Hidden Treasures: Celebrating Ministries to the Nations
A Manual for Organizing and Planning An Event in Your City
Introduced by Brian Corcoran, Managing Editor
The vitality of the church in Boston and New England is connected to vital expressions of the church around the world through hidden relational networks and ministries. Discovering and nurturing the development of these networks, ministries, and their leaders helps nurture the growth of the church broadly and locally. Although often unnoticed or undervalued, these leaders and their ministries are specially gifted and effective in reaching unreached people groups in Boston and back in their homelands. Their proximity and presence also provides the opportunity to develop and experience a more culturally diverse expression of the church that includes people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. Because of this, these leaders are a treasure in our city and in God’s Kingdom that need to be recognized and celebrated.
With this in mind, Intercultural Ministries of the Emmanuel Gospel Center equips churches and ministries to embrace their multicultural future and helps them navigate crosscultural challenges and opportunities. They network, train, and consult with churches and organizations that want to promote effective intercultural ministry. The Hidden Treasures event in August 2012 was designed to bring awareness to effective diaspora ministries in New England; build and strengthen intercultural ministry relationships that honor God and provide greater capacity for doing collaborative Kingdom work; identify potential partners, volunteers, and interns for their respective ministries; and raise funds for the participating partners/beneficiaries.
Rev. Dr. Gregg Detwiler, Director of Intercultural Ministries, and Dr. Bianca Duemling, Assistant Director, created this manual to tell the story of the event, share what was learned, and provide a practical guide to encourage, inspire, and inform churches how to do the same.
1. Jeb Shaker (l.) with Paul Biswas (r.), 2. PoSan Ung, and 3. Torli Krua. (Rod Harris photos.)
- Context for Hidden Treasures of the Kingdom Uncovered
- The Hidden Treasures Event – a Pilot Project
- Building an Intercultural Ministry Team – Reflection on Hidden Treasures’ Team Development
- Practical Steps for Organizing a Hidden Treasures Event
This Hidden Treasures Manual is a tool for churches interested in working with diaspora* leaders and connecting them to the wider body of Christ in their region. It aims to help you develop and organize an event in order to raise awareness for and celebrate what God is doing among diaspora populations in your neighborhood. Such an event provides a great opportunity for you to connect and build partnerships as well as to explore mission and outreach opportunities.
The idea for this manual emerged after the event “Hidden Treasures of the Kingdom Uncovered – Celebrating Ministries to the Nations in our New England Neighborhoods” took place on August 25, 2012, in Greater Boston. Intercultural Ministries of EGC was asked by other ministry leaders to coach them in developing a similar event in their cities.
Following this introduction in Section 1, the manual’s four main parts are these: Section 2 describes the context of the event, followed by a glimpse of our experience of the actual event in Section 3. As building a functional team is critical to Hidden Treasures, in Section 4 we use our experience of Hidden Treasures to reflect on aspects of building an intercultural ministry team. And in Section 5, we offer practical steps for people whose intent is to organize a similar event. We end with a brief conclusion in Section 6.
We hope our reflection and experience inspire and assist you and other churches and ministries to initiate similar events.
*The Greek word diaspora is found throughout the New Testament and is used to describe scattered or displaced people. We use the term to describe any first-generation people who have left their original homeland either by force or by choice. As such, it is an umbrella term referring to refugees, immigrants, and internationals. The term is increasingly being used in sociological and popular literature, for example, the African diaspora, the Asian diaspora, etc.
2: Context for Hidden Treasures of the Kingdom
The face of the United States of America is changing and diversifying. Although it is diversifying religiously, the majority of immigrants are Christians.* Through immigration and globalization, God has brought wonderful diaspora leaders/ministries to our country. These leaders have effective ministries and are passionate to reach their cities and the nations for Christ. The tremendous asset of diaspora leaders is having direct access and trust to minister to their own ethnic group, some of whom belong to “unreached” people groups. Because of a shared immigration experience, it is easier for these diaspora leaders to build relationships and trust with members of other ethnic groups than Euro-American Christians would be able to.
