Advice to Churches: Adapt to Multicultural Reality

Post a Comment » Written on June 16th, 2009     
Filed under: News
ST. PAUL, MN (June 16, 2009) – More than 150 people attended the recent Coming Together 2009 conference, a leadership event co-sponsored by the Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church and several other organizations.

The conference focused on equipping and networking leaders to better minister in multicultural and multiracial settings. Local and national speakers addressed the gathering, which was held June 5 at Bethel Christian Fellowship.

KrampkaAlthough the church at large tends to be 20 years behind most philosophical and sociological changes in society, the church is leading the way in multiculturalism, said Soong-Chan Rah, the Milton B. Engebretson Assistant Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary.

Rah noted that with the influx of immigrants into the United States, we are witnessing the growth of the church, but in unexpected areas. He contended that many white churches find themselves poorly equipped to minister in today’s cultural context, but many immigrant and multiethnic churches are flourishing as they offer much-needed alternatives for the church as a whole.

“We are seeing a confusion between what is American culture and what is true Christianity,” said Rah, who also is the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity. For a previous Covenant News Service story about the book, click here.

Jon Kramka, director of mission development for the Northwest Conference, added, “If we in the church do not develop a multicultural theology and organizational culture, the integrity of the gospel is at stake.” Krampka is addressing participants in the accompanying photo.

David Myles, Family Life/Community Outreach Pastor at Brooklyn Park Evangelical Free Church, asked the attendees what would happen to marketing executives if 25 percent of their market changed, but the marketing approach stayed the same? “We expect consumer markets to adapt to change. Why don’t we expect the same of churches as their communities and neighborhoods change?

He predicted that in 20 years there would be two kinds of churches – those that began adapting to the new multicultural reality, and those for whom it is too late.

Other co-sponsors of the event included the Greater Minnesota Association of Evangelicals, Woodland Hills Church, Mercy Vineyard Church, The Compass Covenant Church, and The Sanctuary Covenant Church.

Click here to listen to audio from Coming Together 2009.

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