Bi-Culturals Are The Future Leaders of The Church

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Chinese/Creole Restaurant in the Dominican Republic

I love this picture. It is a perfect description of the globalized world we are living in today. Chinese-Creole food, in the Dominican Republic. Cultures are colliding, mixing, and remixing all around the world. As a result people who can bridge between two or more cultures will only become more and more valuable.

Bi-Cultural people will be the future leaders of the church. Skye Jethani recently returned from a week in Spain working with multicultural missionary teams there. His diagnosis is that “third culture leaders are the future of the church“. I couldn’t agree more.

This summer on the the Destino Summer Project to the Dominican Republic was a perfect example. The Latino students we took with us were able to bridge between American and Latin cultures like it was second nature. They could go deep in their friendships much quicker than normal mission trips are able. It was a huge blessing to have so many bi-cultural ministers on the trip.

Here are some tips to help you effectively develop bi-culturals to reach their full potential as leaders:

  • Recognize being bi-cultural is a double-edged sword. Bi-culturals can feel like they fit in with two or more cultures. But they also can feel like they don’t fit into any of the cultures that are a part of them. There is a space they occupy between the cultures that leaves them doubly accepted and yet doubly rejected at the same time.
  • Be there to listen. Sometimes being bi-cultural comes with significant pains. Pains of rejection, of not fitting in, of feeling like there is no place they truly belong. Be a person who understands, who can listen, and who doesn’t sugarcoat the loneliness.
  • Help them find wholeness in their ethnic identity. God has given them a tremendous gift that can be missed if we force them to choose one of their cultures over the other. Help them walk through the journey of discovering how God has shaped their ethnic identity for a reason.
  • Pursue unique opportunities for them to use their giftings. What are places in ministry that they can serve to bridge the gospel to new places? I’m not talking about being a translator in a service or on a mission trip. Go deeper. If your movement or ministry has a lot of bi-culturals, maybe that needs to shape where you send people on mission trips. For us in Destino that is an integral part of why we chose our two international partnerships. We wanted our students to live out of their strengths in ways other single culture missionaries simply cannot.

Because the world is getting smaller and smaller every day bi-culturals will be some of the future leaders of Christianity. In fact, I don’t think they’re just the future of the church. I think they are the past as well. More on that soon.

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Posted on August 16, 2011

About destinoeric

A white guy who believes Latinos will change the world, Destinoeric served with Destino from 2008-2013. You can read more of his posts here or on twitter.

One Response to Bi-Culturals Are The Future Leaders of The Church

  1. Adrian says:

    Just recently started following this blog.  Great thoughts, and I love how you highlight the tension of being bicultural, which as you write has great strengths, but can be agonizing.  Can’t wait to hear more stories from Destino about this!