Multicultural Church Glossary M-R



Mainline Church

  • A church with the  “prominent denomination of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in North America and Europe, including various branches within Episcopal (Anglican), Presbyterian (and other Reformed groups), Methodist, Lutheran and Unites Church of Christ traditions”[1]


  • “Identifying with two groups, but not fitting into either; being rejected by both groups and relegated to the margins” [2]

Masculine Dimension of Culture (Adapted from Hofstede)

Characteristics [3]

  • People reflect social norms that are ego oriented, live in order to work and  material driven
  • People show politics and economic hold economic growth as a high priority and solve conflict through force
  • People feel religion is most important in life and only males can serve in pastoral roles
  • People work in male dominant situations with wide gender wage gap, women have less presence in management and preference for higher pay
  • People insofar as family hold to traditional structure, roles (girls cry, boys don’t; boys fight, girls don’t) and failure is not an option
  • Masculinity represents a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material reward for success and competitiveness

Melting Pot

  • A metaphor that assumes that immigrants and cultural minorities will be assimilated into the US majority culture, losing their original culture  [4]
  • First coined in 1908, Israel Zangwill coined the term “melting pot” to describe the United States. Zangwill, an English Jew, had been shown around New York City and all its ethnic enclaves by none other than the muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens. On his return to England he wrote the play “The Melting Pot” about immigrants to the United States, which, after becoming a hit on Broadway, continued to shape American self-perceptions as well as the image of United States held by Europeans. The image projected of immigration was one that largely corresponded to that drawn by Upton Sinclair in The Jungle, with families and ethnic communities being broken down and a process of assimilation occurring among the immigrants. [5]
  • The term melting pot refers to the idea that societies formed by immigrant cultures, religions, end ethnic groups, will produce new hybrid social and cultural forms. The notion comes from the pot in which metals are melted at great heat, melding together into new compound, with great strength and other combined advantages. In comparison with assimilation, it implies the ability of new or subordinate groups to affect the values of the dominant group. Sometimes it is referred to as amalgamation, in the opposition to both assimilation and pluralism. The shortages of the melting pot and salad bowl paradigms can be expressed in the following summarizing parables: In the case of the melting pot the aim is that all cultures become reflected in one common culture, however this is generally the culture of the dominant group – I thought this was mixed vegetable soup but I can only taste tomato. In the case of the salad bowl, cultural groups should exist separately and maintain their practices and institutions, however, Where is the dressing to cover it all? Hopefully, the solution may be offered by the concept of the ethnic stew where all the ingredients are mixed in a sort of pan-Hungarian goulash where the pieces of different kinds of meat still keep their solid structure. [6]


  • “The assumption that all other people are like us, resulting in the tendency to judge other people’s actions and attitudes on the basis of their own.” [7]


  • Definition To be a mosaic church, it must have a congregation that is both multicultural and heterogeneous. A mosaic church seeks to have a congregation that resembles an ethnic stew pot. Think of goulash. Mulholland (2002) says that the ingredients in a stew pot are unassimilated. Likewise, goulash contains different vegetables and meat. Each ingredient adds richness and flavor to the goulash as a whole, but at the same time, each keep its unique, individual flavor. Even the goulash’s meat chunks hold their structure. Likewise, an ethnic stew pot congregation has members from different cultures.  In a stew pot setting no one dominant group insists on a common culture. On the contrary, a stew pot mix produces as multicultural transformation.[8]
  • Framework – “M” Intentional ministry to the multitudes; “O”  View others with Openness; “S”  Change 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 [9]
  • Characteristics (1) A mosaic church supports God’s intent that the ‘called’ from every culture and generation have access to the message of salvation; (2) A mosaic church values the rich diversity  displayed in the tapestry from the Christ community; (4) A mosaic church has a culture  that makes room for grace to people from all tribes and nations and (5) A mosaic church has a congregation both multicultural and heterogeneous, showing a stew pot blend”  [10]

Multicultural Church

  • The descriptor of multicultural connotes a broader parameters for diversity. A multicultural church reflects a congregation with variances in both race and ethnicity, but also includes “gender, race, age, sexual preference, and regional differences.” [11] 
  • “focuses on aspects of multiple cultures.” [12]  
  • Sometimes the descriptor of the multicultural church is not a positive one, notes McIntosh and MacMahon, and “the most complex of the terms that can be used in describing the multicultural church.” [13] 

