HUP & Mark DeYmaz on Why McGavran Recommended Heterogeneous Churches

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.

77D60D40-6B02-408E-9AB1-0A662C12F3B2-1-2048x1536-orientedHere 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

MULTICULTURAL & Observations by Daniel Im, teaching pastor of The Fellowship, Nashville

Daniel Im, a teaching pastor at The Fellowship a multisite church in Nashville, shared some interesting observations at the Mosiax Pre-conference at Exponential East today. Here are some of the take-aways.

Cultural comfort develops in our childhood.  “If your parents had a dog when you were young, you probably want a dog when you enter adulthood. The same is mostly true for cats.”

Is there a place in America for a mono-ethnic Asian church? “There is a lot of grey area around this for immigrant groups.  If it is language-based, then probably yes. But, maybe not for second-generation churches… So, what if we partnered and shared our facilities with immigrant churches and helped disciple the second generation?”  This would be what I have described as a Multicultural Alliance Model where the church assets are shared.  Read more about this here … http://intercultural.church/five-types-of-multicultural-churches/

An Example of a Multicultural Alliance Model:  “We had a first generation Arabic congregation in our church.  They didn’t have much finances, so with our support of giving them their space free, they could concentrate on reaching their culture.  They told us, ‘We don’t want to be an independent church.  We would rather not do the organizational piece’.”

For more on Daniel and his ministry, see … https://www.danielim.com

 

COLORFUL CHURCH & Why I don’t have a problem with segregated worship at 10:30 am, IF reconciliation takes place at 11:30

April 10, 2017 | by Bob Whitesel, published by Church Central.

It has been said that “10:30 on Sunday morning is the Church Central copy.jpgmost segregated time of the week.” I don’t have a problem with that if 11:30 is the most integrated time during the week. Here is what I mean.

The purpose of worship is to draw near to God as if to kiss his feet. This means the goal of our “worship services” should not attempt to create unity but to create a connection with God. I asked a girl in one Millennial church why they had such a large foyer with a coffee shop. She said it was because the large foyer was designed as a place for people from the early service and the late service to fellowship and discuss what they are learning. I replied that in my observations, most of the time in Boomer churches this fellowship takes place in the sanctuary. She replied, “That’s a poor place to have fellowship. The seats are facing the wrong direction.”

Worship has become too many things; it is one thing.That got me thinking about 15 years ago, about how we have turned worship services into pep rallies. We often celebrate the church and our volunteers or our different musical styles, when really “worship service” in its very terminology is about connecting people to God. Maybe that is why people sometimes feel less connected with God, because we have the wrong emphasis in large segments of the worship service.

I’m not saying worship doesn’t take place in our worship services. It does. I’m saying, however, that it often feels sandwiched in between so many other things.  Worship is too important to be sandwiched.

Where is fellowship, dialogue and reconciliation fostered: the Fellowship Foyer, Hall, etc. I believe fellowship is better fostered when we can talk about what we are learning at length. That takes place best in small, intimate groups where we can dialogue on a regular basis about our differences. But, it is especially hard to do when you’re entering or vacating a sanctuary so the next service can be held.

A good first step, however, would be for churches to provide a fellowship foyer (fellowship hall?) adjacent to the worship area where people could hang around after worship services to discuss what they are learning. I believe we must again create robust areas for fellowship, like the fellowship halls of old. These were the places of old where congregants hung around after church and deepened their relationships.

Even today many large churches with trendy facilities foyers too small for congregants leaving one service to fellowship with congregants attending the other.  One pastor said, “We have a foyer, but they don’t hang around.”  Well, if we are intent on creating unity and making 11:30 (or 10) a.m. a reconciliation time, then we may have to spend more time and thought on how to create fellowship. Just don’t do it during the worship time and detract from that.

And, worship services should be multiplied according to the artistic genres with which people are most culturally comfortable. It has been my observation that people worship best when they are singing songs with which they are familiar, to music with which they are comfortable.

I don’t think the worship service is, by its very name, purposed to create unity. I believe this is the wrong use of the worship time because the designation “worship” means a time to draw people close to God as if to kiss his feet.

I’m not against unity, I’m for it … just not at the expense of worship.I want to see more unity in our churches. But, we detract from the important ministry of worship and the Word by trying to cram into our worship services a unifying experience as well. In fact, I’ve written a whole chapter in the book The Healthy Church (2013) on how to create unity services.

