Designing Worship for Multiethnic Churches (Part 1) -- By: Ken L. Davis

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 08:1 (Spring 2004)
Article: Designing Worship for Multiethnic Churches (Part 1)
Author: Ken L. Davis


Designing Worship for
Multiethnic Churches
(Part 1)

Ken L. Davis

Director of Church Planting
Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, PA

North America is populated by a wondrous variety of people, nearly all of whom are immigrants. And in recent decades more and diverse kinds of immigrants have arrived on our shores. The notion that America is a melting pot for all the world’s ethnic groups has been revealed to be a myth. A better analogy is to see our nation as a giant salad bowl or stew pot in which each cultural component retains its own integrity and identity, yet contributes to the overall national flavor.

Immigration and rising birth rates have brought tremendous change to American society. America’s total ethnic population now numbers over 100 million.1 The nation’s streets teem with over 500 ethnic groups speaking more than 630 languages and dialects.2 Multiculturalism in America is now an established fact.3 Over the

next fifty years, the white population is projected to decrease by 30 percent, while other ethnic groups will increase 92 percent. By the year 2056 ethnic “people of color” will collectively be in a majority in our land. No one ethnic group will be in a majority; whites will be the largest minority in a nation of minorities. By mid-century the number of blacks will have increased by 69%, Native Americans by 79%, Asians by 195%, and Hispanics (of numerous nationalities) will increase in population by 199%.4 By 2050, 21% of Americans will be claiming mixed ancestry according to some projections.5 We are a nation that is “browning.”6

Consequently, in the twenty-first century the United States will need a variety of multicultural interracial churches. Missiologist Charles Cheney observes, “America will not be won to Christ by establishing more churches like the majority we now have.”7 In an increasingly multiethnic and urban society it will take new multicultural churches to reach the full spectrum of peoples a sovereign God has brought to our continent. In the past, homogeneous churches have been seen as most productive, but in the present social milieu that situation is changing. Now residents of highly educated, high income, racially mixed communities are often attracted to interethnic heterogeneous churches. So are m...

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