By Paula Schlueter Ross
The good news: More than 900 cross-cultural ministries have been started by Missouri Synod Lutherans since LCMS World Mission launched its “Pentecost 2000” initiative in 1999.
Even better, information about all 900-plus ministries is listed on the P2K Web site at www.pentecost2000.com as a resource for those who want to “see how others did it” and start such a ministry themselves.
Now, and perhaps best of all, LCMS World Mission is answering the question, “What have we learned from Pentecost 2000?” and putting the information in book form for distribution Synodwide.
Dr. Allan Buckman, coordinator of the project, says it is intended to take P2K “learnings” to a wider audience by showing congregations what’s happening Synodwide, as members reach out to different ethnic groups in their communities, and to “give them a glimpse of what works.”
“It brings to the surface an aspect of Ablaze! that isn’t well known, and that is the number of cross-cultural ministries currently under way within The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod,” Buckman said.
Like Pentecost 2000, Ablaze! was launched by LCMS World Mission to bring people to Christ. With the help of mission partners worldwide, the Synod hopes to share the Gospel with 100 million people through Ablaze!
The Pentecost 2000 goal of starting 1,000 cross-cultural ministries nationwide is expected to be reached in time for a celebration just prior to the start of the Synod convention in July, according to P2K Director Marie Biesenthal, “to thank God for His marvelous blessings on this effort.”
“Each of these cross-cultural ministries that gave opportunity to share the message of Jesus Christ is a gift of God,” Biesenthal said.
At that time, the first of two P2K books, now under development as One People–Many Faces, will be released, providing an overview of the Synod’s cross-cultural ministries and tips from those involved in them.
The second book, produced under the auspices of the Lutheran Society for Missiology, is designed to carry more detailed information for starting cross-cultural ministries, including study questions and up to a dozen “case studies” of actual ministries. The so-called P2K “study version” likely won’t be available until the end of the year, according to Buckman.
Many of the 900-plus P2K ministries started so far share similar characteristics, and those “learnings” can be viewed as “keys to the future,” according to Buckman.
Most important, he says, is forming partnerships with established congregations.
“Partnerships are critical,” Buckman said. “They are there in every one of these [P2K ministries],” providing the synergy needed to implement the ministry, opportunities for involvement and “affirmation of the principle that you never, ever accomplish your goals by yourself.”
Other top P2K learnings call for:
- a “compelling vision,” which creates ministry awareness and involvement.
- training lay leaders, especially leaders from within the targeted ethnic group, which is viewed as “indispensable.”
- innovative strategies, which can “turn obstacles into opportunities.”
- volunteer workers and the use of small groups, both of which are viewed as essential to expansion of the ministry.
Successful cross-cultural ministries also exhibited “total dependence on God’s grace” throug prayer support and patience, even in the face of adversity, noted Buckman.
The P2K findings did not surprise him, Buckman said, but “very much affirmed” the importance of the “learnings” to mission work.
“These are high-impact realities that will be with us for quite some time to come,” he said.
Posted Feb. 25, 2004