries and spiritual formation books available but by and large, there were hardly any on the topics of justice. There were also very few resources that were authored by women or people of color. When there is a request for resources, especially about multi-cultural ministry and relationships, diverse perspectives and voices must be intentionally sought out. In order to effectively reach and lead diverse people groups, we must value diverse voices in the kingdom.
Continue reading at Missio Alliance.