Ministry Getting Started
Okay, now you have all this information and
youre asking, "What do I do with it? How do I begin to apply all Ive
learned to my local ministry?" This section is designed to help you begin taking your
first steps in ministry to urban, inner-city and ethnic students.
Steps to Implement Intercultural Ministry
Your objective is to lay a solid foundation
to begin a movement.
Steps to follow:
- Meet key people and build relationships in the
community. Meet people on their turf when its convenient for them!
- Build trust!
- You must meet pastors and make your intentions
known to them! These will be permanent, on-going relationships especially if kids are
involved from their churches. In most ethnic communities, they are the main spiritual
authority. If the pastor is not informed, it could create problems in the future.
- Identify any key inner-city or ethnic
ministries that already exist in the community. Go in as a learner/servant who is only
adding to whats already taking place. It doesnt mean you have to stop doing
what God has called you to do; rather you only offer those things they ask for them with.
- Use this time to learn as much as you can
about the culture. Read, visit churches, community events, etc.!
In this phase, your objective is to expose
the claims of Christ to a broad segment of students, gathering a core group of Christians
to build a movement.
Things to Consider:
- While on campus, look for groups and places
where urban, inner-city, and ethnic students gather. Gospel choirs, step clubs, band,
academic clubs, ROTC and Spanish club could be places to start. Many times, inner-city
students must rely on the school bus or public transportation to get home, so they may not
hang around after school.
- Enlist Christian students. African American
and Hispanic students usually dont have a hard time talking about God. You may find
it easy to start up a conversation with them. The issues that most come up are assurance
of salvation or issues dealing with the Holy Spirit. Depending on the background of the
Hispanic student, Catholicism may be an issue.
- Follow-up may be a challenge. Dont get
discouraged. Be persistent! God will bring them students, but it may take a while. Bible
studies and student meetings may need to be planned for right after school for inner-city
and some urban students. Its sometimes difficult to get them back to campus later.
- Always have food!
- Your team may need to be prepared to provide
scholarships for conferences and retreats. Many inner-city students wont have any
financial means to pay for even the lowest cost retreat!
- Meet parents and keep them informed about
whats happening in your ministry.
- You may also find that you need to deal with
some more topical/foundational issues before you can get into your normal Bible study
Here, your objective is to go public with the
movement through the students gathered.
Things to Consider:
- Maintain and develop good relationships with
parents and community contacts.
- Keep your meetings consistent and always send
home something that explains whats going on.
- It will be helpful to remember some of the
cultural idioms of each ethnic group at this point. It may help explain why a student is
or isnt attending your events or is behaving a certain way.
- Continue to visit local churches and send your
teams prayer request to local churches to help keep them informed and educate them
about your ministry. The more information, the better.
- Make sure, you are enlisting volunteers and
encouraging people from different ethnic groups to work along side you and help you lead
in some instances.
- Explain the purpose of meetings clearly.
Remember, your way of doing things may be totally foreign to these students. You may have
to keep helping them make the distinctions.
- Try and bring in ethnic speakers and remember
ethnic holidays in your use of themes or even in scheduling of events.
- Your meetings should reflect your audience.
The music, themes, speakers, curriculum, etc. should appeal to your specific or mixed
audience. This may be a challenge, but persevere. Its really worth it. (If your
group is mixed, pray that God will help you to know how to maintain all the students in
The objective is to delegate major
responsibility for movement to students and volunteers.
Things to Consider:
- At this point, students should be seeing more
and more people like them leading as volunteers or as student leaders.
- Students should be attending conferences, but
international projects may pose another dilemma. Students will want to go, but their
parents may not understand the reasoning behind it and parents may be intimidated by the
cost. Plan on helping that student raise all of their finances. Inner-city families
generally have no extra money to give to things like this.
- You may also consider including conferences
and trips that are more ethnic or urban and inner-city specific. These events will help
these students deal with the issues of Christianity that come up in their communities and
in their personal worlds.
Tips to Remember
Following are several tips to help you expand
your knowledge and skills for working with ethnic minorities.
Start a friendship with a person of another
culture. It could be a once a week lunch or a time to learn another language. Be creative
with your activities!
ethnic Christian churches with a person of that ethnicity so you can ask questions if
part in or do an inner-city ministry project.
ethnic students to your home.
Help them to see that you are willing and
wanting them to be a part of your world that you want to open your home to them.
books, magazines and newspaper articles about specific ethnic groups.
Go to your library or subscribe to an ethnic
magazine such as Emerge, Vibe, and Hispanic. Start a file of your resources and keep
copies on hand.
at an ethnic restaurant.
One idea is to go to a different ethnic
restaurant once a week for a month. This is a fun way to experience another culture
without having to go out of the country!
part in celebrating or attending ethnic holiday events.
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