God's Kingdom without Borders

The Vine Institute

God's Kingdom without Borders

Think Glocal

Listening to my young Vietnamese friend and student in a course I facilitate on Biblical Preaching, I must say I felt inspired and kind of caught short. He reports on a small group from his local Salt Lake Vietnamese congregation that recently took a mission trip to their country of origin: in just a short visit of a couple weeks, they contacted friends and relatives and others and saw 126 profess conversion to Christ! I also know from talking with the pastor of this church, a good friend connected with us at The Vine, that their people do this same outreach work locally in neighborhoods around them, among all kinds of people–Anglo, Asian, African, Hispanic, whomever–and they regularly see good results and rejoice in what they see God doing through them!
These people “think glocal” (a recently coined term making the rounds)–both global and local at the same time. Why? Consciously or unconsciously, they seem to get it: for over a century now, the locus of Christianity on the planet has been shifting from the West and North (Euro-American centered) to the South and East, and these kingdom demographics result in the world’s peoples being deposited on our local doorstep. Ethnically and culturally, the North American church (no less on Utah’s Wasatch Front than elsewhere) is rapidly diversifying–it grows fastest among immigrant, refugee and ethnic minority communities.
In the interest of our mission at The Vine Institute to “cultivate a healthy intercultural body of Christ on the Wasatch Front,” Tom McClenahan, our director, issues this challenge: “The global nature of the world is coming to our local intermountain hideout. Yet many Christians hardly notice that they are no longer at the center of what God is doing. Will we hold on to our familiar ways or will we follow the leading of God’s Spirit?”
So I’m inspired by my Vietnamese Christian friends; I’m also caught short because I wonder how many of my friends in the White American churches get this enough to go beyond our “familiar ways” and “think glocal.”
How about you?–stories, questions, comments?

Posted in Multicultural on 1 October 2012

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