Ask around and I’ll bet you’ll find 144 different reasons to value ethnic specific ministry. You’ll hear lots of those reasons right here on this blog. But ethnic specific ministry also makes some of us feel uncomfortable:
- We don’t understand it.
- We feel excluded.
- We fear we appear racist.
In today’s inclusive culture, why would we value ethnic specific ministry?
I took a while to come around to appreciate ethnic specific ministry. My participation in a multiethnic community was one of my most powerful experiences in college. I didn’t understand why anyone would miss out on that.
And then I discovered one surprising reason to value ethnic specific ministry: We want to reach the entire campus.
At first, that rationale didn’t compute for me. How does focusing on one specific group of people connect with a value to reach the entire campus?
When I think about my powerful multiethnic experience in college, I see white students and black students and East Asian students gathered together worshipping Jesus. I also see two bi-racial students: Jen and me. But when I search my memory, I realize that people were missing.
- Where were the South Asian students?
- Where were the Middle Eastern students?
- Where were the Native American students?
- Where were the Latino students?
They were on my campus. They just weren’t in my chapter.
Ethnic specific ministry is — among other things— a strategy for reaching people with the gospel who are not being reached by our current ministry strategy.
We cannot be satisfied with only reaching a few corners of our campuses. Ethnic specific ministry is — among other things— a strategy for reaching people with the gospel who are not being reached by our current ministry strategy.
Across the country, ethnic specific ministry has taken on several different forms:
- Entire chapters dedicated to reaching certain people-groups on campus
- Ethnic specific small groups and Bible Studies
- Seminars, retreats and conferences focused for particular communities
Each of these ministry strategies has been field-tested and proven to expand our ministry to unreached corners of campus. College students in this generation appreciate when people pay attention to their particularity. They like being known and wanted.
If your ministry is struggling to reach unreached corners of your campus, maybe you need to leverage one of our ethnic specific ministry strategies? Those students … the ones who aren’t at the table … they matter to God. What is your plan to reach them?