Considerations For Establishing An Immigrant Ethnic Ministry: The MANNA Model -- By: Archie M. Hensley

Journal: Michigan Theological Journal
Volume: MTJ 02:1 (Spring 1991)
Article: Considerations For Establishing An Immigrant Ethnic Ministry: The MANNA Model
Author: Archie M. Hensley


Considerations For Establishing An Immigrant Ethnic Ministry: The MANNA Model

Archie M. Hensley

Immigrant ethnic groups in North America for decades have been both intriguing and difficult to evangelize. As the world is changing about us, so are its people. This article demonstrates what one group is doing to meet the challenges of resistant immigrant groups and considerations for the many churches who wish to reach them.

Winds of change have been blowing in our nation relating to strategies for immigrant ethnic ministries in North America. At heart is the issue of the relationship and responsibilities of mission boards or agencies and local churches. The establishment of ethnic convert churches and strategies for ministry, both outside and within the authority of local churches, need to be addressed and clarified. Central to this issue is training for cross-cultural evangelism.

Church And Mission Involvement

There is a great need for churches and mission agencies to focus efforts on developing strategies for immigrant ethnic ministries in North America. Taking a new and fresh approach to immigrant ministry does not come without the need for a patient and long term commitment.

While we rejoice in successful cross-cultural evangelism on a personal basis, we realize that the greater task of reaching a particular community must be a group effort. Churches ministering in a specific immigrant ethnic group without adequate training or preparation have met with limited success in their ongoing ministry. Churches need to train their members if they wish to engage in more effective cross-cultural evangelism.

Often the training must come from those outside the church. It is here that the churches and mission agencies can network with better results.

Why develop a strategy through the local church rather than separate from the local church? First, it is predictable, visible, and has a long term commitment in the community. Second, the church is filled with potential workers, who are already gifted in certain areas of ministry. They need only to be challenged and equipped for the task. These church members are already fully supported. Third, the ownership principle will allow the ministry to be ongoing in the absence of the mission training agency. Such a model respects church autonomy separate from mission input after the training and equipping phases are complete. Finally, this strategy facilitates the networking with other churches who are involved in the same type of training and ministry.1

Mission agencies have made efforts, with some success, to develop str...

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