The picture above is a picture of your future…
IF the demographic trends in Minnesota continue on their current course… And IF you, as a leader in your congregation, truly desire that your congregation should include people from every race, and tribe, and tongue, as the Bible talks about… And IF you and the brothers and sisters in your congregation are intentional about reaching out to your surrounding community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that the people in your community can actually hear… Then YES, the above picture IS a picture of your future!
The ten men in the above photo recently came together at Bethel Lutheran Church in St. Paul to talk about and reflect on what was presented, taught, and learned at the Multi-Ethnic Symposium that took place on the campus of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis this past January. That symposium challenged the ten of us to think about the future of the Lutheran Church in the United States in general, and in Minnesota in particular. The world is coming to us! We no longer have to send missionaries “over there” in order to engage in meaningful cross-cultural mission. It can happen/should happen/needs to happen right HERE, and right now!
And when and where it does, the leaders of your mens’ group, or your Board of Elders, or your Board of Trustees, or the male mentors for your confirmation program, will look like this picture. Of the ten men in the photograph, five are Anglo, two are Hmong, and three are African. THAT ethnic mix IS what the future of our Minnesota South District looks like, IF, WHEN, and WHERE we share the person and work of Jesus Christ with the people who are moving into and taking up residence in our communities, in our neighborhoods, and even right next door.