Several Central leaders will head to Dallas this week for the CBF gathering. This is always a joyful time of reunion, making connections, and learning from ministry partners. We will be present in a number of venues, and our representatives are a beautiful expression of the diversity in the Body of Christ. An Asian man, a Latino, an African American man, and two Anglo American women will comprise Central’s delegation.
This is appropriate, for this is what our school is like, and this is what our nation is becoming. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans are more racially and ethnically diverse than in the past, and the U.S. is projected to be even more diverse in the coming decades. By 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority. The power dynamics will shift, which will improve a nation whose original sin is racism.
Interestingly, Asia has replaced Latin America, including Mexico, as the biggest source of new immigrants. This is reflected in Central’s student population, and the Korean Studies program is flourishing. We give thanks for these learners, and they inspire fervent prayer, missional action, and cultural transformation. Their zeal to build churches and proclaim the gospel is unparalleled. Many already hold graduate degrees, and they simply want to learn more about their faith as they express their ministry through their professions.
Dr. John Sungchang Park, Dr. Terrell Carter, and I will be leading a workshop on the challenges of leadership in our multicultural context. As the world has flattened, in the words of Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman, we are more connected than ever. Lightning swift advances in technology and communication put people all over the world in touch as never before. Intercultural exchange is always fraught with possible missteps, and respect and patience go a long way.
Notions of leadership vary from culture to culture. Some are very hierarchical, with absolute power held by the leader; others have a more democratic approach, where differing voices make a contribution. A leader is not weak for listening; all leaders need the insight of others to bear their responsibilities.
As President Trump and the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, meet tomorrow, I join many others in praying for humility and moderation on the part of both leaders. They will have to practice self-management, listening, and relentless resolve to serve their constituencies and the world. Our world is too dangerous for anything but the highest level of diplomacy.
Let us pray for leaders, as Scripture enjoins in 1 Timothy 2:2, for we can help shape the future through our intercession. When we are tempted to throw up our hands over the political scene, let’s remember that God has not abandoned us utterly to our own devices. Even now, God is calling new leadership from every nation to important tasks.
Molly T. Marshall
Central prepares leaders for diverse ministry contexts.