Reconciliation begins with dialogue. Reconciliation is not going to take place in the limited conversations of a fellowship foyer, fellowship hall, etc. But it needs to start somewhere, and it can be fostered there. What if people who enjoyed different musical genres could attend the same church, hear the same sermon (perhaps by different culturally relevant preachers) and then exit into a “fellowship hall/foyer” to might with people of other cultures and learn how the sermon impacts each culture similarly and differently. This can begin a dialogue that can then branch out from Sunday morning to the rest of the week.

Here I think is the reason the quote that “10:30 is the most segregated time of the week” was utilized by Martin Luther King Jr. That is because our churches are segregated on Sunday mornings. This may be because most churches offer only one musical genre style of worship and therefore those who come to worship are primarily people attracted to one musical genre. I recently wrote a book with a colleague titled: re:MIX: Transitioning Your Church to Living Color(Abingdon Press).

I pray fervently for churches to develop a ministry of reconciliation to God and one another (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

So, what if we offered multiple genres as well as united opportunities to talk about what we’re learning over a cup coffee in our foyers? Reconciliation might not end there, but it certainly should start.

Most people who attend church do so on Sunday mornings. And they attend a segregated church because the music we select and the facilities we build promote one dominant culture. That is not good.  So, if we are going to start breaking down cultural biases and walls, we must start church makeovers with facilities and options that promote multicultural options with uniting environments.

Read more at … https://www.churchcentral.com/blogs/why-i-dont-have-a-problem-with-segregated-worship-services/?utm_source=Email_marketing&utm_campaign=emnaCCC04112017&cmp=1&utm_medium=html_email

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MULTICULTURAL & Most Scientific Research Narrowly Based on Samples of Western, not Asian Populations

The weirdest people in the world?

Henrich J1, Heine SJ, Norenzayan A.

1 Department of Psychology and Department of Economics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada. joseph.henrich

Citation

Behav Brain Sci. 2010 Jun;33(2-3):61-83; discussion 83-135. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X0999152X. Epub 2010 Jun 15.

Abstract

Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world’s top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “standard subjects” are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species – frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self-concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. Many of these findings involve domains that are associated with fundamental aspects of psychology, motivation, and behavior – hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges.

Full text at journal site

Read more at … https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20550733/

BIAS & Guarding your Eyes: The Impacts of Unconscious Bias in Multiethnic Churches

by Oneya Fennell Okuwobi, The Journal of the Academy for Intercultural Church Research, 10/27/16.

On September 19, 2016, millions watched a video showing that Terrence Crutcher was tased and then shot after his car stalled on the highway. He lay bleeding on the ground unattended and later died. Although much uproar resulted from this video, watching black men die is nothing new. On April 23, 1899, two thousand people watched as Sam Hose was brutally mutilated and burned at the stake. We view our modern spectacle of death through dash-cams and cell phone videos rather than at celebratory gatherings, but there is continuity between the two phenomena. Posted in the interest of transparency, videos of police-involved shootings show intimate views of last breaths that will have devastating impacts for modern race relations. As we watch these men die, we dehumanize them and deepen our unconscious biases.  In the context of multiethnic churches, these biases result in reification of racial hierarchies that threaten unity within the body.

To understand the possible consequences of these images of death, it is important to recognize that race is not an objective reality, but rather a created one. Race is used to organize social life in the United States by ranking various groups (Omi & Winnant, 1994). In this process, meaning and status are assigned to physical differences (e.g., skin color), not by natural distinctions but by specific action. For example, legal proceedings were used to determine now taken for granted definitions of race. Berkley law professor Ian Haney Lopez’s White by Law (1996) recounts suits brought by Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, and Syrian immigrants attempting to prove in court that they were white and therefore eligible for US citizenship prior to 1940. Various court cases were also used to assign blackness to those with any African ancestry, solidifying what is popularly known as the “one drop rule,” even as other countries developed more nuanced views of black and white.

The formation of racial differences can take forms much more gruesome than court proceedings. In the case of public post bellum lynchings, Fordham University sociologist Mattias Smångs (2016) has shown that these executions were critical “race making” events. These not uncommon occurrences were used to cement racial divisions at a time when freedoms granted after the Civil War could have threatened white superiority in society. The sentiment around lynching affirmed separation of whites and blacks into “us and them,” both politically through the strengthening of the southern Democratic party and legally through the advent of Jim Crow.

