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One of my favorite Reggie Joiner ideas from A New Kind of Leader is that what we are doing only matters, if it matters right now. While this is certainly true of the ministry we do for kids and students, this is also true of the ministry we do with adults. Our communities are full of clues that provide us information regarding what matters to those in our churches. Family make-up, gender, age, economic status, educational background, professional experience, and even race all color how we see ourselves in the world. These demographics color how we see God working in the world. These demographics provide shape for how we see each other in the world. We get insight to what’s important to our congregation when we know who is in our congregation. Demographics provide the context through which we share and live out the gospel with other people.
There’s no way to avoid the impact of this societal construct on our congregations at this time in American history. Our country is split along racial and ethnic lines in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time thanks to the advancements of media and technology that put stories of racial and ethnic injustice at our fingertips. As many congregations seek to be places of healing and restoration in our communities, many pastors and leaders are looking at the possibilities of multi-cultural ministry. However, the reality of establishing a growing multi-cultural ministry is a result of taking seriously the demographics and issues that are in our communities. On March 9, the New York Times published an article concerning African Americans and their presence in white evangelical churches. The article discussed a timely truth that people worship where they feel cared for; where the things they care about are the things...
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