The multiethnic team within Church Multiplication and Discipleship is growing.
Several months ago, Rev. Santes Beatty, Multiethnic Ministries director for The Wesleyan Church, saw a need for his team to expand in order to better serve Wesleyan churches and their leaders.
What started as six team members has emerged into a group of twelve – comprised of clergy and lay leaders from across North America. One team outcome is a Multiethnic Multipliers Huddle Zoom meeting on the second Thursday of each month at noon and 8:30 p.m. (EST). Open to any person(s) interested, the meeting is a time of prayer, equipping, encouragement and sharing of stories about what God has been doing throughout North America in multiethnic contexts.
Over 40 women and men signed up in the first month of the Huddle’s existence, with a steady increase occurring in those who are interested in being a part of it in the future.
Each meeting works to equip participants through the voices of leading practitioners, lay and clergy, who talk about topics of interest to those on the call. Previous topics include: “How to Diversify Your Team,” “Engaging Privilege,” “Church Residences” and “Multiplying Through Community-Based Ministries.” The practitioners strive to share the best models, practices, methods and new developments on the front lines of multiethnic ministries.
Rev. Jeremy Lenertz, pastor of Muskegon First Wesleyan Church in Muskegon, Michigan, is just one of the leaders who has joined the huddle. See his thoughts below and consider joining the Huddle if you have a heart for multiethnic ministry.
What interested you in the Huddle?
Lenertz – It is a slice of a beloved community gathering in a space to share different perspectives on relevant topics. It keeps me sharp and open to a diverse avenue for living life in community. It also allows for testing of thoughts and ideas in a space where, ultimately, a common goal is to see people of all different walks of life come to know Jesus.
The different perspectives and the valuable diversity of content are what I am getting out of the group. Our tendency is to let our worldview be limited by the confines of our environment right in front of us. When our environment is completely monoethnic, our viewpoint only considers that voice and none other.
The content and conversations that are being addressed are extremely valuable and meaningful in contemporary culture. The input from a wide variety of ministry perspectives, ethnicities and socioeconomic viewpoints help open my own eyes to more than just a single story of life and how to go about ministry.
Why is multiethnic ministry important to you?
Lenertz – A decade ago, we were a completely Caucasian church in an urban neighborhood that was not completely Caucasian. That didn’t sit well with us, and we began to pray that God would direct us in ministry in the community. He has shown us that there is value in multiethnic ministry beyond just simply a “worthy goal.”
Multiethnic ministry is a way of living that strives toward a diverse community of faith which seeks to be reconciled to God even as we are working toward reconciliation with each other.
This must be an intentional effort in programming, staffing, relationships, thinking and living — otherwise it just becomes a hollow endeavor that strives toward quota rather than diverse communities transformed by the power of Jesus.
It isn’t something that happens overnight.
Our story looks much different today than it did a decade ago, but our work isn’t done. There are 20,000 people in our core city who don’t know Jesus, and our goal is to reach those hearts in a way that reveals heaven on earth through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in diverse community efforts.
Our mindset has shifted dramatically, but there is still much work to be done as we make intentional staff decisions, program decisions and community relationship decisions. Though it is hard work, it’s tremendously rewarding, as God works to “make new” our family of faith in the heart of the city.
For more information about the Multiethnic Ministries Huddles, visit their site.