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Biblical reflection on cross-racial and cross-cultural ministry

The Bible is full of accounts where persons were called to go across the racial and cultural boundaries to do God’s work and fulfill God’s purposes.  However, in most of these accounts, one can see that cross-racial and cross-cultural ministry requires extreme obedience to do what God asks, the courage to be counter-cultural and willingness to be changed.   Through reflecting on the story from Acts 11:1-18, may the Holy Spirit empower you to step out in ministry in our diverse world.

**This study/reflection is provided to be used for personal or small group purposes. Read Acts 11:1-18 slowly and listen to what is happening in the story. Allow the story to take hold in your heart by reading the story over again.

  1. Why did the Jerusalem Church (“circumcised believers”) criticize Peter? What was the issue?
  2. Why did Peter refuse to eat the animals that came down from heaven in his vision? What would be the reasons Peter would refuse to go with men sent by Cornelius?
  3. What did Peter have to overcome to go and minister to Cornelius and his household?
  4. Why did Cornelius invite Peter? What are some reasons he would hesitate to invite Peter to his home?
  5. What happened when Peter came to Cornelius’ house?
  6. Describe the extreme obedience in the story and the outcome.
  7. Peter and Cornelius showed courage to be counter-cultural. Describe in what ways were they counter-cultural and why does it require courage to be counter-cultural.
  8. When Peter explained what happened, how did the church respond? How has the church changed compared to the beginning of the story?  What inspired this change?
  9. What do you take away from this story about ministry and how God works in our world?

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