Growing the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) church cross-culturally will take partnership between the national offices and middle governing bodies, the Discipleship committee of the General Assembly Mission Council learned March 31.
Sterling Morse, coordinator for Cross Cultural Ministries and Congregational Support, Mei-Hui Chen Lai, associate for Asian Congregational Support, Lonnie Oliver, associate for African American Congregational Support, and Martha Sadongei, church specialist for Native American Congregational Support, outlined a vision and strategy for growing what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the World House.”
“The PC(USA) is but one house in God’s earthly estate,” Morse said. The staff of cross-cultural ministries and congregational support are working from several verses from Acts 2, including Acts 2:44 — “All the believers were together and had everything in common.”
The office will identify middle governing bodies, congregations and other groups interested in growing cross-cultural ministries. It will also work with middle governing bodies to assist churches, fellowships and networks in shaping a vision. The national offices will take the lead in providing training and resources to help middle governing bodies to understand a community’s context, culture and protocol.
“How wonderful will the household of God be when even those with the smallest voices are heard and seen,” Sadongei said.
The committee also heard from Kevin Park, associate for theology. He led a generative discussion on what it means to grow the church deep and wide in diversity.
Multiculturalism must not be the church’s ultimate goal, and is “not just a stepping stone to church growth,” he said. Rather, it has a theological basis.
Multicultural ministry is a way to glorify God by striving to live a Kingdom life, Park said, referencing Revelation 21:22-26.
The task for the PC(USA) is to make space for the voices that have historically been marginalized, Park said.
We often think of multiculturalism in terms of bringing cultures together, he said, but it also offers opportunities for self-reflection and self-criticism, for cultures to see and address their own brokenness.