The Native American sits next to the Congolese man to discuss the Pan-African/Swahili group. The Nigerian man greets the Anglo woman while the Myanmar-Burmese man speaks with the African American woman. The Rwandan and Eritean men take their seats and prepare to meet. This is not the opening of a United Nations session. This is the leadership team at my church in Buffalo N.Y. sitting down together to ask the questions that will guide and shape their ministries.
Many churches experience anxiety in these days as attendance declines, budgets tighten, and the younger generation heads for the exits. The church has faced anxious days before, and then, as now, responses among its people have varied, ranging from respiration and preservation to innovation and expansion. However, Jason E. Vickers, Ph.D., featured speaker at the Church Renewal Conference hosted by Northeastern Seminary in March, recommends that before we respond we must be theologically rooted in the holiness of God.