Reaching ethnic minorities has become more important than ever. As we cross cultures it is important for us to reflect on how we relate to the people we are trying to reach.
This summer three majority culture ministers working with Impact, Epic, and Destino wrote an article describing some of the various postures we have taken or seen others take in the process. This excerpt from the article, “Five Majority Culture Postures Towards Ethnic Minority Ministry” sums it up well:
“As Caucasians [white, dominant culture ministers], we carry with us the capacity to reinforce much of the pain that ethnic minorities have experienced and absorbed both in their lifetimes and through generations of systemic marginalization. We can’t escape the larger story of which we are all connected. But when we as Caucasians begin to relate to ethnic minority communities in ways that bring honor, rather than take it away (albeit often unknowingly), there are great opportunities to open doors for healing, reconciliation, and empowerment.
We think most ethnic ministry is done with good intentions. But not all seek to partner in ways in which there is mutual blessing and dignity. We cannot partner in ethnic ministry from a position of “above.” We can fight for people and influence them from above, but we can’t really partner with others in a redemptive and honoring way without fostering mutuality and dignity.”
Most people we know would want to be in the fifth posture we cover in the article: advocacy in partnership. They have good intentions and desires in a lot of ways. But sometimes we don’t understand when our good intentions are mostly “good” when viewed through our own cultural lens. We (the authors) have had our own journeys of learning what types of efforts and interactions are truly good when stepping into the ethnic minority world. That’s some of the journey – being willing to move from what seems good to us towards what truly is good for those people we are trying to serve and love well. Postures 2-4 represent frequent postures that we white, dominant culture ministers often think are serving and helpful, but when examined in light of the big picture they begin to show us something about what God still wants to do in our hearts.
When given status or power, we’re called to steward that power to serve and empower others. White ministers can play a very redemptive role in shaping the future of North America by embracing what it means to advocate in partnership.
Read the full article here: Five Majority Culture Postures Towards Ethnic Minority Ministry (mobile friendly)
**server issues are affecting the above link so if it’s not working you can view and download at this link.
Consider these questions as you respond and comment. Share your story! We all need to be learners together.
If you are a white staff person or minister, where are you at in your own journey of learning to cross-cultures? What have you learned? What have been your own challenges and successes?
If you are a non-white staff, student, or minister and you resonate with the ethnic minority experience, we’d love to invite you to share what you have experienced as being truly GOOD for you in your journey. What has served you or what has helped empower you as a person and a leader? And what have been the challenges – whether they are captured in the article or not?
All of us can benefit from reflecting upon this question: Given the capacity I currently have, as I reflect on the idea of advocacy, what might be a good step for me right where I am towards learning to enter into healthy partnerships across majority-minority or ethnic lines?