So what do lynchings a century ago have to do with our current state of race relations? Race was not created once and for all during slavery or during the time of legal segregation. Race has to be recreated in order for divisions and hierarchies that cast some as less than to continue generation after generation. Public displays of violence have effectively led to racial divisions in the past; the ways in which police-involved shootings of black men are portrayed today are recreating race via unconscious bias.

Unconscious biases are deeply held attitudes that affect decision making without an individual’s awareness (Banaji and Greenwald, 1994). These biases can be positive or negative. Importantly they have no relationship with the conscious attitudes or prejudices an individual holds. A person can consciously desire to treat all people equally, while in actuality treating persons differently by race, class, or gender due to implicit stereotypes.

A common bias is viewing Black men through the lens of criminality. University of Florida law professor Katheryn Russell-Brown (1999) coined the expression criminalblackman to express how myth meshed deviance and blackness into one. Even if you are too PC to actually cross the street at night when being approached by a black man, you probably consider it; this myth is to blame. This myth also makes boys carrying toys- like Tamir Rice and Tyre King- subject to the consequences of grown men. From the time of slavery, black men have been depicted as dangerous to justify violence against them (Alexander 2010). Each time a new video of a police-involved shooting is released, this process continues. If one is already stereotyped as a criminal, simply viewing him in an interaction with the police confirms that bias. Whether accused of a small offense such as selling loose cigarettes [Eric Garner] or a non-offense such as having car trouble [Corey Jones], the dead instantly bears the burden of culpability. This association recreates race by depicting black men as especially, and justifiably, policed.

Beyond the prejudices triggered through images of police interaction, further damage is done by the predictable response post shooting. News outlets and social media posts examine videos, criminal records, and eyewitness accounts, citing this evidence as police action is vilified or justified. The act of analyzing and arguing about the violent death of another image bearer dehumanizes the dead. A recent video has reimagined some images of police shootings with white victims instead of black to jarring effect. To the extent that it is acceptable to view a black victim and not a white one, race is recreated by making the death of one less tragic than the other. As our biases make black men less than human, it is small wonder that Blacks are nearly twice as likely to be killed by police when compared to Whites. Stereotypes of criminality and the process of dehumanization combine through the voyeuristic viewing of shooting videos, recreating racial hierarchies and maintaining a dangerous environment for black men.

Leaders and attenders of multiethnic churches need to be especially watchful of the impacts of bias within their churches. Multiethnic churches tend to handle race by subordinating racial identities to broader identity in Christ (Edwards, Christerson, and Emerson 2013). This enables churches to keep unity, but allows racial attitudes and inequalities already present in society to seep into church operations. Unexamined attitudes are not innocuous, on the contrary, unconscious bias actually has more predudicial effects on the behavior of those who view themselves as valuing all people equally than those who realize that they hold prejudices. (Gaertner, 1973). Not surprisingly, it is difficult to develop deep, reciprocal relationships where unconscious bias creates a barrier (Greenwald, Banaji, and Nosek 2015) To the extent that multiethnic churches are not discussing race, or the dangers of bias, these items remain beneath the surface, hindering the objective of unity…

Read more at … http://intercultural.church/index.php/2016/10/27/guarding-your-eyes-the-impacts-of-unconscious-bias-in-multiethnic-churches/

References:Alexander, Michelle. 2010. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. 1 edition. New York: The New Press.

Banaji, M. R., & Greenwald, A. G. 1994. “Implicit stereotyping and prejudice.” In M. P. Zanna & J. M. Olson (Eds.), The psychology of prejudice: The Ontario Symposium (Vol. 7, pp. 55-76). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Dovidio, John F., Tamar Saguy, and Nurit Shnabel. 2009. “Cooperation and Conflict within Groups: Bridging Intragroup and Intergroup Processes.” Journal of Social Issues 65(2):429–49.

Edwards, Korie L., Brad Christerson, and Michael O. Emerson. 2013. “Race, Religious Organizations, and Integration.” Annual Review of Sociology 39.

Gaertner, S. L. 1973. “Helping behavior and racial discrimination among liberals and conservatives.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 25: 335–341.

Greenwald, A. G., Banaji, M. R., & Nosek, B. A. 2015. “Statistically small effects of the Implicit Association Test can have societally large effects.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108(4): 553-561.

