Ethnic church planting in New England presents both challenges and opportunities for advancing God's kingdom by reaching out to lost people from a variety of languages and cultures.
There are many great opportunities for us to share the Gospel among people from various ethnic groups. The immigrant's experience of living away from home and family often brings feelings of loneliness and emptiness which can be filled by the presence of Jesus and by the love of a church community, especially one that speaks the individual's heart language.
Many people groups in New England have been responsive to the message of the Gospel, and new churches are planted each year. The majority of our ethnic congregations are Hispanic, Brazilian and Haitian. Other churches include Korean, Filipino, Cambodian, Arabic, Bangla, Slavic, Greek, Quechua, Russian, Liberian, Nepali, Burmese, Vietnamese and Deaf.
The biggest challenge in ethnic church planting is the size of the task. People from around the world come to New England, especially Boston, for education, job opportunities or to escape political difficulties in their homelands. The sheer number of people groups is overwhelming, and the shortage of church planters who the diverse languages and cultures prevents us from planting more churches.
Other challenges come from the need for additional support. Most ethnic church planters are bi-vocational, due to the expense of living in New England. However, because many of them come to America on a religious visa, they are not allowed to get secular jobs until they get “green card” status, which can take years. We need more congregations who are willing to help ethnic church plants financially, as well as by sharing their existing space with new ethnic works.
As we face the challenges and consider the opportunities in ethnic church planting, we hope to:
Are you willing to partner with an ethnic church plant or help us reach more people groups in New England? Contact Joye Jackson for more information.