Multiethnic Church

  • “A multiethnic church may be defined as a culturally and ethnically diverse body which (1) meets together as one congregation, (2) utilizes one language—usually English—yet (3) designs its worship services and ministry for a variety of cultural groups (though this may not be the mother tongue of some) and they are for the most part upwardly mobile socio-economically,”  [14] 
  • “A multiethnic church is a church in which there is 1) an attitude and practice of accepting people of all ethnic, class and national origins as equal and fully participating members and ministers in the fellowship of the church; and 2) the manifestation of this attitude and practice by the involvement of people from different ethnic, social and national communities as members in the church.  [15]
  • Gary McIntosh and Alan MacMahon, in Being the Church in a Multi-Ethnic Community, posit that “multiethnic most accurately the biblical concept of “the peoples,” and we feel it is the most helpful term when speaking about churches that are comprised of different families, clans, or cultural groups.”  [16]
  • Pastor Mark DeYmaz, (2007) author of Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church,  bases his definition of the multiethnic church [17]what he believes is the model presented at the church of Ephesus, which was comprised of both Jewish and Gentile converts.  (p. DeYmaz says that a healthy, multiethnic church “…is focused on reconciling men and women to God through faith in Jesus Christ and on reconciling a local church to the principles and practices of first century churches in which men and women of diverse backgrounds walked, worked and worshiped God together as one for the sake of the Gospel.” In terms of the multicultural church’s necessity, DeYmaz states that “the pursuit of the multi-ethnic church is in my view, not optional. It is biblically mandated for all who aspire to lead local understanding of what it means to be children of God and the bride of Christ” [18]  

Multiracial Church

  • This is one in which “no one racial group makes up more than 80 percent of the attendees of at least one of the major worship services” If you view this as more of a formulaic principle, it signifies that four of five persons in a church are of the same race. [19]
  • Gary McIntosh and Alan MacMahan tell that the term has its roots in “the study of genetics, ancestral populations, and medicine.” [20]   Further, hey see the term multiracial as “less useful for church ministry today since it tends to carry negative emotional baggage” (See full discussion in their book, Being the Church in a Multi-Ethnic Community: Why It Matters and How It Works.)

Multicultural Transformation

  • This is where multiple cultures unite seamlessly as one in Christ, grow together in their Christian walk and learn from each other.[21] Lindsey, et al (2002), say that when people from different cultural backgrounds mix with each other, that everyone changes for the better because of the experiences.


  • There are different meanings for multitudes. One is Greek: plēthos (Strong’s G4128, Blue Letter, 2012) meaning a great number” or “assemblage” and the other is Greek: oclos (Strongs G3793, Blue Letter, 2012) indicating a “throng” of people who “flocked together in one place.” [22]
  • For the purpose of understanding multitudes, this explanation will focus on who comprised the multitudes  and how Jesus related to the them during His earthly ministry. While believers can never be divine, as ministers of reconciliation, Christians must mirror Jesus’ same attitudes and behaviors towards the multitudes. Today’s multitudes are His people [23]



  1. Jewish nation and Gentiles (Matt 28:19; Luke 24:47) a. Broad, missionary based; b. inclusive sense and c. Excluded, outcasts, from the temple– Gentiles, eunuchs and foreigners and Jews and also the poor
  2. Persecutors before and after the fall of the temple in 70AD (Matt 24:9, 14; Mark 13:10; Luke 21:24): a. Preach to the nations, scattering into the nations —  missionary emphasis; b. Gentiles of Roman Empire; c. Rulers and local officials who would persecute Christians; d. More universal population, denotes an evil world (Matt 24:9)
  3. People of the world during final judgment: a. All races; humanity to be divided by sheep and goats (Matt 25:32)–People not of the kingdom (Luke 12:30) and Believers at end
    times (Luke 21:25),



  • Openness is an attitude of acceptance, tolerance and understanding of other people (individually or collectively) and their culture. When a believers views others with Christ-like openness, that person displays compassion, care, non-judgmentalism, love, honor, value, hospitality and servant heart. The most critical point to remember regarding openness is that there can be no conflict between the message of the cross and cultural preferences.
  • Openness works together with intentionality. Intentional ministry to the multitudes requires the believer to take purposeful and planned steps to bring the body of Christ into oneness; but predicates and builds on one’s ability to have an open mindset. That passageway hinges on intentional strategies and activities in ministry. The demonstration of an open attitude as part of Christian witness opens a passageway for others to enter into the adoption of the elect through Jesus Christ.


