Embracing Our Diverse Denomination

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Did you know that one of the fastest growing segments of the Christian Reformed Church in North America is ethnic and multi-ethnic churches? 

According to yearbook data, from December 2017 to December 2018 our denomination gained 6 new Korean congregations, 2 Hispanic/Latino congregations, 2 South East Asian/Pacific Islander congregations, 1 African American congregation, and 3 congregations who label themselves as multi-ethnic. 

This is truly something to celebrate!

It also has me thinking. As this segment of our denomination continues to grow, I wonder how they can become a greater influence on our daily work as churches and as a denomination.  

Take a minute to think about that. How much do you think about making things accessible to the broad spectrum of Christian Reformed people and congregations? Is it a question that comes up in your daily work? Is it a regular part of your planning process? 

If not, I wonder how our work plans, resources, messages, and even staffing would change if we kept in mind some of the people whose primary language isn’t English, or whose cultural identity is different than what has traditionally been understood to be “Christian Reformed.”

As you begin to think about this question, I’d like to make you aware of a new feature on The Network. It isn’t a complete solution to better embracing our diverse denomination, but is a step in the right direction.

As you post new blogs, resources, and ministry questions to the site, you now have the opportunity to tag each one with its primary language. For now, the language options include Korean, Spanish, French, and Chinese. We hope to expand that further as we develop additional resources in other languages.

We’ve been populating the site with materials in these languages for the past few months and this week we “flipped the switch” to allow visitors to The Network to begin filtering their search results by language. Take a look here, for example, to see what is available in Korean.

If you have materials already available in any of these four languages, please post them to The Network and tag them appropriately. Please also consider what you might currently have available in English that could be translated into other languages. 

The CRCNA also supports this growing segment of our denomination through the Ethnic Diversity Functional Team which recently met with key leaders and pastors from 6 groups to listen to their needs and affirm how we can better collaborate for the good of the kingdom. These 6 groups are: Consejo Latino, Korean, Black and Reformed, East Meets West, SEAPI, and Indigenous.

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This is just wonderful and strongly resonates with what increasingly echoes in my heart:

Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9