López, Ian Haney. 2006. White by Law 10th Anniversary Edition: The Legal Construction of Race. Revised and Updated: 10th Anniversary ed. edition. New York: NYU Press.

Omi, Michael and Howard Winant. 2014. Racial Formation in the United States. 3rd edition. New York: Routledge.

Russell-Brown, Katheryn. 1999. The Color of Crime: Racial Hoaxes, White Fear, Black Protectionism, Police Harassment, and Other Macroaggressions. New York: NYU Press.

Smångs, Mattias. 2016. “Doing Violence, Making Race: Southern Lynching and White Racial Group Formation.” American Journal of Sociology 121(5):1329–74.

 

The Academy for Intercultural Church Research, a network of researchers dedicated to analyzing and researching multicultural churches such as multiethnic churches, multi-generational churches, churches reaching out to multiple socioeconomic levels, etc. Below is their home page. Be sure to bookmark it and  check out their journal which features the latest research on congregations that are transitioning into healthy multicultural churches.

AICR Home page picture.jpg

MULTICULTURAL CHURCHES & 5 Models: A New Paradigm Evaluated and Differentiated #AICR #AcademyForInterculturalChurchResearch

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel.  The following article of mine was republished in the inaugural issue of The Journal of the Academy for Intercultural Church Research (AICR). I highly encourage anyone interested in reliable and valid articles on multicultural churches and their growth to bookmark this site: http://intercultural.church

Five Types of Multicultural Churches

This article first appeared in the Great Commission Research Journal, vol. 6, issue 1, summer 2016 (La Mirada, CA: Cook School of Intercultural Studies at Biola University, 2014) and is used by permission.

FIVE TYPES OF MULTICULTURAL CHURCHES: A New Paradigm Evaluated and Differentiated

Author: Bob Whitesel, D.Min. Ph.D.

Professor of Missional Leadership Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University


Abstract

This article puts forth a comprehensive and reconciliation-based paradigm through which to view multicultural congregations as one of five models or types. It updates the historical categories of Sanchez, adds contemporary models and then evaluates each through a 10-point grid of: nomenclature, mode of growth, relationships, pluses, minuses, degree of difficulty, creator complex, redistribution, relocation and reconciliation. The five models are: 1) the asset sharing Multicultural Alliance, 2) the collaborative Multicultural Partnership, 3) the asymmetrical Mother-Daughter model, 4) the popular Blended approach and 5) the Cultural Assimilation model. The result is a comprehensive five-model paradigm that includes an assessment of each model’s potential for spiritual and intercultural reconciliation.

The following is excerpted and reedited from The Healthy Church: Practical Ways to Strengthen a Church’s Heart (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2013).


This article assesses the strengths and weaknesses of different multicultural[1] church models. Daniel Sanchez offered some of the earliest depictions of such models,[2] but 35 years later they beg to be updated. And despite the proliferation of books on the topic, no significant updating or additions to Sanchez’s categories have been offered other than the Sider et. al. partnership model.[3]

In addition, there is a vibrant discussion today regarding how John Perkins’ intercultural goals of redistribution, relocation and reconciliation are being addressed by churches.[4] Therefore, it can be helpful to assess how well different models of multicultural congregations are addressing each of Perkins’ intercultural reconciliation goals.

The following five models of multicultural congregations suggest a new and contemporized paradigm. I will analyze each through a 10-point grid of: nomenclature, mode of growth, relationships, pluses, minuses, degree of difficulty, creator complex, redistribution, relocation and reconciliation.

Starting With Goals: Spiritual And Cultural Reconciliation

Sociologists have long known that people of a dominant culture will try, sometimes even subconsciously, to make over people from an emerging culture into their own image.[5] C. Peter Wagner called this the “creator complex” and said, “Deep in the heart of man, even in missionaries, lurks that ‘creator complex’ by which he delights in making other people over in his own image.”[6] And so, when humans encounter different customs, the creator complex in us wants us to view their customs as abnormal and change them to be more in keeping with our traditions.

