By Alicia Wong
Mom’s family lived in Hong Kong when they first heard about Jesus through a missionary named John. Although a Caucasian, he crossed cultural and socioeconomic barriers to share Christ with those who had never heard the gospel. After mom married and immigrated to the United States, she wanted her children to be raised in a church. She was a Christian married to a Buddhist, so my brother and I participated in both religions. I heard the good news through a small church that reached out to my family through their bus ministry. I accepted Christ at age nine. Although we do not know what happened to John, my family is forever grateful he came to a people who did not speak, eat, or look like him. John had no idea how God would use him to influence four generations of my family.
You can probably see our neighborhoods changing. You may have noticed people from different cultures and races shopping and walking in your neighborhood. One may see an African, Asian, Middle Eastern, European, or Hispanic family on the same block. Studies have indicated that by 2056 a majority race in the United States will not exist. That means we need to find ways to share Christ multiculturally in our own backyards. Local churches encourage us to share our faith cross-culturally, yet few have been trained for sharing with a culture different from our own. Today, let’s look at ministering to all women of all cultures from the perspective of the cross.
To reach women cross-culturally, I believe the starting point is the cross, a universal symbol for Christianity. R.C. Sproul explains, “The words crucial and crux both have their root in the Latin word for ‘cross,’ crux, and they have come into the English language with their current meanings because the concept of the cross is at the very center and core of biblical Christianity. In a very real sense, the cross crystallizes the essence of the ministry of Jesus.”
Jesus came to redeem and have a relationship with us. The only way was for Him to die on the cross. What Jesus did on that cross should radically change who we are and how we live. What does it mean to you that Christ died on that cross for you? Why do you need Jesus? Why did He have to die? What are you being saved from? Know what the cross means to you.
God desires that we know Him and make Him known—to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). He wants us to share the gospel in our neighborhoods and cities, then proceed to the ends of the earth. He ultimately desires the nations come to Him. Jesus commands us, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt. 28:19). Although we may not be called to serve across the world, He wants believers to have a heart for the nations. God is bringing the nations to the United States. Christians must witness cross-culturally to reach the nations for Christ.
If you want to share Christ cross-culturally, here are a few things for you and your leaders to consider on a personal level:
- Evaluate who you are in Christ.
- Understand your culture and how it defines you.
- Assess your cultural biases and assumptions.
- Consider your actions and reactions to other cultures and races.
- Compare and contrast what behaviors are culturally driven and which are biblically driven.
- Above all, filter everything through the lens of the cross and what Christ did for us.
How is your women’s ministry currently reaching and ministering to women of all cultures in your church and community?
This article is adapted from Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, compiled by Chris Adams.
Alicia Wong served as a missionary in Venezuela (1995-1997) and in East Asia (2002-2004). She was on the faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for five years prior to her current position at the North American Mission Board, Atlanta, Georgia, as a national Missionary focused on women’s evangelism.