Most of the books on my bookshelf are written by White American men. Not all, but most. Although most of the books on my shelf have benefited me as a conversation partner when it comes to the intersection of theology, mission, and culture, I am aware of the need for more diversity when it comes to the books I read. So over the last several years, I have started reading more books written by people of color, women, and to some extent, people who live outside of the United States.
I suspect most of us have the same issue. In fact, if we throw in podcasts, YouTube videos, and other forms of learning, the majority of the voices we give our attention to are White American men. There are many reasons for that, some of which are beyond our control, but point this out to say that we need to be more intentional in giving attention to more voices than just those of White American men.
For us serving in ministry in the United States, one of the voices we should give more attention to are those of our Canadian neighbors to the north. Whether we serve as church planters, pastors within an established church, or another sphere of Christian leadership, we can and should learn from Christian leaders living in Canada. My friends from Canada tell me that, in general, their nation as a society is about twenty years ahead of the United States in terms of where our western society as a whole is headed. So listening to some perspectives from our Canadian neighbors just might help those of us serving in America better anticipate the future that is coming.
Jeremy Hoover, a church planter in Sarnia, Ontario, and Jonathan Massimi, an Anglican pastor, have already contributed articles to this blog but there are other Canadian voices to hear. So beginning next week and the two weeks that follow, this blog is going to feature three different Canadian people serving in different capacities of Christian leadership. First, will be Stanley Helton, who serves as the president of Alberta Bible College. Besides years of ministry experience in both the United States and Canada, Stanley also writes to us from the perspective of a Christian educator. Next up will be Kevin Vance, a church planter in Regina, Saskatchewan. Kevin will share with us the challenges faced in church planting in a post-Christendom context where technology is ever-changing and some people within that society have suffered injustices. Lastly, will be Shu-Ling Lee, who writes to us a 2nd generation Canadian-born Chinese pastor serving with a church in the suburbs of Toronto, addresses the challenges presented by suburban ministry, pragmatism, and the need for diverse voices.
As always, if you believe that Mission Alive might be able to help you as you serve on mission with God in North America or would like to help support Mission Alive, we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this series of blog posts and share them with others.
Grace and Peace, Rex.
K. Rex Butts, D.Min, serves as the lead minister/pastor with the Newark Church of Christ in Newark, DE. He holds a Doctor of Ministry in Contextual Theology from Northern Seminary in Lisle, IL, and a Master of Divinity from Harding School of Theology in Memphis, TN. He is married to Laura and together they have three children.