Multicultural Church Glossary G-L


Generation (Millennial/Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers/Busters, Seniors, Builders)

  • “A generation is the same age cohort that live through the same significant events, especially through adolescence or childhood.”[1]
  • A generation is shaped by an era and pivotal events. “The events symbolize shared reference points and common experiences. A generation has a shared memory about important events and similar assumptions about what matters based on their formative experiences. Naturally, there are subgroups by areas such as region, class status and race/ethnicity, but there are also common markers. Not everyone in a generation has shared experiences; moreover, some experiences are more universal and others are more particular.”[2]
  • Do note that the dates given for each generation range differ according to the sociologist. Also, cohorts within each generation vary in their experiences, beliefs and actions because of cultural and worldview influencers.

Geographic Church

  • Bob Whitesel, in Cure for the Common Church, refers to a geographic church as one that God leads to minister to a population in a geographically bounded locale such as “neighborhood, borough, small town, rural area, township, school district, suburb, or urban district.” [3]  You also would include a parish, county or unincorporated area.
  • Called to a locale,  the geographic church adapts to the community’s  culture upon change of any type including population growth rates, housing development, generational and racial shifts, economic fluctuations, crime rate, academic backgrounds, etc. Any one of these elements impact the way an uncommon church reaches and ministers to constituents with balanced inward and outward focuses for conditions that support a M.O.S.A.C. church. [4]  Conditions: ”M”~intentionally ministers to the multitudes; “O”~view others with openness; “S”~changes the method, not the meSSage; “A”~keeps focus on the call to the all; “I”~shows impartiality and inclusion to others and “C”~uses value Communication).


  • Globalization relates to “The interaction between the particular character of places or regions and the more general processes of change” [5] 
  • With respect to the rise of world Christianity, the globalization rubric impacts the world via “a series of ongoing processes and relationships.” Globalization impacts changes in the nature and distribution of Christianity [6]
  • What is the relationship between globalization and mission. Hesselgrave and Stetzer, in Mission Shift, emphasize that God’s mission “calls and send the church of Jesus Christ locally and globally.”[7]  Further, the calling and sending of the missionary church occurs among its “own society, in the cultures in which it finds itself, and globally among all peoples who do not confess Jesus as Lord”[8]


  • A disputed term relating to “transformation in the relationship between space, economy and society” [9]
  • Glocalization first appeared in the eighties, highlighted by Japanese economists. Roland Robertson then worked with the concept of glocalization in the nineties. Later, Leonard Sweet initiated it insofar as Christianity. Building on this, Christian author Bob Roberts, says that “Glocal is another term for the flat earth that describes seamless integration between local and glocal.” [10]



Term derived from the work of the Italian writer and political theorist Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), which refers to the ability of a dominant group to exert or maintain control through a combination of overt and subtle mechanisms” [11]  


Heterogeneous suggests a diverse in character or content of cultures, formed together into a harmonized community of believers with inclusive table fellowship. a heterogeneous church “demonstrates God’s intention of reconciliation” welcoming all in the name of Jesus [12] 


Rules of thumb or shortcuts for making judgments for which we have insufficient or unverified information” [13]

High Context Culture (Implicit Meaning)

According to Porter, Samovar and McDaniel, those within this culture might demonstrate the following communication patterns:

  • People interacting with each other know the preferred meaning beforehand. internalize meanings and place a large emphasis on nonverbal codes
  • People already understand the context of the current situation
  • One party assumes the other party understands the shared meaning.
  • People emphasize nonverbal codes to make meaning [14]

People value placed on silence, the unspoken, nonverbal communication and no emotional expression [15]


Cultural homogenization– Attempt at making others like us. [16]  This results in bringing everyone into the same sin-stained culture.



“God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34 KJV). One who shows impartiality demonstrates actions of acceptance and respect — unbiased, unprejudiced and equitable — towards all others” [17]


  • Inclusivity works in tandem with impartiality by transcending race, class, power and privilege distribution. It consistently extends grace to all persons and people groups central to ministry [18]
  • “Seeks to provide a conceptual framework that recognizes the complex diversity of a plural society while, at the same time,suggesting bridges of shared concern that bind culturally different persons to one another”[19]
  • “A church that fits well into the local culture. Traditionally, this is defined in terms of ‘three self’: self-governing (not depending on outside agencies to make decisions), self-supporting (not needing outside funding to carry on its work), and self-propagating (able to evangelize within its own culture effectively” [20] 

Indirect Culture

Those from an indirect culture might focus on what is said and also how it is relayed; avoid open confrontation, express difficult issues with diplomacy and tact and count on the listener to interpret meaning [21] 


“Adapted or modified to fit the local culture”[22]

Individualist Culture

Some thoughts on traits characteristic to an individualist culture include those below:

