Churches, Cultures & Leadership


Books on Forming Multiethnic Congregations

We recommend these books on forming multiethnic congregations. Our friend Craig Hendrickson helped prepare this list. We welcome your comments and recommendations.

Anderson, David. Multicultural Ministry. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. Anderson is pastor of a multicultural congregation in Maryland and part of the Willow Creek Association. Using a dance analogy the author invites churches to find their rhythm using his experience as a base.

Blount, Brian K., and Lenora Tubbs Tisdale, eds. Making Room at the Table. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001. A compilation exploring practical issues that can make worship more inclusive for groups that have been marginalized or excluded.

Cha, Peter, S. Steve Kang and Helen Lee. Growing Healthy Asian American Churches. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Discusses eight key values relating to the identity and mission of Pan-Asian multicultural congregations, such as overcoming toxic shame through a life of grace, the values and practices of healthy leaders, and nurturing intergenerational relationships.

Conde-Frazier, Elizabeth, S. Steve Kang and Gary A. Parrett. A Many Colored Kingdom. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004. Provides valuable insights for those involved in teaching or spiritual formation ministry in multicultural settings.

Deymaz, Mark. Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church. New York: John Wiley, 2007. The author draws on his experience as pastor of Mosaic Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Uses a similar framework to that developed by George Yancey.DeYoung, Curtiss Paul, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey and Karen Chai Kim. United by Faith. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Provides an introduction to the history and current state of multiethnic congregations in the United States

Edwards, Korie L. The Elusive Dream. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. A somewhat pessimistic view highlighting interracial churches’ struggles to negotiate structural barriers like white hegemony.

Emerson, Michael O. People of the Dream. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006. Significant research into congregations that are multiracial, including the beliefs and practices that both hinder and facilitate the formation of these congregations.

Garces-Foley, Kathleen. Crossing the Ethnic Divide. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. A case study detailing how a Pan-Asian church has worked through issues of ethnic diversity and reconciliation as it has transitioned into a more ethnically inclusive model of multiethnic ministry.

Kujawa-Holbrook, Sheryl. A House of Prayer for All Nations. Herndon, Va.: Alban Institute, 2002. Based on six case studies, this book discusses how multiracial congregations have overcome unhealthy institutional habits by intentional practices such as sharing a rich symbolic life together, cultivating spiritual stamina and knowing their history.

Martínez, Juan. Walk with the People. Nashville: Abingdon, 2008. A description of ministry across the multiethnic and multicultural complexity of ministry among Latinos. Addresses the profound differences among Latinos and their implications for ministry.

Ortiz, Manuel. One New People. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996. Discusses several practical insights and models for developing multiethnic congregations, including multicongregational approaches.

Woo, Rodney. The Color of Church. Nashville: B & H Academic, 2009. Provides an in-depth biblical rationale for multiracial congregations and an insightful look at how one church transitioned into multiracial ministry; includes discussion questions after each chapter to promote dialogue among a church’s leadership and congregants.

Yancey, George. One Body One Spirit. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2003. Provides seven essential principles for those developing a multiracial church, such as intentionality, inclusive worship, an overarching goal and diverse leadership. The author on race as the defining factor in understanding differences and the challenges of working together.

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By engaging ethnic histories and hearing personal autobiographies we are participating in God's creative work of shaping and reshaping church life and mission.

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Part I: Theology and Context

Using the frameworks of practical theology and missional ecclesiology, we provide an introduction to the work of leadership and to social theory, including matters of social contexts, cultural variables, and ethnic identity.

Part II: Sociocultural Perspectives

Cultural anthropology provides insights into social power and human dynamics that vary among cultures. Topics include worldviews, relationships, identity, language, and perception and thinking.

Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change

We need to develop the skills and capacities for communication and leadership in intercultural settings in order to engage the challenges of church life and mission in multicultural contexts.


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