There is much potential in these ministries; however, many are under-resourced and isolated. Due to sociological marginalization, as well as cultural and language barriers, they find it difficult to present their ministries to other potential partners (churches, organizations and individuals). These diaspora leaders and their ministries are like “Hidden Treasures” among us. As they are such a spiritual enrichment and resource to New England as well as other regions in the U.S., Intercultural Ministries of EGC seeks to uncover these treasures and connect them to the wider body of Christ. Emerging from this desire, the idea of the 2012 Hidden Treasures event was born. Its goal was to celebrate these leaders and their ministries by being an advocate and creating space for relationship building, partnership development, and fundraising.
Our goals for this event were to:
- Bring awareness to effective diaspora ministries in New England,
- Build and strengthen intercultural ministry relationships that honor God and provide greater capacity for doing collaborative Kingdom work,
- Identify potential partners, volunteers, interns for their respective ministries, and
- Raise funds for the participating partners/beneficiaries.
*R. Stephen Warner, “Coming to America – Immigrants and the faith they bring,” Christian Century, February 10, 2004, 20.
3: The Hidden Treasures Event – a Pilot Project
On August 25, 2012, 160 guests came together at North Shore Assembly of God Church to celebrate ministries to the nations in New England.
As the focus of the evening was the diaspora leaders and their ministries, we will introduce them before we describe the development of the evening.
Young Africa/Universal Human Rights International. Rev. Torli Krua is a Christian leader who came to the U.S. as a refugee from his war-torn country of Liberia. Torli has started a small African congregation the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston and serves the wider African community in many ways, including advocating for an urban community vegetable garden for the poor to grow produce as a means of basic sustenance. Moreover, he is involved in initiatives of service and advocacy of justice for African refugees. Torli also serves as a catalyst for Christian community development in his home country of Liberia.
South Asian Ministries of New England. Pastor Paul Biswas comes from a Hindu background in Bangladesh. After becoming a Christian he was involved on many levels of national leadership in the Church in Bangladesh. Since coming to the Boston area, Pastor Paul has started several Bengali and South Asian house churches in New England to reach out to South Asian Muslims and Hindus. Moreover, Pastor Paul’s vision and passion is to equip and partner with other churches in reaching out to their South Asian neighbors.
Living Fields: Cambodian Ministries International. Pastor PoSan Ung is a survivor of the Killing Fields of Cambodia. He planted a church among the Cambodian population in Lynn, MA. He also serves as the director of Cambodian Ministries International at EGC. In this role, Pastor PoSan is serving the Cambodian Christian community across New England in leadership and ministry development. Moreover, Pastor PoSan is a valuable resource to the existing Church in New England in reaching out to Buddhist peoples. Pastor PoSan is also involved in Christian leadership development in Cambodia.
Compassion Immigration Ministry. Marlane Codair, a certified paralegal with years of experience in serving the immigrant/refugee community in Greater Boston, founded a church-based and government-certified Compassion Immigration Ministry. She serves immigrants and refugees in the Greater Boston area with competent legal counsel to assist with immigration-related issues and practical assistance such as English classes. Marlane’s work benefits not only her local church and community, but especially it serves the wider Christian community in practical ways to serve diaspora people in our region.
Next, we will describe the flow of the Hidden Treasures event itself.
We opened our doors at 5:00 p.m. The first part of the evening was an informal time of mingling where people could visit the ministry displays. Each of the featured ministries had a ministry display, representing their work and sharing their needs and collaboration opportunities. During this arrival time, guests also had the opportunity to participate in the silent auction.* The guests could bid on a variety of items, many of which (such as scarves and purses) were handmade in the home country of the diaspora leaders. Ministry T-shirts, flags, and jewelry also were available.
Around 5:30 pm we officially welcomed everyone and opened the buffet with a prayer by a representative of the host church. The buffet was amazing as people brought traditional food from their home countries.
Around 6:15 pm we started with the main program. Rev. Dr. Gregg Detwiler (director of Intercultural Ministries) gave an introduction into the theological context of diaspora ministries. He emphasized that all throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, God always used the movement of people over the face of the earth as one of the major means to express and advance His Kingdom. In fact, there is a whole theology of diaspora movement from Abraham to the Old Testament exiles to the scattered saints in Acts to John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos.
God has always used the movement of people for the purposes of His Kingdom, a reality which can be also seen today in New England. Emmanuel Gospel Center refers to the growth of churches from different ethnic backgrounds over the last four decades as the “Quiet Revival.” We call it “quiet” because a lot of people did not know it was happening but, in fact, hundreds of churches were started during this time period.**
After this brief introduction, it was time for our “Hidden Treasures” to share about their calling and ministry. We asked each diaspora leader to bring a group of people affiliated with their ministries to perform a piece of music or dance in between the presentations. After that, a person connected to the specific ministry introduced the leader, shared what he or she appreciated about the leader, and encouraged the audience to be generous in their giving. Each of the leaders shared seven minutes about their ministries.
