LEVEL 1 – Mono-Ethnic Church

Description:
The vast majority of the church is composed of one ethnicity. This is the description of the US Church. In many cases, however, the local mono-ethnic church will encourage whether individually or corporately to look to serve people groups outside of their ethnicity.

What drives this?

  • The church may be located in a mono-ethnic community.
  • The church may be insulated.
  • The church may not know how to minister to or be frightened by other ethnicities.

Implications:

  • Since affinity is recognized as an effective tool of overcoming certain growth barriers being mono-ethnic insures a greater sense of affinity.
  • The church demonstrates a willingness to serve other ethnicities without the messiness of greater commitment.

Resources:
John Perkins on Empowering Communities.
Curtiss Paul DeYoung on Characteristics of a Reconciler.

LEVEL 2 – Ethnic Host Church

Description:
The church recognizes the ethnic changes taking place in community and consequently in order to broaden the kingdom impact opens up their facility to like-minded ethnic churches. Often there is minimal contact or relationship with ethnic leadership.

What drives this?

  • The church has the priority of “all people”.
  • The church’s missions efforts may include overseas all people but not local all people missions.
  • The church may not fully understand the needs of other ethnicities or not know how to meet them.
    Implications:
  • Limited buy-in by whole congregation.
  • Often, ethnic church receive “second-class” treatment: i.e. room/facilities, service times, and resources.

Resources:

Challenges Facing Immigrant Pastors & Congregations Meeting In English Speaking Churches from Will Tjen and Abraham Bejarano.

LEVEL 3 – Ethnic Partnership Church

Description:
The church hosts one or more ethnic congregations in its facility. In addition, there develops a close friendship and fellowship with the leadership of this/these ethnic congregations. This might and often includes periodic multi-ethnic worship services and fellowship events.
A natural outflow of this fellowship could include a joint strategizing and partnership in reaching a city or community. The host church is viewed quite favorably and uniquely by the local ethnicities and will often develop a “voice” in the community.

What drives this?

  • Church leadership has become burdened with the need to reach all people, including those in their own community.
  • Church leadership begins to walk in the shoes of ethnic leaders.

Implications:

  • The host church begins to reap the blessings of multi-ethnic fellowship including helping her people to embrace a broader “kingdom” mindset.
  • The congregation recognizes that there is still much to be learned about other ethnicities and the potential of doing multi-ethnic ministry together.

Resources:
How To Prepare To Launch An Immigrant Ministry Through an Established Congregation

LEVEL 4 – Ethnic “Incubator” Church

Description:
The ethnic incubator church is incubating ethnic ministries both within and outside the church. By way of definition, an incubator church is nurturing the development of a growing organism. We incubate by creating a favorable environment for growing, development, and protection.
These ethnic churches/ministries may or may not be formally under the mother church’s umbrella of authority/leadership.

Of the many options are:

  • a permanent ministry of the church.
  • a church within a church.
  • a church plant that is later released as a separate church.
  • an established church of the same association/denomination.
  • a like minded church of another association/denomination.

What drives this?

  • a passion for seeing God move throughout all people in your community.
  • a desire to impact other cultures and nations through unique opportunities in your backyard.
  • a generous congregation that embraces that all they have belongs to the Lord for His purposes.

Implications:

  • This church will be able to play an increasingly significant role in reaching their community’s ethnic groups.
  • The church will need to offer language specific services and ministries, almost as separate bodies, but will also need to function many times as one body.
  • A great deal of synergy between the various groups and ethnicities will develop which will encourage growth.
  • If more than two ethnic groups are a part of this church then the same cultural challenges may exist between the non-Anglos as well.

Resources:
Tim Keller on Churches & Race (article & video).

LEVEL 5 – Multi-Ethnic Church

Description:
A fully-integrated multi-ethnic church that reflects the diversity of that community. For a church to be truly multi-ethnic the tipping point is > 20% of at least one other ethnic group in the congregation.

What drives this?

  • The church is willing to sacrifice many “rules” for growth in order to reflect the “all nations” command of scripture.

Implications:

  • Leadership MUST be multi-ethnic.
  • Ethnic differences must continually be addressed.
  • Maintaining a truly healthy multi-ethnic church requires constant and intentional attention.

Resources:
7 Principles of Biblical Multi-Ethnic Community from renewpartnerships.org:
#1: On Earth As It Is in Heaven
#2: Just As You Are in Me and I Am in You
#3: I Am Making Everything New
#4: Seek Justice, Correct Oppression
#5: Had Everything In Common
#6: By This All Men Will Know You Are My Disciples
#7: They Will Renew the Ruined Cities

How We Transitioned a Homogenous Church by Dr. Wayne Schmidt of Kentwood Community Church

Read the story of Planting the Multi-Ethnic Suburban Church from Marty Schoenleber