By Send Network
Has God called you to serve in a culture that is unlike your own? Navigating multicultural church planting can feel overwhelming and isolating. Serving people with different backgrounds leaves you feeling as though you don’t measure up.
However, three key principles can help you manage expectations and grow closer to Christ while serving in a multicultural church.
- Realize you will not be able to meet all expectations – and that’s okay.
Just as you carry your own expectations of what it’s like to plant a multicultural church, the people you minister to will each have their own expectations of your church plant, your family and even of you.
Some cultures your church reaches might expect you and your husband to be a certain age or have certain life experiences. Different cultures might have different sets of expectations when it comes to you or your children’s involvement church. Some cultures may enjoy or expect many gatherings with lots of food.
It’s easy to internalize others’ expectations of you and your family and respond by wearing all the hats – especially when you love the people God has called you to serve. However, many times your life context won’t allow you to fulfill every expectation others put on you.
In those moments, seek God and ask Him what He has specifically called you and your family to do. Then, rest in His sovereign leading and become comfortable with leaving other expectations unmet. It may even be helpful to let your church members know that while you enjoy serving them, you also know what God has called you to do – and it’s not everything.
- Stay rooted in God’s Word
Daily Bible reading will strengthen your identity in Christ and will help you see others’ expectations in light of His love for you. You’ll also sense His direction more clearly as He shepherds you into the areas of ministry where He wants you to serve.
When you take the time to take care of your soul, your interactions with others will change and you’ll know when to say “no” to certain opportunities and when to go out of your way to serve someone in need.
God will use His Word to strengthen, encourage and remind you through hard seasons that He has shaped you for this moment and put you in the right place with the right people. He will work through you if you are obedient to Him – so make time each day to learn from and be comforted by His Word.
- Don’t do it alone.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking no one can understand your problems because you are immersed in a culture different than theirs. While it’s true that each church plant looks different, this doesn’t mean you are alone in the church planting journey.
Be intentional about reaching out to mentors and other church planting wives. As you share your stories with each other, you may find that the heart of the challenges you face is similar. These wise counselors may also be able to point out areas where you are internalizing expectations that are not from God or even putting unnecessary expectations on yourself.
Multicultural church planting is challenging, but God is with you each step of the way. He’s woven your life story together to serve in your unique context, so embrace the journey and trust in His plan for your life and ministry.
For more encouragement in multicultural church planting, listen to this podcast episode with church planting wife, Andreina Fasolino, as she shares what she’s learned about managing expectations in multicultural church planting.
Published March 3, 2023