Oftentimes when it comes to multi-ethnic ministry leadership you wonder out loud whether anybody out there is listening. You may also wonder if in the vast sea of racialization and polarization, is the work that you do make a difference? I joke that most leaders who attempt to cross racial lines are either idealistic or jaded with few in-between. In fact that may just describe your morning! Well today color me an idealist.
I just got off the phone with Pastor Don who leads the Evangelical Free Church of Willmar in Willmar, MN. It’s a small town of about 20,000 people but God is bringing the world there. Pastor Don estimates that about 25% of the population is non-white due to a local factory that’s importing workers. The town is literally being repopulated. Willmar is not alone. God is repopulating small midwestern towns all throughout the United States. This isn’t your grandfather’s rural ministry context.
Pastor Don and his church have responded biblically. He and his leadership are in process of preparing for the harvest. They are strategizing how to reach the new groups of Hispanic, African, and Asian immigrants. The first step was years ago they started a “church within a church,” hiring a leader to minister to the first generation Hispanic immigrants that have settled there. They are now trying to figure out how to go to the next level.
Here is where my idealism kicks in. He told me that my book helped them get to where they are at. People write books for all kinds of reasons, but I can honestly say I wrote mine for one – to help the Pastor Don’s out there who want to lead their ministries to reach their communities regardless of ethnicity. It is always a humbling experience to know that God used me to play a small role in his cosmic plan for Kingdom expansion.