1. Celebrate food! People will accept you if you love their food and eat it with enthusiasm. It’s amazing what a pot luck will turn into with food from several nations. It’s a lot more fun than just quiche and mini-sausages, I can promise you! And eating together breaks down all barriers.
2. Do not appoint leaders just because of their ethnicity or gender. Appoint the best leaders for the task.
3. Always be sensitive to any group that is a significant minority. It’s not easy being the odd man out. Show that sensitivity by listening to people. People from a new culture who come to the church are often gateway people who bring a number of people from the same culture, help them feel at home and disciple them. Awesome. If people are doing that job, make them part of your leadership team and encourage them to keep discipling.
4. (This is a controversial one) Never divide your small groups on the basis of ethnicity. People need to get to know – and trust – people from every culture. We are preparing people for heaven, which will be every tongue, every tribe and every nation. I know some church growth strategists disagree with this, but sometimes growing people is more important than growing numerically.
5. Have a couple of people you know and trust from the different cultures and run any big ideas through them. They may see things you haven’t seen, and they can advice you on the impact that decision would have on people who have been raised in a different culture from yourself.
6. Remember at the end of the day, there are no white people, black people, Asian people: there are just people. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and we are all made righteous freely through the redemption of Jesus Christ. Our similarities as Christians far, far, far outweigh our differences. We have the same faith, the same God, the same peace, the same Bible, the same struggles, the same temptations, the same Holy Spirit.