The afternoon sun cast a warm glow through the classroom windows as the five of us interacted around the table. Whenever there was a lag in the discussion I interjected some new thoughts and allowed the students time to respond. Their ability to think and process improved noticeably over the course of the semester. I was impressed by some of their insightful answers.

“What do you think about the necessity of a Native church, Anglo church, African American church, etc.? Is a multi-ethnic church possible or desirable, and if so, how?” I queried. One of the gentlemen in the class responded:

Whenever someone suggests a multi-ethnic church, they are coming at it from an Anglo viewpoint and they expect people from other ethnicities to come to their church. Why don’t you guys come to our church to make it multi-cultural? Why don’t we sing our songs, listen to our preachers, eat our food instead of us always having to adjust to yours?

Wow! Good question! How many churches have we visited that are overseen by people of other ethnicities? Why do we always expect them to come to ours?

I am grateful for the new insights I have gained this semester as a result of listening to the students interact with cultural and biblical questions and answers in the Christ and Culture class. I will miss that interaction when the class ends next week. Will you join me in praying that these students will continue to process the issues related to contextualization and will formulate biblical, Holy Spirit-directed answers?

May is the month for wrapping things up. Classes officially end Friday, May 10th. Final exams are May 14 and 15, a welcome reception for the new IBC Student Center is the 17th, with Student Ministry Showcase later on the same day; then an alumni breakfast, graduate luncheon and commencement all on Saturday, May 18th. We may be graduating the largest class to date with 6 bachelor’s graduates, in addition to a number of associate’s and one-year certificate graduates. Please pray that God will be glorified through all these activities.

Meanwhile, I am about to wrap up my thesis proposal class, which ends tomorrow, and start on the actual thesis Monday, May 6. I did decide to go with further study on lessons in contextualization from the Peyote Cult. Now the actual work begins! Please join me in praying for God’s direction, favor with people I need to interview, and wisdom in pursuing this topic.

One last prayer request is for God’s clear direction in a new academic dean for IBC. Our need is critical. We currently are interacting with a prospective dean who is visiting on campus to determine with us God’s will for him regarding this opportunity. A decision will be made within the next several days.

Thank you so much for your prayers and for your continued partnership with me financially as God directs.


Martha Gushee