  • A culture of self-interest of thought or belief.
  • Culture relies on and has allegiance to the self or group in various degrees [23]
  • Individual is the most unit in any setting.  [24]
  • Independence rather than interdependence is stressed.  [25]
  • Individual achievement is rewarded. [26]
  • Tend to belong to many groups, and change membership as it suits them. [27]
  • Believe that people are only to take care of themselves. [28]


  • An action done with reason to accomplish a specific result. These actions make up purposeful and planned steps to connect and reconcile the elect to God and bring the body of Christ into oneness.”[29]

Intercultural Communication

  • Samovar, Porter and McDaniel say that intercultural communication “occurs whenever a message produced in one culture must be processed in another culture” [30]

-J to K-

Koinonia Christian fellowship or communion with God or with fellow Christians; said in particular of the early Christian community



“The critically important marginal or in-between phase of a rite of passage” [31] 

Low Context (Explicit Meaning)

  • People assume you do not know the meaning of what they say or the context of the current situation.
  • People communicate with very specific detail/ [32]
  • People stress written or spoken message over nonverbal cues [33]
  • People emphasize the verbal  codes because it contains meaning [34]

People value clear meaning, high verbal interaction, explicit codes and do not necessarily see verbal gestures as needed to make meaning clear.[35]



  1. Karl Mannheim, “The Problem of Generations,” Working across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership (ed., Francis Kunruether  & Helen Kim, San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2008) xix.
  2. Kunruether and Kim, Problem of Generations, xix
  3. Bob Whitesel, Cure for the Common Church (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2012) 31.
  4. Jan Paron, Seeking the M.O.S.A.I.C. Church (Alsip: All Nations Leadership Institute, 2012.
  5. Dot-connect, “Dictionary of Cross-Cultural Terminology, n.p. (cited 27 February). Online:
  6. Craig Ott and Harold A. Netland, ed., Globalizing Theology, Belief and Practice in an Era of World Christianity (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), loc. 85).
  7. David Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer, Mission Shift: Global Mission Issues in the Third Millennium (Nashville: B & H Publishing, 2010), 24.
  8. Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer, Mission Shift, 24.
  9., “Dictionary of Cross-Cultural Terminology, n.p. (cited 27 February). Online:
  10. Bob Roberts, Glocalization: How Followers of Jesus Engage a Flat World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 4.
  11., “Dictionary of Cross-Cultural Terminology, n.p. (cited 27 February). Online:
  12. Kathy Garces-Foley, Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission (New York: Oxford University  Press, 2011), 26
  13. Daniel S. Levine and Leonid I. Perlovsky, “Simplifying heuristics versus careful thinking: scientific analysis of millennial spiritual issues,” Zygon 43 (2008): 797-821
  14. Larry Samovar et al., Communication between Cultures (7th ed.; Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010), 110-1.
  15. Larry Samovar et al., Intercultural Communication: A Reader (11th ed.; Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006), 254
  16. Randy Woodley, Living in Color: Embracing God’s passion for Ethnic Diversity (IVP Books, 2004)). Loc. 127.
  17. Paron, Seeking the M.O.S.A.I.C. Church, 2012.
  18. Paron, Seeking the M.O.S.A.I.C. Church, 2012.
  19. Mary L. Connerley and Paul B. Pedersen, P. Leadership in a Diverse and Multicultural Environment: Developing Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills. (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2005). 4.(Connerley & Pedersen, 2005, p. 4).
  20. A. Scott Moreau et al., Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), Loc. 275
  21., “Dictionary of Cross-Cultural Terminology, n.p. (cited 27 February). Online:
  22., “Dictionary of Cross-Cultural Terminology, n.p. (cited 21 February). Online:
  23. Geert Hofstede, Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication across Cultures (ed., Myron Lustig and Jolene Koester, 5th ed.; Boston: Pearson Education, 2006), 116.
  24. Larry Samovar et al., Communication between Cultures, 200.
  25. Larry Samovar et al., Communication between Cultures, 200.
  26. Larry Samovar et al., Communication between Cultures, 200.
  27. Larry Samovar et al., Communication between Cultures, 200.
  28. Hofstede, Intercultural Competence: (Myron Lustig and Jolene Koester, 5th ed.), 116.
  29. Paron, Seeking the M.O.S.A.I.C. Church, 2012.
  30. Samovar, Larry et al., Intercultural Communication: A Reader (11th Belmont: Thompson Higher Ed, 2006) 7. 
  31., “Dictionary of Cross-Cultural Terminology, n.p. (cited 21 February). Online:
  32. Edward Hall, The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time (Garden City: Anchor, 1984).
  33. Edward Hall, The Dance of Life.
  34. Edward Hall, Beyond Culture, (Garden City: Anchor, 1989).
  35. Samovar et al., Intercultural Communication: A Reader, 11th Ed, 254.,

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