Relaymedia

Ethnic Groups Account for Majority of Growth in US A/G

''Ethnic communities and districts are at the forefront of this transformation''
( [email protected] ) Sep 10, 2004 08:47 PM EDT

The Assemblies of God (A/G), the largest Pentecostal denomination in the U.S., released a report that showed the importance of reaching out to ethnic Americans. According to the report, accordingly named “Ethnic America,” Hispanic growth accounted for 51.5 percent of total growth in the U.S. A/G, and the number of Asian and Pacific Island churches grew by 50 percent since 2002.

"We're becoming more intentional and more resourceful," said Commissioner of Ethnicity in the A/G, Jesse Miranda. "Ethnic communities and districts are at the forefront of this transformation." Miranda says the best way for A/G ethnic churches and leaders to facilitate growth among ethnic minorities is to adopt methods similar to those of the foreign mission field.

"For instance, the indigenous principle -- allowing self-government, self-promoting and self-supporting," Miranda added. "That will empower ethnic ministries to move out and reach their own people like never before."

The June report took into account the numbers provided by the U.S. Census Bureau; in all of America, Hispanics have grown at nearly four times the national population rate in the last two years, making the group the largest minority in the nation. Asians also grew at an astounding rate, and now account for 27 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population.

According to Scot Temple, director of the Intercultural Ministries in the A/G, the inclusion of ethnic groups is crucial for the growth of the church.

"The chief goal is souls, not organizational structure," said Temple. "We must love people of all nations into our Fellowship."

Miranda agreed, saying that reaching out to ethnic groups is part of the master plan of the Lord.

"Ethnic people today are recent immigrants and native-born ethnics that have moved to the United States and become our neighbors," Miranda said. "We have to focus on the Grand Commandment which was, 'Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and love thy neighbor as thyself.'"