Reservation Ministry

Traditionally, the church has approached ministry in Native American communities with a paternalistic, “let me help the poor Indians,” tent revival approach. These methods have, by and large, had a very negative effect in our Native communities. The “turn or burn” approach, as exemplified through the brutality of the Residential/Boarding School system, has stripped us of our culture with empty promises from the church and government. Consequently, only 3-5% of our Native American people profess to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We believe that anyone who chooses to follow Jesus will need to make concessions in certain areas of their lives. However, it is not for a people who have NO IDEA about the heritage, culture, and ways of a tribal people to begin to dictate what we must give up. It is not for the “church” to develop a list of Do’s and Don’ts regarding ceremonies and cultures of which they know nothing.

While The Red Road is, unashamedly, followers of Jesus, we also realize that if we don’t live like Jesus lived, love like Jesus loved, and give like Jesus gave, then we have not earned the right to speak into the hearts of people. It is for this reason that most of the ministry we do in Native American reservations is under the radar. If Native people can’t see it in our lives, then they will never listen to it from our mouths.

One of the greatest compliments we receive in traditional communities is when someone, after having gotten to know us, will say, “You are a Christian? You don’t act like all of those other Christians that come to our reservation.” There has been much damage done to our Native communities in the name of Christianity. We recognize this obstacle and must overcome it with relationships, one at a time.