The creator complex arises because it seems easier and quicker to assimilate a culture and make it look like us, than to try and sift out any impurities that run counter to the message of Christ. But in the words of missiologist Charles Kraft, every culture is “corrupt, but convertible.”[7] To convert any culture thus entails sifting out elements that run counter to Christ’s Good News while retaining elements that affirm it. Eddie Gibbs calls this “sifting a culture,” drawing from the image of a colander or strainer that sifts out impurities in food.[8]

So what then is the goal for our filtering of cultures? Let us return to Charles Kraft’s reminder, that every culture is “corrupt, but convertible.”[9] Our purpose thus becomes to assist God in His quest to convert or transform a culture. Such transformation begins by reconnecting people to their loving heavenly father. This has been called the ministry of reconciliation, which Paul described in 2 Cor. 5:11, 17-18.

John Perkins suggests that today’s divided world needs churches that will foster both spiritual reconciliation and physical reconciliation. This would fulfill Jesus’ prayer that His children would be united as the Father and Son are united (John 17:20). To describe this goal, Perkins employed 3 Rs:[10]

  • Redistribution (sharing money from wealthier cultures with struggling cultures),
  • Relocation (relocating ministry to needy areas) and
  • Reconciliation (physical and spiritual reconciliation, first between humans and their heavenly Father, and then between humans).

Among today’s emerging generations I am seeing young people more attune to this need for reconciliation between people of different cultures. Today’s young people have been born into a very divided world of politics, economics and cultural clashes. Yet, across the nation I have observed churches lead by these young leaders that refuse to limit themselves to just spiritual reconciliation, but also see maturity in Christ as advancing cultural reconciliation. I agree with Brenda Salter McNeil who sees the emergence of a reconciliation generation, who in addition to a spiritual reconciliation, sees “a host of people from various tribes, nations, and ethnicities who are Kingdom people called to do the work of racial reconciliation.”[11]

And so, to bring about both spiritual and cultural reconciliation, we need models that describe churches where people of differing cultures are not only reconnecting with their heavenly Father, but also who reconnecting with one another. A multicultural church may provide the best locale. To understand a multicultural church, let us look at five models.

5 Models of Multicultural Churches

To picture the variety of multicultural congregations I have suggested the following five categories. In each category I have codified examples from many authors, along with my own case-study research to present a clearer picture of the multicultural options and the plusses and minuses of each approach.

The Multicultural Alliance Church

This church is an alliance of several culturally different sub-congregations. Daniel Sanchez describes it as one church “comprised of several congregations in which the autonomy of each congregation is preserved and the resources of the congregations are combined to present a strong evangelistic ministry.”[12] The different cultures thus form an alliance by joining together as one religious organization in which they equally:

  • Share leadership duties (i.e. leadership boards are integrated),
  • Share assets (it is only one nonprofit 501c3 organization)
  • Offer separate worship expressions (to connect with more cultures)
  • Offer blended worship expressions (to create unity).

Offering multiple worship options allows the Multicultural Alliance Church to reach out and connect with several different cultures simultaneously.[13] And a regular blending of traditions in a unity service creates unity amid this diversity.[14] A weekly format of a multicultural alliance church with five sub-congregations could look like this:

FIGURE ©Whitesel HEALTHY Multicultural Alliance copy.jpg

FIGURE ©Whitesel HEALTHY 4.2 Strengths:Weaknesses of the Multicultural Alliance Church.jpg

FIGURE ©Whitesel HEALTHY Multicultural Partnership copy.jpgFIGURE Healthy Church 4.2 Strengths:Weaknesses of the Multicultural Partnership Church.jpg

Multicultural Mother Daughter Church.jpg

FIGURE ©Whitesel HEALTHY 4.6 Strengths:Weaknesses of the Multicultural Mother-Daughter Church.jpg

Multicultural Blended Church.jpgFIGURE ©Whitesel HEALTHY 4.8 Strengths:Weaknesses of the Multicultural Blended Church.jpg

Multicultural Assimilation Church.jpg

FIGURE ©Whitesel HEALTHY 4.10 Strengths:Weaknesses of the Multicultural Assimilation Church.jpg

Read more at … http://intercultural.church/five-types-of-multicultural-churches/

MULTICULTURAL & Yamamori’s 6 Models

HOW TO REACH ETHNICS
By Tetsunao Yamamori, The Church Growth Handbook, ed. Win Arn (Pasadena, CA: The Institute for Church Growth, 1979), pp. 171-181.

Almost half the population of America identifies with some ethnic culture or community. Yet, despite hundreds of years of immigration, the American Protestant church is predominantly an Anglo Protestant church.

