Learning a Second Language

Alex Mandes – July 9, 2015 2 Comments

All People Blog

Here’s a joke that hits pretty close to home when talking about Americans and their linguistic abilities:

What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual.

What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual.

What do you call someone who speaks only one language? American.

Most high schools and colleges only require two years of a foreign language. Just because high schools and colleges lowered their standards does not mean we should follow suit. We have a another calling.

Let me give you 10 reasons why you should learn a second language, regardless of educational requirements:  Continue Reading…

Se Habla English

Alex Mandes – July 7, 2015 1 Comment

All People Blog

I received a rude awakening when my mother enrolled me in kindergarten at Saint Patrick’s. I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, but for the first five years of my life, I spoke mostly Spanish,

In that kindergarten class, I was reprimanded for speaking and told by my teacher that, “only donkeys speak Spanish.” I learned to speak English muy rapido!

However, I got the last laugh because when I entered college, I placed out of 17 hours of foreign language. Back then, students were required to learn a second language, but that stopped years ago at many schools.

Today, there is concern that immigrants are creating areas only speaking Spanish. I’m not sure where that “concern” comes from. It is clear that older immigrants have a difficult time learning English, but these older immigrants are adamant that their young charges learn English.  Continue Reading…

Let Us Stand for the Benediction

Alvin Sanders – June 30, 2015 4 Comments
All People Blog

Alvin Sanders (center, in blue) and Bill Hamel (center-right in grey) receive a prayer of blessing June 16 at EFCA One in Vista, Calif.

The word benediction comes from the Latin for, “to speak well of.” In a church setting, we say a benediction usually at the end of a worship service, blessing the congregation as they leave.

Last week at the EFCA One conference, I participated in my last workshop, “Discipling All People.” I played a small role, but all the training was done by my team. The fact that I only participated and didn’t do any teaching tells the story of just how far we have come in our EFCA All People Initiative.

Today is my final official day at the EFCA. As I wrap up my seven-year tenure at the national office, it is moments like the workshop that make me rejoice. I rejoice that in October 2007 I started in a part-time position and leave a team of six dedicated people. I rejoice that the room was full, a far cry from when I conducted my first workshop. And maybe my biggest celebration comes from the fact that we now stand at 22 percent of our churches classifying themselves at ethnic or multicultural, and 47 percent of surveyed EFCA churches desire to reach across ethnic lines. Continue Reading…

Failure is an Option

Alvin Sanders – June 27, 2015 Leave a comment

All People Blog

I read an article a few years back about a successful movie producer. I learned that many of the movies we see were first produced in another part of the world, like Europe or Asia.

The producer stated that if a movie plot he borrowed from another part of the world ended in failure (like the hero didn’t get the girl, or dies in the end, or the villain gets away with his or her evil scheme) he has the scriptwriters change the ending for American audiences. Why?

Because the producer has discovered that Americans typically will not pay to see a movie that doesn’t end happily-ever-after. The main characters cannot end in failure, in order for American audiences to embrace them. Often, I wonder how my American view, not embracing failure, affects my faith.  Continue Reading…

5 Biblical Themes on Material Wealth

Alvin Sanders – June 25, 2015 Leave a comment

All People Blog

Here are five biblical themes on material wealth, using Craig Blomberg’s book, Neither Poverty nor Riches, as a reference.

Spiritual and material matters are inseparable

Spiritual health and material stewardship are intertwined.

  • Giving reveals the heart (Acts 5:1-11)
  • Wealth operates as powerfully as a god in this world (Matt.6:24)

The Goodness of Wealth

Continue Reading…

All People Blog

The following is an invitation from Dave Clark, CCDA Operations and Program Director. After the horrific events at historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, we must come together as the Church of Jesus Christ. Read Clark’s email below and join other churches across the country.  Continue Reading…

Can You See It?

Alvin Sanders – June 18, 2015 Leave a comment

All People Blog

A huge component of leading with reconciliation in mind is casting and cascading vision. You need to paint a clear picture of what the future looks like. With that in mind, here is a re-blog from my colleague Tim Addington:

We all know that vision leaks – which is why many ministries that thought they had a common vision wake up one day and discover that it is no longer true. Almost every ministry leader has vision – and believes that everyone in his/her organization know that vision.

But ask around and in many cases what the leader thinks others know is not so. Or, they may tell you, it is the leader’s vision, not theirs. Shared vision is evident when everyone in the organization can tell you where the ministry is headed. Every ministry faces the question, “How do we sustain our vision for the long run?”

It starts with having a God sized and God given vision in the first place. People are not captivated by small dreams but God sized dreams. When we have a vision that is larger than us and which can only be accomplished through God’s power, and which significantly contributes to His purposes, it is a powerful thing.  Continue Reading…

Stay Out of Your Own Way

Alvin Sanders – June 16, 2015 1 Comment

All People Blog

One of my favorite books is a fantastic little work called, Leadership Prayers

In it, the author makes a profound statement:

Lord help us to agree on what is true about who we are and where we are, God, so that we may agree on where to go and the best way to get there. 

When it comes to multicultural ministry, self-awareness is huge. Though I spiritually matured over time, I essentially struggle with the same core issues that I did in 1991 when I first answered the call to ministry.

I am too confrontational. I speak my mind way too much. I am too blunt. I jump to conclusions. I make hasty decisions. I think I know much more than I actually do. I move too fast. And I have pretty much no patience.

A bull in a china shop

All of these things were on full display years ago during my first big meeting at the EFCA. I helped facilitate a two-day task force meeting. The task force had done wonderful work over the years in opening up the eyes of the EFCA to the reality of our diverse world.  Continue Reading…

Cops, Pool Parties and Bowling Alone

Alvin Sanders – June 11, 2015 1 Comment

All People Blog

When I see events like what happened recently in McKinney, Texas, it saddens me for a number of reasons. But one reason trumps them all: Both the event and the typical conversations afterward cheapen Christ’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves.

When I see people demonize the police, and others justify overzealous violent behavior, I see both sides of the debate sharing a common flaw. Both groups fail to see all involved as neighbors. It is the historical moment we live in.

In 2000, Harvard professor Robert Putnam wrote the book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Putnam made the case that Americans were no longer the energetic joiners of “do gooder” civic organizations like they used to be. Things like the PTA, the Shriners, and the church all have declining membership since about 1960.  Continue Reading…

Is Your Purpose Worth the Money?

Alvin Sanders – June 9, 2015 Leave a comment

All People Blog

18  And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich” (Luke 18:18-23, ESV).

It’s one of the most challenging texts in scripture. Did you know there are two legitimate ways to interpret it? The first is most common: The young ruler walked away sad because of his vast wealth and decided to keep it over following Jesus. He lacks the moral character to carry out the command.

However, I am starting to lean toward the second way, which sees the ruler walking away sad because he does have the character. He plans on following Jesus’ command to walk away from his wealth, but his sadness stems from knowing it will be difficult.

Think about it. What if you had to give up everything you own? If you are an American, regardless of income level, you live much better than most of the world. It would be the hardest thing you would ever do. Continue Reading…