Leading Ideas Newsletter Book Review, March 2 2005

May 11, 2005
 
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Leadership Vignette

A pastor discovered a distinctive gift her congregation had to offer children.

I have found an important starting point for ministry is to figure out what your church has to offer for kids, and then play that up.  My current church had no children’s Sunday School when I came as pastor. It was like pulling teeth to get volunteers. It was hard.  The truth is, if I were not the pastor, I would not have chosen this church for my kids to go to Sunday School.  I would probably be down the street at the church with the huge program. 

But, I realized we do have something special to offer--our kids are multicultural.  Of our regular child attendees, two are from the Philippines, one is from Africa, one is African American, four are Anglo, and one is biracial.  Recently a couple of families visited because friends told them that their multiethnic children would fit in well at our church!  So suddenly our tiny little class is not so small. It is actually the cool multicultural place to be!  I emphasize this facet of our congregation as a great blessing.

We took in five new members this past week. They came from three countries and different races. I love this!  Pentecost is coming up and it is the day we go all out to celebrate our diversity. In our  congregation of just over 100 people, we have members from seventeen countries now. We have a "Multicultural Potluck" where everyone brings a dish representing their heritage. We put up flags from the all the countries from which we draw members. Scripture is read in multiple languages.  And the Sunday School really is working. A new Anglo family with three children began attending because they like the diversity!

I now realize that every place has something special to offer. We might not be able to “compete” with larger churches, but we should be able to thrive on our own terms, using the distinctive gifts and opportunities God has given us.

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