American society has traditionally prescribed the response to the influx of “foreigners” into the U.S. as being assimilation into the dominant society. This assimilationist ideology has overshadowed the growth of pluralism among many groups in American society that have retained their cultural and ethnic identity. Various stratification levels have developed with patterns of majority-minority group relations which are defined around White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) cultural norms.

America’s ethnic realities more and more betray the assimilationist ideology. Ethnic bonds have always existed among communities of people maintaining their identity through race, religion, and/or national origin. Exclusion of an ethnic group by the dominant society generally heightens that group’s ethnic consciousness. Many white and nonwhite cultural groups have maintained their ethnic solidarity and, particularly during the last two decades, have reasserted themselves.

Anglo churches attempting to reach their ethnic neighbors may find it beneficial to consider the following models of cross-cultural outreach. Each model has its strengths and weaknesses. But they can provide guidelines for investing time and energy into the challenge of reaching out to a group unlike their own. In general terms, there are two approaches: the Assimilationist approach and the IDENTIFICATIONAL approach…

ASSIMILATIONIST Approach

1. WASP Assimilationist Churches receive members almost entirely from people with a low intensity of “ethnic consciousness” (see the Ethnic Consciousness Scale on page 7). Those in an ethnic group who are socio-economically upward in mobility tend to associate with Anglo churches and are comfortable in them. For example, African Americans approximating Anglo standards are racially black but culturally white, and are often happy in Anglo churches.

Assimilationist churches attract certain people in an ethnic group, but will repel certain others.

IDENTIFICATIONAL Approaches

To reach cultural populations that either do not want to become assimilated into WASP churches, or are not able to do so, a variety of other approaches are available.

2. Monoethnic House Churches. In this model, the Anglo church extends its ministry by creating house churches, Bible study groups, prayer cells, and Sunday school units among its ethnic neighbors. Several house churches may group together to form their own church. The newly formed ethnic church may hold services in the parenting Anglo church or may build a separate building. Rev. Robert Hymers, Superintendent of the Open Door Community Churches, has a goal of establishing 1,000 house churches of approximately 35 members, each with different cultural definitions. Six years ago, he began establishing house churches in southern California. Today, there are 9 house churches and 11 congregations which grew from house churches. Open Door churches include a Jewish church, a Hispanic church, a Chinese church, and several ex-homosexual house churches. Hymers’ method of church planting is through establishing house churches along similar ethnic and cultural groupings of people.

3. Monoethnic Churches within Anglo Churches. This model refers to an Anglo Church starting an ethnic service within its own building. A viable mono-ethnic church emerges through reaching unchurched individuals of a particular ethnic group within the locality of the church. This model differs from the assimilationist model through its emphasis on the development of a separate mono-ethnic congregation within an Anglo church.

4. Ethnically Changing Churches. Churches in ethnically changing communities often undergo spiritual, psychological, and financial difficulties due to decreasing membership, reduced budgets, broken friendships, and fear. Some members transfer to churches in a different location. Other members stay. Faced with a community change, the church eventually must make a choice from at least four alternatives: (a) stay in the community, (b) relocate to another location, (c) merge with another church in the area to pool its resources, (d) disband the church.

Merger or disbandment are generally not the best solutions. If a church decides to stay in a community, an important question should be raised: “Are the people in the church committed to serving the local residents and supporting the church’s new ministry mission?”

An Anglo church in San Francisco found itself surrounded by an influx of Filipinos. The community is made up of older whites, Filipinos, Latinos, and some Chinese. As the older white residents die or move, their houses are purchased by Filipinos. In this changing community, there are several signs of hope for this church that has decided to stay and serve its new neighbors effectively:

First, the Anglo pastor has a passionate desire to serve and reach the Filipino community.

Second, among the newer members who have joined the church, there are some Anglos who are married to Filipinos. These people are being recruited to serve as “beachheads” for home Bible study groups.

Third, an Anglo church member who was once stationed in the Philippines, and is still fluent in one of the dialects, is an insurance agent in the community and active member of the church. He has good rapport with his Filipino clients and is an enthusiastic Christian who is heading up the task force for Filipino outreach.

This church is intending to develop a reputation in the community as wanting to serve the new residents. It is intending to be known as a “pro-Filipino” church by inviting residents to sponsored events on Filipino national holidays. The church is determined to serve and reach its new neighbors, and eventually see the congregation and its leadership become indigenous Filipino.

