Living into Transformed & Transforming: Increasing Cultural Competency
Live and love like Jesus. Radically follow Christ in mission together. That’s the RCA’s vision through Transformed & Transforming, a 15-year goal adopted in 2013.
As part of Transformed & Transforming, seven churches are working to increase their “cultural competency”—the level of welcome they offer for people of cultural and ethnic backgrounds different from the majority of the congregation.
These congregations have formed two new learning communities, one on the East Coast and one in the Midwest. The learning communities are about “helping people of various cultural groups find a home at the congregation’s table,” says Earl James, the RCA’s coordinator of congregational missional mosaic and advocacy. James is leading the learning communities as part of the Missional Mosaic initiative of Transformed & Transforming. He says that participants are learning how to manage personal and corporate bias, and they are working to increase cultural agility so their churches can achieve greater impact through outreach ministries.
Learning communities are one way the RCA supports churches as they seek to live out God’s call for their contexts. Leaders from several congregations work together on a topic of shared interest; no particular level of expertise or current ministry involvement is required for participation.
Over the course of a year, leaders from participating churches gather six times to learn, share ideas, and support each other. Together, they work out ways to increase missional impact and strengthen the welcome and sense of home they offer to their neighbors.
Missional Mosaic also helps congregations and individuals connect their ministry passions with advocacy to change legislation and systems that are oppressive. This month, a new learning community is drawing together congregations actively involved in disability ministry. They will explore together how to take the next step and add advocacy for people with disabilities to their current ministry involvement.
Other potential advocacy learning communities are in the works. They'll focus on children and education (offered in partnership with African American/Black Ministries), immigration and mass incarceration, and racial justice.
What your church can do now
New cultural competency and advocacy learning communities will begin in 2016. Learn more about what’s involved for participating churches by contacting Earl James: firstname.lastname@example.org.