After all the presentations were finished, Gregg Detwiler emphasized the importance of their ministries in advancing the Kingdom of God in New England and invited people to give generously. The envelopes and response cards were distributed to each table and then collected and placed in a sealed envelope (which was taken to EGC, which was handling the finances for the evening.) The program ended with some worship songs led by a worship team from the host church.
Subsequent to the program, there was a dessert buffet with time given for the guests to visit the ministry and silent auction tables again.
In summary, it was a wonderful evening of fellowship and celebration. It was great to learn about what God is already doing among the diaspora people and give him praise for that. We raised about $6,000 in total (which was divided evenly among the four featured ministry partners), and many connections across cultural lines were made. There was much ethnic and generational diversity. Moreover, around 25 different ministries and churches and 15 different denominations were represented.
*Silent auctions are auctions held without an auctioneer. The items are placed on a table with a description and a starting bid. People place their bids on sheets of paper instead. People either can bid with their names or with numbers they receive at the registration.
**For a discussion of what is meant by the Quiet Revival, see this blog.
4: Building an Intercultural Ministry Team – Reflection on Hidden Treasures’ Team Development
In this section, we will describe the composition of our 2012 Hidden Treasures Team, as well as reflect on the process of building an intercultural ministries team that is capable of doing a project like Hidden Treasures.
We use the term “intercultural” rather than “multicultural” because we feel it better conveys the values of mutuality, interrelatedness, and interdependence.
Our 2012 Hidden Treasures core team was comprised of seven members. By nature of the project, our team was inherently diverse, comprised of:
- A 60-year old Liberian male
- A 40-year old Cambodian male
- A 55-year old white female
- A 58-year old Bangladeshi male
- A 34-year old German female
- A 52-year old white male
- A 28-year old white female.
Team members were also diverse in variety of other ways, including diversity in ministry roles and in their relationship to diaspora people.
Three are ordained pastors, serving diaspora populations; one is ordained but not pastoring; five are leading organizations/programs they founded, all serving diaspora populations; and one is a student on a culturally diverse urban campus.
Two came to the U.S. as refugees, one as an immigrant, one as an international Christian worker.
Four were born in countries outside of the U.S., three in the U.S.
Next, we will explore important aspects of building a healthy intercultural ministry team, including a description of how we built our team. Bruce Tuckman’s classic “developmental sequence of small groups” is a helpful framework to describe the process. Tuckman describes five stages of developing a team: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Forming is when a new group convenes and is oriented toward achieving a particular task. Storming is the next stage and often involves intragroup conflict and resistance to group influence and task requirements. Norming occurs when in-group openness, cohesiveness and alignment develop, as well as the adoption of new standards and roles. Performing is the stage when group alignment and energy is channeled into creativity and constructive action. Adjourning is the final stage in the life cycle of a team when, due to the completion of a task or changes within the team, the team adjourns. In this final stage the main activity is self-reflection and group reflection.
Initially, Tuckman described four stages but in a subsequent 1977 article, Tuckman added a fifth termination stage, adjourning. The diagrams in this manual only reflect the first four. And while Tuckman first described these stages in a linear static manner, he subsequent began to envision these stages in a more dynamic cyclical manner. In our view, this cyclical version seems more consistent to the way things actually work in real life group development, and can be diagrammed in the following manner.
In this version of the model, the stages are not linear and relating to a point of time but cyclical and continuous. Members of the group continually seek to maintain a balance between accomplishing tasks and building interpersonal relationships in the group. We have found this balance to be a critical point to keep in mind: the process of building healthy relationships and a healthy team is equally important to the task, especially in intercultural teams.
Recognizing the all-pervasive ingredient of cultural diversity in team development may be demonstrated by adding a cultural backdrop (pink shaded area) to the model as follows:
This slight variation of the model illustrates how cultural diversity overlays the entire process of intercultural team development with cultural influences that add complexity to each of the elements of normal team development. Keeping these cultural influences in mind is critical in developing healthy intercultural teams.
