Eldership in Cultural Contexts

Ministry today takes place in a culturally complex world. Actually, this is not so new. In the Bible, we see that Jesus reached out with God’s love across the boundaries of language, age, culture and gender, to people with physical disabilities, to the poor and to the rich. As Disciples of Christ, we can learn a lot from the ways in which Jesus preached, taught, healed and broke bread with so many of God’s children.

To serve as spiritual leaders, elders need to be aware of the cultural forces that are alive in the community and in the church. Does the congregation identify mainly with a particular cultural group, or with a particular age or economic group within that culture? Are there some in the community who are more or less likely to be reached? Do you see ways in which God would stretch you as followers of Christ, in order to reach out to more people with God’s love?

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has resources to help congregations be more effective in a culturally complex and changing world:

Link2Lead: Each Disciples congregation can use the “Link2lead” service to gain knowledge about your community as seen in a brief statistical overview. Link2 lead will give you general information about how many people in your area are identified with a given cultural, economic or age group, plus lots more.

General Church Ministry Staff: The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada has called leaders who assist congregations with culturally specific ministries. These include

Anti-Racism Training: Through the Reconciliation Ministry, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) trains church leaders to recognize and to alter the destructive patterns of racism in church and society. Anti-Racism training is provided in cooperation with Regional Church ministries. Talk to your Regional Church office and check out Reconciliation Ministry.

Women in Leadership: Women have served for many years in a full range of leadership roles in our church. You can also learn what Disciples of Christ Women are doing in mission today.

Ministry with Youth and Children: Does your congregation minister intentionally and effectively with youth and children? Many of the youth and children in your church and community may be living in a different world than the one known by most adults. Does your church program include age appropriate groups and classes and intergenerational events for children and youth? Do the families with children in your church know about the camps and youth ministry events offered through your Regional Church Ministries? If not, get in touch with your Regional Church ministries to find out about these opportunities. Also available are resources on the Kids to Kids program that link Disciples of Christ youth and children to mission projects around the world.