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Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

The changing church in America

(May 20, 2001)

Stephen Tourville is director of Intercultural Ministries for Assemblies of God Home Missions. He recently talked with Scott Harrup, general editor, about the changing face of America.

Evangel: What were some of your early intercultural ministry experiences?

Tourville: I was raised to believe that racial prejudice was not consistent with biblical principles. My relationships with people of other ethnic groups were never strained. I’ve always had friends from different backgrounds. All through my pastoral experience we’ve had people of color as a comfortable part of our congregations.

Evangel: How are the demographics of the Assemblies of God changing?

Tourville: We have 410 Asian and Pacific Islander churches, 202 African-American churches, 1,838 Hispanic churches and 181 Native American churches. This growing number of non-white Assemblies of God constituents reflects the changes in the population at large. We are rapidly moving into a diversity that is unparalleled in history. More than 20 percent of the U.S. population is of a non-Anglo background. That figure is expected to surpass 50 percent by 2020. In many of our larger cities, that is already the case. According to the U.S. Census 2000, California is now more than 50 percent non-Anglo.

Evangel: Within the Fellowship, what are some responses to those changes?

Tourville: I meet many people with the attitude of 1 Chronicles 12:32, where the men of Issachar "understood the times" and knew what Israel needed to do. Our leadership realizes this is an opportunity that God is giving His people to reach out to people of a variety of backgrounds. It’s important that we as a Fellowship declare that racial differences are not to be our focus if we have a Christlike spirit.

Evangel: What services does your office offer to ethnic Assemblies of God entities?

Tourville: The purpose of Intercultural Ministries is to reach the culturally distinct groups of America through our outreaches, our home missionaries and our local churches. We seek to increase communication and bridge any gaps that may exist between various ethnic communities and our Fellowship. We offer regional conferences at the invitation of our districts. These communicate the need for diversity awareness, encourage pastors and churches to embrace minorities, and highlight the ministries of our missionaries.

Evangel: What steps do you take to identify with the groups to whom you minister?

Tourville: You’re never going to be effective in what you do if you try to be someone other than who you are. I accept who I am and I encourage everyone I deal with to do the same. As we recognize differences, we can become sensitive to each other. We must not stereotype people but see them as individuals.

Here’s an example. A deaf person may go to the altar for prayer. A stereotypical response assumes that person is praying for healing. But that person may have a need that has nothing to do with how well he or she can hear. It’s easy for us in our individualistic society to view others through our own lenses. We need to learn to see others through their own circumstances.

Evangel: From a theological viewpoint, why is it vital to reach out to all peoples?

Tourville: In Galatians 3:26-29, Paul emphasizes that there are no divisions in the body of Christ. We are all sons of God and Christ is our common denominator. In Revelation 5:9,10 people from every language and background are seen worshipping at the throne of God. We learn from 2 Peter 3:9 that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Reaching across cultural lines to communicate the reality of who Christ is must be our heart as believers if we are going to have the heart of Christ.

Evangel: Any other comments?

Tourville: Intercultural Ministries is a very diverse department. There are approximately 40 groups to which we minister. This includes outreaches to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Jewish, Middle-Eastern people, Samoan, Tongan, black, Chinese, Filipino, Hispanic, deaf, blind, people with disabilities, the inner city, Asian, Gypsies, Haitians and other ethnic groups. In addition, KidCare America, an after-school children’s ministry, is currently being launched nationally. There are more than 100 million people in America who can be impacted through our department.

Just as God promised Abraham that all the world would be blessed through his offspring, I believe all the world is being blessed through the spiritual heritage that has been America’s. The world is coming to America so that the church in America can reach out to them during these times of transition.

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