To better understand how cultural differences affect team chemistry and functioning, consider a model of cultural orientation developed by Douglas and Judy Hall, called Primary and Secondary Culture Theory. Note the differences between the two cultural orientations.
|Primary Culture||Secondary Culture|
|1. Relational need-satisfaction||1. Economic need-satisfaction|
|2. Extended family systems||2. Nuclear or adaptive families|
|3. Oral communication||3. Written communication|
|4. Informal learning||4. Formal learning|
|5. Spiritual explanations of reality||5. Scientific, objective, cognitive
explanations of reality
In culturally diverse teams it is likely that each team member will be predominantly one or the other of these cultural orientations. For most of us, this will be determined by the dominant cultural orientation in which we were raised. Simplistically speaking, most first generation diaspora people identify as primary culture people while most middle- and upper-class Western-born people identify as secondary culture people. For intercultural ministry teams operating in the U.S., it is important to have team members from both of these cultural orientations, as each bring different strengths and weaknesses. (For more, see Doug Hall, Judy Hall, and Steve Daman, The Cat and the Toaster: Living System Ministry in a Technological Age, Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2010, p. 21.)
As we consider the contrasts noted in the table above, it is important to reflect on how people from each of these cultural orientations function and get their work done. Primary culture people rely more on oral communication than written communication and learn more through modeling than formal classroom settings. Secondary culture people tend to be the exact opposite. In primary culture, work gets done by relying heavily on relationships while in secondary culture work gets done by hiring people to do it. Understanding these cultural differences is part of the process of gaining the cultural competence necessary to creating healthy intercultural teams.
Note: Cultural Competence is a term that first appeared in human services literature in 1982 and has increasingly been used in fields of health care and, more recently, business. Cultural competence requires that organizations have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally. This includes having the capacity to (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge and (5) adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities they serve. It also means incorporating the above in all aspects of policy making, administration, practice, and service delivery, and systematically involve consumers, key stakeholders and communities. Adapted from: Terry Cross, Barbara Bazron, Karl Dennis, & Mareasa Issacs, Towards A Culturally Competent System of Care, Vol. 1 (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center, 1989).
Having understood the cultural realities described above, it is not difficult to imagine the challenges and benefits associated with having a team comprised of people from both cultural orientations. In fact, it is precisely this reality—along with the challenges and benefits—that calls for an innovation like our Hidden Treasures project. Because we live in a rapidly changing and globalized world where primary and secondary culture people are increasingly intermingling, we must learn how to do ministry together in this new reality. And this learning must happen in multiple directions. Primary culture people must learn now to navigate in a dominant secondary culture, and secondary culture people must see and learn how to relate to primary culture people. Where these two cultures meet is a tremendous leverage point for Kingdom transformation, partnership, and growth, IF we learn how to build healthy intercultural teams and partnerships.
Tuckman’s stages of group development
Let’s now turn to describing and reflecting on the process we used in creating a functional intercultural ministry team to envision and implement our Hidden Treasures project, along with considerations for others who would like to create Hidden Treasures teams in their own communities. We will use Tuckman’s stages of group development to reflect on our process.
See Tuckman, Bruce W., 1965, “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups” Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384-399. This article was reprinted in Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal – Number 3, Spring 2001.
See also Bales, R. F., 1965, “The Equilibrium Problem in Small Groups” in A. P. Hare, E. F. Borgatta and R. F. Bales (eds.) Small Groups: Studies in Social Interaction, Knopf.
Forming. As noted above, our Hidden Treasures team was diverse by design, comprised of leaders from both primary and secondary cultural systems. Intercultural Ministries (IM) of Emmanuel Gospel Center was the initiator of the project and convened a group of diverse leaders to envision, plan, and implement the project. IM selected team members from a large pool of trusted diaspora leaders we have worked with in recent years. Each of the leaders selected has a proven and effective ministry, but also is under-resourced due to social and cultural separation within the wider body of Christ.
An important consideration for other ministry organizations that might wish to conduct a Hidden Treasures event is to take the time necessary to develop trusting relationships with all of the prospective Hidden Treasures partners. We have found that storytelling is an effective entry point for building this trust. Ideally, as in the case of our event in Boston, partners should be selected from known and trusted leaders.
