By Jarrett Meek, Ministry Apprentice
When Mission Adelante first began, we had a passion for making disciples and a love for people from all places. However, an ingrained “us/them” mentality that unconsciously envisioned a privileged us serving a needy them hindered our efforts. Though our desire was to love our neighbor, this mentality undermined the dignity of our community members and manifested itself in segregated leadership structures that were inaccessible to our immigrant community members. In recent years, we have made great strides in tearing down the “us/them” mindset and working toward a “new we” where everyone is valued as a contributor and people from all places serve as volunteers and leaders at every level of our organization. It has been a beautiful and challenging journey!
We recognize that fostering mutuality in multicultural ministry is a continual learning process and an essential part of the discipleship of every volunteer and staff member in our ministry, whether born in the U.S. or another country. The "new we" is counter-cultural. It requires addressing internal and personal biases that are often unconscious. It challenges us to set aside our judgment of others and their culture. And especially for native-born Americans, it requires an openness to being challenged on subtle attitudes and actions, even when our intention was to serve and love others.
Continuing to learn about the importance of interdependent relationships and mutuality in ministry is crucial. Mission Adelante wants to equip all our constituents with the appropriate tools to succeed in our multicultural community and help one another understand what it means to develop reciprocal relationships in a ministry context. To this end, we have invited author and speaker Karen Gonzalez to lead a seminar called Mutuality: deconstructing an “us serving them” mentality in ministry. Join us on August 17th from 9 to 11 am - let's learn together! Register for the event below.