|After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front the Lamb — Revelations 7: 9
(New International Version)
|And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ — Ephesians 4: 10-13 (The Message)
A New Community
Our goal is to create a beloved community and
this will require a qualitative change in our souls
as well as a quantitative change in our lives.
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Imagine what would happen if church leaders, home missionaries and church planters saw today’s domestic mission field through the eyes of the diverse cultures and ethnicities who live at the doorsteps of the congregations and communities they serve? What would happen if church leaders understood the world through multiple cultural perspectives and built respectful and just communication bridges that furthered the cause of Christ, encouraging greater witness and collaboration?
American Baptists have a rich heritage of cultural diversity, racial understanding and intentional inclusion of myriad voices in mission; yet, when it comes to true multicultural perspectives and behaviors, work remains to be done. We live and minister in a global society that is becoming increasingly splintered along the lines of age, ethnicity, social class, race, gender and language. As a people of faith, however, we have a biblical vision of a new earth and new heaven—a vision of a diverse and inclusive community gathered around the throne of God.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is committed to sharing and learning across cultures as an essential part of life together in Jesus Christ. The church is enriched when the contributions of all are engaged in its witness and mission. We are called to be that new beloved community—an inclusive community, an intercultural community of followers of Jesus Christ.
Through cultural awareness and sensitivity skill development, racial reconciliation training and dialogue, intercultural development tools and coaching, and coordination of activities that promote cross-cultural learning opportunities (in collaboration with ABHMS’ ethnic ministries offices), the ABHMS office of Intercultural Ministries helps congregations and individuals develop cultural awareness and sensitivity for building a just and inclusive church.