Storytelling involves team members sharing portions of their life and ministry journey. Storytelling gives opportunity for team members to become vulnerable with one another and is a means for building a foundation for doing ministry together. Equally important to the actual storytelling is the skill of active listening from other team members. (Read more about the renewed interest in the role of storytelling within the Church by searching articles at Christianity Today magazine here.)
Storming. Storming is a normal and necessary part of team development. In team development among culturally diverse teams, storming is inevitable. Storming may result for any number of reasons: interpersonal conflicts, vision alignment, wrestling over defining roles on the team, and cultural misunderstandings. Teams must be prepared for and expect these types of storms.
On the other hand, it is important to note that these storms need not turn into a destructive hurricane! In the case of our Boston Hidden Treasures team, many of these storms were largely avoided because our team already knew one another and had a high degree of trust. Moreover, our team was comprised of leaders with a high degree of cultural competence skills and experience. The most significant storming we had was in the area of role expectations—helping team members to find roles according to their unique strengths—but even this was minimal.
Norming. Because of the aforementioned assets, the Boston Hidden Treasures team was able to come to vision alignment early in the process. The strengths of individual team members were harnessed and employed for the project. Roles were assigned with an awareness of each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, with a good blend of both primary and secondary cultural gifts. In our event, it was easy to see the strength of primary relationships among the diaspora leaders in that they were the most effective at recruiting people from their relational networks to participate.
Performing. When the norming process is done effectively, high performance in accomplishing the mission is a joyous fruit. Such was the case with the Boston Hidden Treasure event. This is not to say there were no glitches in the performance and execution of the event. There certainly were glitches, but they were minimal, mainly to do with “time” issues in the program, such as starting a bit late and underestimating the time it would take to serve food, etc. We sought to mitigate the potential time orientation conflict that is common among primary culture people (event-orientation) and secondary cultural people (clock-orientation) by asking all of our teammates—primary and secondary—to arrive to the event early and to plan each portion of the program with time limits in the forefront of our minds.
Adjourning. Adjourning is a part of every group’s life cycle, but it is important that as a group prepares to adjourn there is a season of reflection on both the past experience and future endeavors. Evaluation and reflection should not be viewed as a nice optional activity, but rather as a core value. In the case of the Boston Hidden Treasures team, we reflected on the event, our process as a team, and future considerations. Although our team adjourned, our team members continue to work with one another in myriad ways. In this manner, the Hidden Treasures process was a catalyst for building greater networks and capacity for working together. Moreover, team members are hopeful to see Hidden Treasure events multiplied in other cities and are committed to do what we can to see that occur.
The Importance of a Safe Learning Environment
One final point we would add about building an intercultural ministry team is the importance of a safe learning environment. Every healthy team – especially healthy intercultural teams – must nurture a safe learning environment to navigate the various stages of team development, to nurture strong relationships and to perform at a high level.
In order to move beyond superficial, polite relationships and to create a basis for hard questions, a safe learning environment is essential. Such a safe environment does not just happen, but needs to be created intentionally, which is not an easy undertaking. All our practical attempts need to be accompanied by prayer and the invitation of the Holy Spirit into the process.
Some of the practices and characteristics that help to create a safe learning environment are confidentiality, being a good listener, not judging one another but considering the best in one another, and being committed to one another’s growth. Moreover, it is important to not look down on those who confess their sins, temptations, or weaknesses. Focusing on our own issues rather than on others' is as important as avoiding ‘cross-talk’, which is being too quick to give unsolicited advice to others or trying to fix the other person.
On the other hand, being in a safe environment does not necessarily mean that we feel at ease and emotionally light. Therefore, it is good to know that a safe environment is not a pain-free environment, as growth is often painful. Additionally, it is not only about ‘me’ feeling safe, but also about helping ‘others’ to feel safe. It is not a place for expressing raw emotions without considering the effect this sharing will have on others. A truly safe environment welcomes different perspectives so it does not require a uniformity of opinion.
It is easy to describe what a safe environment is and what it is not, but how can we actually create a safe environment? The following diagram describes The Process of Creating & Reproducing a Safe Environment.
The original process diagram and article about ‘Developing Safe Environments for Learning and Transformation’ can be found in the Emmanuel Research Review, Issue No. 80 — July 2012, reprinted here.
