Last week I was at a church planting conference near Boston. It was a conference to train leaders of church planting networks. We were in classes all day learning the mechanics of leading church planting movements. In the evenings, we spent time fellowshipping together.
One evening after class two carloads of us went into Boston’s North End for dinner and to look at some historical sites. As we were sitting around the table eating, it occurred to me that there was an Indian, a South African, a Nigerian and several Brazilians around the table. Only two of us were Anglo. As I sat looking around the table at the wonderful diversity that was present, I could not help but think that I was looking at the future of church planting in America.
As people move to the United States from around the world, international missions has navigated to North America. Though we still need missionaries to travel to remote places around the world and share the Gospel with those who have not yet heard, increasingly, we can engage in international missions simply by crossing the street and meeting the new neighbors.
If we hope to be successful in this new paradigm of church planting, we will have to embrace such diversity. We no longer have the luxury of just encouraging the “white” people to reach the “non-white” people (though that is ALSO very important). We now have to move the “non-white” people into places of leadership and learn to follow them as they lead us to reach our neighbors with the Gospel. That is the future of church planting in America.
Is the American church up to the challenge?