Multi-Ethnic Church : Staff pt. 2

So what do you do If you’re the teaching pastor and aren’t ethnic? 
We’ve already pondered the Why of multi-ethnic, but the how is the sticky part. I have had numerous friends ask me (while I was working as the Ethnic Ministry Intern) to help “educate” them on how to be sensitive and “multi-ethnic.” 

I’d like to state the obvious, you can’t change your ethnicity, but you can educate yourself. It is CRUCIAL to be educated about the people you are trying to minister to. Many different agencies will require their staff to go through “cultural education” before being permitted to begin their jobs. We see this with Government officials who are working in another country on behalf of the United States, and many other multi-national companies do the same thing.

I believe that if you are planning on having a Multi-ethnic ministry you must do some kind of cultural awareness for all persons in leadership, not just the Preacher. This cultural awareness is not always white to (name an ethnicity) it is also crucial for your ethnic fellows to learn and understand where the white culture comes from. I have grown up in a tri-culture, where my Filipino, Cajun French and English backgrounds are all very different and have differing views of the world we all share. It is wonderful when I can have a conversation with someone from one of those backgrounds to help them understand whey Ethnicity X has a particular view. 

The end goal of cultural awareness education is a healthy multi-ethnic church where it is acceptable to talk about differences in race, ethnicity, government ideals and culture. This type of awareness education will help you make fewer missteps and feel less awkward when engaging people across racial and cultural gaps.

Here’s a few Bullet points on how to become more Culturally Sensitive: 

1.       Pray:

a.        Ask God to conform you to being sensitive to other’s ethnic needs.

b.      Ask God to break down any prejudices that you may hold. (Trust Me! I the ethnic guy, even have prejudices that I’ve had to deal with.)

c.       Ask God to break you from the thinking that any one Ethnicity is 100% correct!

d.      Ask God to give you eyes to see how other’s view the World.

e.      Ask God to break you of habits that are offensive to others.

2.       Live among the people:

a.       Eat where they eat.

b.      Shop where they shop.

c.       Read what they read

d.      Watch what they watch.

e.      Play (if you have kids) where they play.

f.        Live (if you can move) where they live!

3.       Befriend the people:

a.       Living among the people isn’t enough!!!

b.      Build a genuine friendship with numerous ethnicities!

c.       Once a level of trust has been achieved ask the pertinent questions. (If you can have this conversation with several ethnicities at once, you will truly see the diversity in answers.)

These points don’t just apply to the white minister. They should be practiced by all ministers. Why?

Once again I’ll let the Apostle Paul speak. 

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” -  1 Cor. 9:19-23

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