by Mark DeYmaz, Mosiax Conference at Exponential East, 4/25/17.
Donald McGavran suggested that the healthy church was heterogeneous, but with homogeneous cells (or sub congregations). But the homogeneous unit principle (HUP) which is defined that people “like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic or class barriers,” gave the majority church in America a theological rationale to create churches monocultural churches. Donald McGavran didn’t support this and even warned that focusing on one culture can make the church racist.
(On his website, Mark continues)
What may surprise you, however, is what Donald McGavran himself had to say about the HUP: “It is primarily a missionary and an evangelistic principle.” And in an apparently prophetic admonition, McGavran also warned that with any misunderstanding or application of the HUP, “there is a danger that congregations…become exclusive, arrogant, and racist. That danger must be resolutely combated.” Such quotes from within the context of his life and ministry clearly reveal McGavran’s understanding of the HUP: what it is and what it is not. More importantly, McGavran’s words reveal his expectation that a healthy local church will reflect God’s heart for all people in ways that go beyond mere mission statements and the race and class distinctions of this world that so often and otherwise divide.
In my new highly innovative eBook, Should Pastors Accept or Reject the Homogeneous Unit Principle?, you will learn that the HUP was never intended by McGavran as a strategy for drawing more believers into church or for growing a church in the sense of how most are taught to think of it today. Rather, the HUP was originally mined and refined as “a strategy to reach unbelievers—a missionary principle” according to Donald McGavran, himself. Yet from its introduction in the United States, the HUP has played right into our natural, all-too-American, desire to become real big, real fast: and it works. In other words, to grow a big church, you simply target a specific people group: give them the music they want, the facilities they desire, in the neighborhoods where they live, and “they” will come…whoever “they” are.
Here is Mark’s diagram. The “umbrella” at the top represents the heterogeneous church as an organization. The lines and circles represent “cells” (or I would call larger cells = sub-congregations) of different cultures that are part of the same church.
Read more about DeYmaz’s rediscovery of the original intent of the HUP here: http://www.markdeymaz.com/glue/2011/08/should-pastors-accept-or-reject-the-hup.html