Crossing Cultures

I recently heard Carrie Walker, Campus Field Ministry Executive Director, share about her experience launching an Impact Movement.  I asked her if she would write about her experience to share it with you.

Crossing Cultures
Several years ago, I was sitting in a meeting at an Impact conference.  Impact is an ministry designed to reach and develop leaders in communities of African descent.  The person speaking up front made a comment, rather in passing, that there were Caucasian staff around the country that were working on campuses minutes away from Historically Black Colleges & Universities, and they never once thought about going to launch a movement at those universities.  Immediately, the Lord convicted me about the reality that Central State University and Wilberforce University, HBCU’s, were just down the road from a campus that our staff went to weekly.  At that moment, I knew He was asking me to trust Him to start a movement at one of those universities.

What I did not really understand at the time, was that the person He really wanted to change in the process was. . .you guessed it. . .ME!  My friend, Michaela, an African American student from Ohio State, and I went once a week to Central State University, and Jesus used it to change my life. . .forever.

While I was crossing cultures, I understood what it was like to be the minority for the first time in my life.  It surfaced in me my own biases and racism that God wanted to bring to the light, so that I could repent of them and ask Him to change me.  I fell in love with men and women in the black community, and learned of the rich realities of their culture.  My world broadened, and my love for Jesus, and His heart for all nations, deepened.  As the Lord deepened my friendship with Michaela, though we were from completely different worlds, God used it to communicate to students and faculty at Central State the beauty of the gospel, and it’s power to create unity in the midst of diversity.  We journeyed to that campus once a week for five years, and some of my fondest memories on staff come from my time on that campus.

Are there pockets of students of a different ethnicity from yours on your campus that you have never really thought about reaching?  Are there campuses nearby with ethnic populations that the Lord may want to lay on your heart?  God has a heart for them, and God has a heart for you.  Would you consider taking a step of faith to see if He would have you cross cultures to launch a movement among a culture different than your own?  My guess is, that if He is asking you to do that, He wants to change your life. . .forever.  He’s good like that.

Friend and Ambassador
What Carrie shared is encouraging to me as we think about being a “Friend” or an “Ambassador” for one of our ethic context ministries (Impact, Destino, Epic, Bridges, KCCC or Nations).  Here is what we mean by these roles.

  • A Friend is someone who commits to help a particular ethnic context ministry on an occasional basis.  For example, a Friend of Epic may help to recruit students to go to an Epic conference.  A Friend of Bridges may invite some international students to dinner.  There is no formal reporting relationship, and service is voluntary.  As a Friend, staff and interns can receive periodic emails correspondence for encouraging updates and stories, as well as ways that they might help to serve.
  • An Ambassador is someone who expressly commits to plant and grow an ethnic context movement.  An Ambassador would receive training, resources, and on-going coaching from EFM in their endeavor to plant an ethnic movement.  They would report in light of their initial context, however they might attend an ethnic context conference, or be a part of an ethnic context summer project with the agreement of CFM, EFM and LD.

I have heard that there are over 7 million ethnic minority students in the US.  Sam Osterloh, Ethnic Field Ministry Executive Director says “the number of ethnic minority students is growing rapidly and it is no longer an issue of being prepared for 2023 (when more than 50% of all college students in the US will be ethnic minority), but rather, an issue of being a voice and witness to the vast numbers of ethnic minority students TODAY!

If you aren’t already, why not consider being either a Friend or an Ambassador for an ethnic context ministry.


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