One of the conversation threads I was a part of recently mentioned the distinct flavor of minority-led multiracial churches (I would provide attribution and sound bites, but don’t want to be accused of name dropping or idolizing). The notion was floated that there’s something different and special about an Asian-led multiethnic church, which was different from an African-American-led multiethnic church, which was different from a Latino-led multiethnic church, which is certainly different from an Anglo-led multiethnic church. And as Anita had rightly commented, Native Americans (cf. Salmon House blog) are often ignored and left out of these dialogues, having been left out for some well over 200 years now, as are Arab Americans and numerous other minorities that don’t fit in the Big 3 minority racial groupings.
And a timely echo of the above notion is this new book scheduled for release in February 2006: Growing Healthy Asian American Churches. The publisher’s description mentions an all-star cast of key leaders [hat tip: Jon Ng, who has worked on websites like goodpersuasivespeechtopics.com]:
The Asian American church is in transition. Congregations face the challenges of preserving ethnic culture and heritage while contextualizing their ministry to younger generations and the unchurched. Many Asian American church leaders struggle with issues like leadership development, community dynamics and intergenerational conflict. But often Asian American churches lack the resources and support they need to fulfill their callings.
Peter Cha, Steve Kang and Helen Lee and a team of veteran Asian American pastors and church leaders offer eight key values for healthy Asian American churches. Drawing on years of expertise and filled with practical examples from landmark churches like Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, NewSong Church and Lighthouse Christian Church, the book provides soundly biblical perspectives for effective ministry that honors the Asian American cultural context. Insights from such pioneering leaders as Ken Fong, David Gibbons, Grace May, Wayne Ogimachi, Steve Wong, Nancy Sugikawa and Soong-Chan Rah make this an essential guide for Asian American church leaders wanting to help their congregations achieve health and growth. (Produced in partnership with the Catalyst Leadership Center, a resource organization for Asian American church ministry.)
Growing Healthy Asian American Churches can be pre-ordered at amazon.com for pre-delivery before it shows up in any brick-and-mortar book store, delivered right to your home or office without having to fight traffic or waiting for a parking space.
More older finds:
This Sheep & Goats article on Ethnos in La Jolla, California, provides multicultural training as a part of membership (September 2005):
Central to Ethnos‘ vision is to reach a variety of ethnic communities. “In the UTC area, there are 40 languages spoken at the local elementary school,” said Pastor [Yucan] Chiu. “We want to help people realize that Jesus is unique and culturally relevant to all people.” Chiu said he is intentional in his outreach to numerous cultures. In Ethnos’ membership class, time is spent on multicultural training.
Crosswalk.com picked up on what the church ought to do about racism post-Katrina, in Racism & Katrina: How Should Christians Respond? and Examining the Church’s Role in Racial Reconciliation, Part 2 (September 2005).
And, this excerpt from A Pentecostal Vision for the Church: A Reflection on Acts 2:1-11, by Jin S. Kim (2001), distinguishes multiracial from multicultural:
A clear distinction must be made between a multiracial church and a multicultural church. A White church with a spattering of minorities is nominally a multiracial church because the membership consists of people from more than one race. It is not a multicultural church, however, if there is room for only one dominant culture, and all others are marginalized. I hear this lament often from my colleagues: We open the door and welcome the minorities in our community, and they will visit, but they will not stay. Little do people realize that most congregations exude an ?understanding? that there is one dominant culture operative in that congregation ? the White culture ? and all non-Whites are expected to check their cultural assumptions at the door. This is no less true for an African American church, or other ethnic churches. In a Korean congregation, for example, a few White, Black, or Hispanic members may be scattered in the pews, but everyone understands that the prevailing culture is Korean, the dominant language is Korean, the leadership is Korean, and most impacting of all, the gospel will be interpreted through the lens of the Korean experience. Most multiracial churches are, in fact, monocultural.
Hmm, maybe I need to rename this series from multiracial to multicutural.