Sometimes leaders can no longer honestly say, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair . . . struck down, but not destroyed.” Instead, they do feel crushed and near to despair. How do we recognize when it’s time to take a break, and what kind of change do we need?
People who are quiet by dint of personality have a particular gift to offer the broader Christian community… the habit of paying attention and being receptive comes much more naturally to some than others. The people who “take up the most space in the room” may not notice everything going on in the room. It’s hard to listen while you’re talking; those who talk less can take in more.
Whose culture determines how you do life together? That’s who your community is really serving. I’ve never heard of a church planting team setting out “to plant a white church.” They have no overt hostility toward any particular group. But in the way they structure their community life together, the “language” they’re speaking is white culture.
“What are some ways that I can connect with a diverse group of people, even though I mostly interact with people who are similar to me?”
It’s easy to rush into things with an idealized attitude of what cross-cultural relationships are like; instead, buckle up for a bumpy ride. There will be difficult dynamics.
We Christians bring our own uniquely creative dysfunctions to the world of disagreement and conflict, don’t we? Like with bad movies, the best way to make bad conflict even worse is to add religion to the mix… I can think of at least three modes of conflict resolution that are bad in a distinctively Christian way.
Friend is a word of mutuality… Consider how this mutuality can reframe our interactions with God. If you’ve neglected a life of prayer and feel convicted about it, is your primary feeling a failure of duty? What if instead, you considered that Jesus just misses you?
We know from experience that ignoring our own needs doesn’t end well for anybody. At the same time, those experiences can leave us scratching our heads about what God does want. We need to care for ourselves and we need to deny ourselves. How can we do both?
Thinking, “this is beyond me” is a much healthier attitude than thinking, “I’ve got this” when it comes to multi-ethnic Christian community.
A measure of hesitance about being in a leadership position as a white Christian in an ethnically diverse community is appropriate.
Given the stark history of exclusion and the dangers of false motives, should those of us who are white even consider stepping into multi-ethnic leadership?
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