The starting point for creating a safe environment is (1) willingness. It needs a community or organization that desires to create a safe environment. The next step is (2) skilled leadership to guide and nurture a safe environment. After that, (3) a group learning process has to take place to agree on and define qualities of a safe environment. A safe environment is not created once and will be there forever. It is very fragile and requires (4) skilled leadership that will model and maintain a safe environment. Moreover, a regular (5) reality check to assess the status quo is important. A community or organization can only progress if there is the willingness to be honest about where they are in the journey. This leads to the next step, (6) the continued practice through ‘action-reflection’ learning, and finally the hope is (7) reproduction, where members of the community or organization reproduce safe environments in their spheres of influence.
Building intercultural ministry teams that have the capacity to create and produce events such as Hidden Treasures is a critical need in our changing multicultural world. Healthy intercultural teams can serve as model for fostering intercultural ministry partnerships. Following the pattern described above can serve as a guide for developing such teams.
5: Practical Steps for Organizing a Hidden Treasures Event
Every event requires a lot of details to remember in order to have a smoothly run event. Before going into details, we want to emphasis that there is not one perfect way to organize such an event. A lot of flexibility is needed, especially in the context of intercultural events. There are different cultural approaches to items such as RSVPing or coordinating the food, but experience shows that everything comes together at the end, especially if there is strong relational basis.
Team. Before thinking about logistical details, the planning team needs to be formed and a host church or organization needs to be found. The planning team ideally consists of a project coordinator and assistant who lead the planning team, convene the meetings and connect the dots; the diaspora ministries leaders (no more than three per evening, ideally from three distinct people groups) who are the primary beneficiaries of the event; and a contact person from the host church who coordinates the logistics and communication with the host church. The diaspora leaders need to be selected carefully. In the case of the Hidden Treasures in Greater Boston, we chose the diaspora leaders with whom we had had had relationships for many years and knew that they were actively looking for more partnerships in the region. Besides following existing relationships, there are many creative ways to select the partners, such as selecting leaders from a specific geographical region or by a specific people they are serving or by a particular ministry such as serving the second generation or families.
As mentioned in the previous section, building a functional intercultural team is essential even though it requires more time investment. It is important that all team members own the event and have the same vision. Any sort of competition can be counterproductive for such an event. Besides the planning team, a team of volunteers to help during the event is also needed.
Each of the planning team members needs to take on one or more of the following areas of responsibility.
Host Church. It is critical to find a good host church that not only provides space, but also is a partner that is genuinely interested in diaspora ministry and willing to affirm leaders of different ethnic background within its own congregation. Ideally, a host church should take this project on as part of the expression of its vision, thus becoming a stakeholder and not just a provider of space.
The requirements for the host church would comprise following aspects:
- To have one or two members of the congregation to serve on the planning team.
- To raise up a diverse group of volunteers from the congregation to help in the event itself.
- To donate the space for the event.
- To help administer the logistics for the event.
- To consider giving a donation toward the fundraising aspect of the event.
- To promote the event among their folks to participate.
Depending on the relationships between the planning team and the host church, as well as its capacity, it might not be realistic that all these requirements are fulfilled.
Budget. One of the goals of the Hidden Treasures event is to raise support for the diaspora leaders and their ministry. Therefore, the expense should be kept as low as possible. For that reason we decided, for example, to have a potluck dinner.
Ideally, a sponsor can be found before the event to cover the expense of the event. The budget varies depending on the setting, the amount of in-kind donations, and how many people are expected. Our expenses added up to $425 with approximately 160 attendees including children.
There are two big areas of expense. First was the invitation, including printing flyers, reply cards, postage, envelopes and labels. The second area is the expenses related to the event itself, such as paper plates, cups, plastic ware, tablecloths, napkins, table or room decoration, tea, coffee and cold drinks. Moreover, it includes the printing of donation response cards and envelopes.
We had several volunteers who donated their professional skills, designing the invitation flyers and taking photographs.
Fundraising Aspects. As indicated above, one of the goals of the Hidden Treasures event is to raise support for the diaspora leaders and their ministries. In order to do it well, one non-profit organization or church needs to handle the finances. In some cases, such an organization will take administrative fees for the processing and bookkeeping. These costs need to be added to the expenses.
