Why I Believe in Multicultural Ministry
Ministry has its up and downs. Such is life. But one of the joys of planting and pastoring Quest Church is that it’s one of the most unique and diverse communities I have ever been a part of.
This isn’t meant to be a slam against homogeneous churches. In fact, I believe that every community is multicultural on some level (hint: think beyond race). While I very much miss the uniqueness of my experiences in Korean American churches — food, generations, languages, etc. (and still am involved in Korean American/Asian communities) — I now understand why God called my wife, Minhee, and I to venture out from our homogeneous suburban church into the city to plant Quest and Q Cafe.
While we have a long way to go, we’re thankful that Quest Church is growing as a multicultural, multigenerational, and urban faith community — with a desire to be an incarnational presence both in the city of Seattle and the larger world — teaching and living out the gospel of Christ.
Question: What are ways that you encourage your community to grow in diversity, community, and uniqueness?
These are my encouragements to fellow leaders and pastors:
• Know the diversity of your community. Simply, do you know your people’s stories? They may “look” the same but they represent different “cultures” — if not ethnicities. We all have diverse stories. And if you know their stories, are you making them known? For what it’s worth, this is my story.
• Nevertheless, have a vision of the larger kingdom and the “future church” and consider what it looks like to take “one step closer…” Even if your church community isn’t ethnically diverse, how are you personally building friendships and encouraging your congregants to live in friendship with neighbors and the larger community? How is your church serving “other” churches and communities — especially those that don’t look like yours? You don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket and think that “worshipping together” is the only expression. Think outside of Sundays and outside the building box.
• Be committed to the truth that each person is uniquely created in the image of God. Consider the lessons learned from the story of Susan Boyle of Britain’s Got Talent (whose inspiring performance has become a phenonmenon on YouTube) and meditate on this quote from C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory:
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal , and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously — no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat — the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”
Why did God call us to plant Quest Church? It’s hard to put into words, but the images below illustrate some reasons why. We do ministry in hopes of loving and serving people so that we may all be drawn to the Gospel of Christ.
I’m thankful for the beauty of diversity, community, and uniqueness of each person because they give me a glimpse of a larger, deeper, and fuller God and Kingdom. When I exclusively hang with those that look, think, and view the world just like me, I’m prone to live with blind spots … In short, I see what I see and what I want to see. This is why I need others and, yes, why others need me.
Much thanks to Leo Chen Photography for these great pics during a recent Sunday service.