5. Multiethnic Mutually Autonomous Churches. This is the process of autonomous ethnic churches cohabiting a single church building. The ethnic churches, including an Anglo congregation, all contribute to the “umbrella church” in finance, ministry, and governance. Each church has its own congregation, pastor, and lay leaders. Periodically, all the components of the umbrella church worship and engage in common ministries. Temple Baptist Church in Los Angeles approximates this model with Anglo, Korean, and Spanish congregations, as does Los Angeles First Church of the Nazarene, which includes Anglo, Filipino, Korean, and Spanish.

6. Single/Multiple-Sponsored Monoethnic Churches. A local ethnic church may be sponsored and supported in its early stage by a single church or group of area churches. Rev. Yoji Sato, a Japanese pastor associated with the American Baptist Church, came to America in March 1984 to serve the southern California Japanese churches by filling various pulpits. He became aware of the fact that there were no Japanese churches in the eastern part of Los Angeles County, and felt called to start a Japanese church in Covina, California. The pastor and members of the First

Baptist Church in Covina offered their facilities for the place of worship, and thus was born the Japanese Community Church of Covina.

GUIDELINES FOR ETHNIC OUTREACH

Here are some guidelines which churches can use to be more effective in outreach to surrounding “people groups” of a different culture or ethnic group:

1. Abandon the notion that the assimilationist approach is the only right way.
2. Focus on evangelizing—not Americanizing—the unreached people in these groups.
3. Acknowledge the heterogeneous nature of persons, even within one ethnic group. Just as the Anglo culture has many socio-economic, linguistic, generational, and geographic differences, so does every ethnic community.
4. Recruit and train indigenous full-time and part-time lay ministers to mobilize laity for cross-cultural outreach.
5. Utilize the strong ethnic communal ties (friendship and kinship] in the mission of spreading the gospel.
6. Connect with para-church organizations dedicated to ethnic outreach (i.e., missionary organizations working within the U.S. that have the specific purpose of reaching unchurched cultures and ethnic groups in the U.S.).
7. Start numerous ethnic churches, Sunday school classes, and evangelistic home Bible study fellowships.
8. Use the indigenous (heart) language of the ethnic people.
9. Hire a qualified church staff person from the ethnic/cultural group.
10. Conduct research to identify the responsive, as well as the resistant, areas within your target ethnic group and sub-groups.
11. Encourage short-term and long-range goals for cross-cultural outreach at judicatory and denominational levels.
12. Pray that the Holy Spirit will empower your church to realize the lostness of every person without Christ and to act decisively for cross-cultural outreach and evangelism.

WHICH APPROACH IS BEST?

Given America’s ethnic realities, what can churches do to reach people who are in their geographical community but in a different cultural culture? As noted earlier, there are two basic strategies. One is the assimilationist approach. This is the traditional method of Anglo churches attempting to integrate ethnic minorities into their membership.

The other approach to cross-cultural outreach is the identificational approach. It affirms the development of distinct mono-ethnic churches and missions. This approach is becoming increasingly popular and effective.The assimilationist approach is most effective with people who have a low degree of ethnic consciousness, and is least effective among people with a high degree of ethnic consciousness.

The various identificational models, on the other hand, are most effective among people groups with a moderate to high ethnic consciousness level. “Ethnic consciousness” is the intensity of awareness of one’s distinct people-hood based on race, religion, and/or national origin.

To help identify the relative intensity of ethnic consciousness among a particular cultural group, and therefore establish the approach that will be most successful, consider each of the indices on the “Ethnic Consciousness Scale” on the following page. Determine a point on the continuums that most accurately reflects each characteristic of the ethnic group in your ministry area. If the general trend of the responses is toward the left end of the scales, the assimilationist approach to reaching this ethnic group will generally be more productive.

If, however, the majority of characteristics trend toward the center or right end of the scales, one or a combination of the identificational approaches to reaching this ethnic group will be more successful. Use this typology as a “snapshot” of the particular target group you are trying to reach as you begin planning strategy for effective outreach and church growth.

ETHNIC CONSCIOUSNESS SCALE

figure-yamamori-ethnic-counsciousness-scale

Tetsunao Yamamori, The Church Growth Handbook, ed. Win Arn (Pasadena, CA: Church Growth Press, 1979), p. 184.