In order to raise funds, we had different strategies. First, we asked people for matching grants and sponsorships. Second, in the invitation we encouraged people to donate even if they were not able to come. Third, after the ministry presentations, we provided donation cards (to collect contact information) and asked people to contribute right then, in any amount they chose. We accepted cash, checks (made payable to the sponsoring organization) and credit cards. Each donor put his or her donation and donation card into an envelope that we provided and then sealed the envelope. Then these sealed envelopes were collected and put into a large manila envelope that was sealed and taken to the sponsoring organization for processing and receipting. And fourth, we had the silent auction. Winners were announced at the end of the evening, and each winner put his or her payment and response card into an envelope and sealed the envelope. The sealed envelopes with auction payments were put into a large manila envelope that was sealed and taken to the sponsoring organization.
After all expenses are deducted, the funds that were raised through donations to the freewill offering were divided equally among the ministries of the diaspora leaders.
For the silent auction, each ministry received the total of the winning bids for the items that ministry contributed.
Invitation/Marketing/Distribution. The major task before the event is mobilizing people to come to the event. Everyone on the planning team needs to use their contacts and relationships and intentionally invite people to the event. In order to invite people, flyers need to be designed and printed. Although it is more expensive and time intensive, it is important to send individualized invitation letters (including a response card and return envelope) to selected individuals or churches. Additionally, the event should be advertised through social media and email invitation to general mailing lists.
It is also helpful to create a website with further information about the diaspora ministries, an online donation option, as well as directions to the venue.
Evening Coordination. The evening coordination consists of three main parts: logistics, food/kitchen, and program. Ideally one person of the planning team is the champion for one of these areas and has a group of volunteers to assist.
Logistics. The logistics comprise setting up tables and chairs as well as decoration, making sure that all materials for the evening (such as donation cards, envelopes and program hand-outs) are produced and distributed, nametags are purchased, and so on.
Food/Kitchen. In case of a potluck dinner, all participants mobilize their networks and churches to contribute to the buffet. The food/kitchen team receives the food and makes sure things are kept warm or prepared adequately. Besides coordinating the food, this team needs to make sure there are enough plates, cups, silverware and napkins. They also need to prepare the cold and hot drinks and are responsible for cleaning up.
Program. Before the evening program starts, the program leader makes sure the welcome committee is instructed (although we asked people to RSVP, we chose not to have a registration list or preprinted name tags at the entrance), the sound/music equipment is set up, and all the people involved know the flow of the program and when they perform. Ideally, the program leader is also the MC throughout the program. See section two for the program flow.
Evaluation of the Event. As mentioned in section three, the final part of a team process related to a time-restricted project is adjourning well. Evaluation is a key element in such a process. A great method to evaluate a Hidden Treasures event is using the six thinking hats developed by Edward de Bono (de Bono, Edward, Six Thinking Hats, New York, Back Bay Books 2nd edition, 1999.) It basically helps to reflect on the event from different perspectives. Each hat has a different color and aspect to look at, as listed below. You certainly can expand the questions of each hat.
White Hat: “The facts, just the facts” - What were the basic facts about the event/ministry?
Yellow Hat: “Brightness & Optimism” - What were some of the most fruitful and positive things observed in the event/ministry?
Red Hat: “Express your emotions” - What “feelings” did you experience or observe?
Black Hat: “Critical thinking; Hard Experiences” - What were some of the distracting or disappointing or least fruitful aspects of this event/ministry? Were there elements that were missing that could have been helpful? Were there any things that felt particularly unproductive or even counterproductive? Where did we miss the mark?
Green Hat: “New Ideas, new possibilities” - What new concepts or new perceptions emerged in or through this event/ministry? What implications might these new understandings have on future ministry?
Blue Hat: “Next Steps” - What do you feel might be some “next steps” we need to move this process forward in a positive growing direction?
Overall, the Hidden Treasures event on August 25, 2012, was a wonderful time of fellowship and celebration with a diverse representative of the body of Christ. The evening was a tremendous blessing for the diaspora leaders as well as the participants. The greatest challenge we faced was not being able to effectively secure representative of Euro-American churches or ministries to build partnerships between majority and minority culture.
The evening clearly reminded us how rich the body of Christ in our region is, but also the challenges of being better connected with one another and how little we use the resources God has sent to New England via all the diaspora leaders. It is challenging for diaspora leaders to gain access in the Euro-American church context due to social and economic disparities as well as the mere lack of relationships. Therefore, being an advocate, bridge-builder, and agent for reconciliation between majority and minority culture is one of the main missions of Intercultural Ministries of Emmanuel Gospel Center.
We hope that you will join us in this mission!