I was recently asked to help raise extra donations for the All Nations Heritage scholarship fund. Special offerings by churches keep this fund going, specifically on All Nations Heritage Sunday (October 2, 2022). Recipients of these scholarships are students of various ethnic minorities and members of CRCNA congregations who plan to, or who are currently pursuing their educational goals at higher learning institutions affiliated with the denomination.
So, here I was facing this task for which I felt inadequate and ill-prepared to do. But I quickly remembered two friends from my seminary days who had believed that I would become an influential leader. I also knew they strongly believed diverse leadership was vital for the Christian Reformed Church.
The first friend I approached had been involved in supporting up-and-coming minority leaders in the CRC for decades. Over lunch, he shared his frustrations with working inside the denominational structure and feelings that his work wasn’t going anywhere. I reminded him that one significant beneficiary of his generous giving to the scholarship fund, and continued mentorship, was sitting right across from his chicken wings and celery sticks. He smiled and ended up giving a substantial gift to the scholarship fund.
I appealed to my other friend with a grand vision of raising funds for developing diaspora leaders to lead God’s kingdom work. He politely listened to my speech then flipped the challenge right back on me… with a promise. He challenged me to raise an amount unheard of in the 50 year history of Race Relations. If our fundraising efforts could meet his pledge, he promised to match up to $50,000 for the scholarship fund. I accepted his challenge as God’s dare to me to take a risk on future leaders who will grow the church beyond our wildest dreams.
I am here to report God knows how to prove me wrong every time. He prepared others who have given generously to the scholarship fund and He continues to bring in more through matching a crazy challenge. Diverse CRC leaders matter because the Lord keeps bringing them to us and providing us the resources to grow them.
Rev. Reggie Smith
Director of Diversity