The current picture of the American Church is considerably less gloriously diverse than the end-times church portrayed in Revelation 7:9. Since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s observation in 1956 of Sunday morning as the most segregated time in America, much has been written about the subject of diverse churches, by many different authors and from many different perspectives. By distilling the best practices found in these writings into a model curriculum and teaching it to his congregation, the author answers the question “What constitutes an effective training model designed to increase awareness of some of the key aspects of multi-ethnic churches for Harmony Vineyard Church in Ashland, Virginia?”
The project’s rationale was straightforward and simple. First, a more unified, diverse church blesses God the Father. Second, for pastors who desire a multi-ethnic congregation, this project will hopefully serve as a single resource addressing the specific issues of teaching and training both pastors and congregations in exactly how to go about creating such a congregation. Third, developing more multi-ethnic congregations is desirable, important, and strategic as the U.S.A.’s ethnic population continues to grow.
The intervention project consisted of seven training segments designed to do the following: 1) to portray God’s heart for unity; 2) to introduce multi-ethnic church terms and concepts; 3) to introduce cultural awareness and its importance, and; 4) to conduct a “sacred conversation” about race and racial issues. The training included both sermons and classroom teaching, and was presented during May, 2015.
Another aspect of the project was a questionnaire-based study of self-described multi-ethnic Vineyard churches to test if the literature’s best practices needed to be contextualized for each denomination, and specifically for Vineyard churches. The good news is that apparently they do not. It was also good news to discover that in many cases, monoethnic churches can become multi-ethnic even if their neighborhoods are not particularly diverse.
At the project’s end it was determined that the curriculum put forth was a successful training model as a significant majority of the participants’ feedback pointed to an increased awareness of the training’s four focus areas mentioned above.
|Advisor:||Bopp, Patrick J., Flynn, James T.|
|School Location:||United States -- Virginia|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Divinity, Religious education, Ethnic studies|
|Keywords:||Curriculum, Diverse, Model, Multi-ethnic, Training, Vineyard|
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