A multicultural congregation represents the racial, cultural, generational and other diversity represented in the congregation. In this blog, author Ryk Van Velden answers the question “What is a multicultural congregation or ministry?” Additionally, Van Velden describes seven different models of multicultural congregations. Based on his study and experience serving ministries in Malawi and Mozambique, the author describes the advantages and disadvantages of various models including multicultural cell churches, planting a separate church, adoption and cooperation, and parallel ministries in one multicultural congregation. Regardless of the model used, the case is made that a multi-cultural congregation is about more than tolerance or assimilation of a minority group within a dominant culture. The author notes that, “When at least 20% of a congregation does not belong to the dominant group, they have a real impact on the nature and life of a congregation.” The beauty of multicultural congregations is in the acceptance of unique contributions, representing as thoroughly as possible the diversity of the group. Before your congregation gets too far into its planning for multi-cultural congregational life, have the principal leaders of your faith community study this document. Discern if the goals of multicultural experience described in this blog match your intentions. Talk about which of the seven models seem best for your context.
Reviewed by Tim Shapiro