Church Planting in the American Stew

by | Jul 23, 2011 | Church Leadership, Church Planting

A recent article in the Washington Post indicated that, based on the results of the 2010 census, for the first time ever, more than half the children under two years old in the U.S. are minorities.  This census data provides the first hard evidence that, just as the prognosticators have predicted, the U.S. is rapidly becoming a majority-minority nation. Persons and organizations involved in starting new faith congregations cannot afford to ignore or overlook this emerging reality. In fact, knowing that these wonderful and diverse children are headed to a neighborhood near us, we can begin right now to make plans to ensure that they grow up in a culture blessed with an abundance of healthy, vibrant churches. Which leads to the question, “what does church planting look like in a majority-minority culture?” My thoughts:

  1. Church planting will be happening in a majority-minority environment. If right now more than half the children in the U.S. are minorities, all one has to do is look forward to a point in the future when all those children are grown-ups leading companies, running for office or teaching in schools. The future reality is that wherever we go the faces we see around us will not look like our own, regardless of our ethnicity. This is not something that might happen. It already has and those who plant churches must include this reality in their strategic plans or risk not being with Jesus on His mission.
  2. A stew not a melting pot. I grew up hearing that America was a melting pot, meaning that people from different nations left behind their ethnic identities and melted together into one American culture. Increasingly, the melting pot metaphor is morphing into a stew. In case the difference isn’t obvious to you, let me make myself clear. Instead of losing cultural identity and being assimilated into American culture, American culture itself is becoming a savory stew composed of a variety of people with rich and distinct cultural characteristics that blend together into an amazing American stew. Going forward, effective church planting strategies will know how to be the Church in the stew.
  3. My eight-week-old grandson is going to grow up in a majority-minority world and I need to begin to prepare him now for ministry, service and church planting in that emerging world. The church he plants will look very different from the church he grows up in. I need to find ways to create a safe environment for him to learn how to play a role in starting new churches that look more like heaven every day. Like me, church-planting organizations must discover how we will prepare those under two years of age to plant churches that reach their generation.

My thoughts only begin to scratch the surface of how the church needs to get ready to look like Jesus in a world where the majority are minorities. What do you think?

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Steve Pike

Steve Pike is the founding director of the Church Multiplication Network and led church planting for the Assemblies of God. Recently, he left the Assemblies of God leadership and became the founding director of the Urban Islands Project, a forerunner of city-focused church planting strategy. Read More About Steve Pike At His Author Page