Something amazing happens when people from many ethnicities gather together in Christ’s name: God pours out His Holy Spirit. The Day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2, and Azusa Street in 1906 remind us that “Pentecostal” is not a style or a dress code, but the outpouring of God’s Spirit to carry His gospel to all the families of the earth. He ignites us, unites us and empowers us so that all nations may know Him.
As the face of America changes along with the faces of America, we find ourselves right in the middle of the harvest. The projected number of immigrants to this nation in the next 40 years is staggering. At current rates and projections, our nation of almost 300 million inhabitants will swell to 430 million by 2050. More than 80 percent of those millions will be immigrants or raised in immigrant households.
Foursquare’s Urban and Multicultural Ministries has been a vital part of our church family, thanks to the efforts of former directors Ken Bringas and Art Gray; Jim Tolle, who worked with Hispanic ministries; and the many leaders and pioneers whose contributions have brought us to where we are today. These leaders include names such as Black Buffalo, Jeff Yellow-Owl, and Ken Pretty-on-Top, pastors who represent this land’s original inhabitants.
Foursquare’s Ethnic Rep Team was formed in May 2009 to assist and inspire the church with ministry both to and through leading ethnicities in Foursquare: Native American, Black, Hispanic, Korean and Brazilian. The nine reps who make up that team possess vast insight, respect and passion.
The five Hispanic reps are serving as a task force, endeavoring to form a broader National Hispanic Council to bring district representatives and key Hispanic voices together at a national level as we move into the future. Other ethnicities are moving in similar directions of broader representation, bringing more voices to the table and helping form new affinities to assist in reaching people for Christ across this land and in many contexts.
The ethnic and multiethnic church movements within Foursquare are exciting. In some cases, the U.S. is teaming up with “sending nations”—such as Brazil and Indonesia—via Foursquare Missions. In others, newly planted networks are arising in the U.S., such as Liberian, Russian or Chinese. Some of our ethnic and immigrant pastors and members are reaching back to their home nations. This is allowing our ethnic affinities to cross beyond borders with the gospel.
Multicultural churches take on many expressions but are a rather new phenomenon to a traditional church landscape. With the increased diversity in our nation, we must have leaders who can reach and pastor a variety of nationalities. Foursquare currently has some tremendous multicultural leaders and churches.
Our prayer is that we will see the future of ethnic ministry partnership through the eyes of Joshua and Caleb—the two spies who saw through different eyes. Some may see different cultures as a threat, an inconvenience, or an insurmountable challenge, but we choose to embrace them as the future of the church, the greatest opportunity of our lifetime, and a foretaste of Revelation 7:9 with “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (NKJV).