  • The others, are just ordinary people like you and me, from all walks of life and means. They are the multitudes of whom God seeks for restoration and reconciliation. Today’s other continually changes in all areas of culture such as race, ethnicity, economics, age, etc. This is due to several factors. One factor is the decrease in the numbers of Seniors, Builders and Boomers from the effects of age. Another dynamic is the increase of non-White populations. “White” no longer is the majority race, with non-White populations taking the rise. Another population change is the rise of people classified as low income. Due to national and international economic market depressions, the causal effect is a sharp increase in the number of people living in poverty.


  • “Those looking at the Christian faith from the outside. This group includes atheist, agnostics, those affiliated with a faith other than Christianity (Hinduism, Mormonism, Judaism and so on) and other unchurched adults who are not born-again Christians.” [24]


People Groups

  • A people group is usually defined by ethnic or linguistic terms. It is estimated that there are some twelve thousand distinct languages and dialects and as many as twenty-four thousand people groups in the world today. [25]

Power Distance

  • Power distance is extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. The issue at hand is handling inequalities. [26] 



  • Efrem Smith states that “Race is a man-made social structure with no strong biological grounding. In scripture, people are mentioned by tribes, nationalities, and ethnicities but not by racial groups.” [27] He adds the term, “kingdom church, “to his discussion. A “kingdom church” is one that is willing to move away from being primarily shaped by race.” With this matrix, he explains that race traps a person and gives more power than a person wants to admit. Further, “being trapped in the matrix is also revealed through how natural it seems to be with people who look and act like us and how challenging it is to build authentic relationships and community with people who are different.” [28]
  • Kenneth Mathews and M. Sydney Parks, in their work the Post-Racial Church: A Biblical Framework for Multiethnic Reconciliation, view refer to a race in the “modern sense may imply a distinctive people group who lineage comes from a common source [29] They further comment on the notion that race is “not a useful term since people do not in reality descent from a shared ancestor. Ancient peoples were of blended ancestral lineage,”[30] One example they give is King David, whose ancestors were both Hebrews and Moabites. Matthews and Parks do say there is a human race, because of the Bible’s genealogies of the human family, originating with Adam [31]


  • Blue Letter Bible: (Strong’s G604 – apokatallassō) – (1) to reconcile completely, 2) to reconcile back again and 3) bring back a former state of harmony


  • Blue Letter Bible: (Strong’s G2643 – katallagē) 1) exchange, a) of the business of money changers, exchanging equivalent values; 2) adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favour, a) in the NT of the restoration of the favour of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ

Verses (Reconciliation)

  • If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. (15)For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? (16) For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches” (Rom 11:14-16).
  • “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.(1 Cor 10:17)
  • “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:18-20; See also 2 Cor 5:11-6:13).
  • “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (17) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. (18) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,” (Eph 2:16-19).
  • “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” (Col 1:20-21).



  1. S. Moreau, et al., Introducing world missions: A biblical, historical, and practical survey. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), loc 282.
  2. N. Robins, et al., Culturally Proficient Instruction: A Guide for People Who Teach (Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press, 2002), 46.
  3. Geert Hofstede, Comparing Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Cultures, (2nd ed.; Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2001), 209.
  4. Judith Martin and Thomas Nakayama, Intercultural Communication in Contexts (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004).
  5. From Melting Pot to Vindaloo. n.p. [cited 25 February 2012). Online:
  6. Laubeová Laura, Melting Pot vs. Ethnic Stew. n.p. (cited 25 February 2012). Online:
  7. G. Van Rheenan, Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies in Missions (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House,1996), 97.
  8. Robins, N. et al. Culturally Proficient Instruction: A Guide for People Who Teach (Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press, 2002).
  9. Jan Paron, Seeking the M.O.S.A.I.C. Church (Alsip: All Nations Leadership Institute, 2012).
  10. Paron, Seeking the M.O.S.A.I.C. Church.
  11. George Yancey and Michael O. Emerson, One Body, One Spirit: Principles of a Successful Multiracial Church.  Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2003), 18.
  12. Mary L. Connerley, M. & Paul B. Pedersen, Leadership in a Diverse and Multicultural Environment: Developing Awareness, Knowledge and Skills (Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2005), 3.
  13. Gary McIntosh and Alan MacMahon, Being the Church in a Multi-Ethnic Community: Why It Matters and How It Works (Indianapolis, Wesleyan Publishing House, 2012), 26.
  14. Davis, 2003, pp. 114-127).
  15. Paul Hiebert, One New people: Models for Developing a Multiethnic Church (Manuel Ortiz, Ed., Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity, 1996), 149.
  16. McIntosh and MacMahon, Being the Church in a Multi-ethnic Community, 24.
  17. Mark DeYmaz, Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004), 27.
  18. DeYmaz, Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church, 29.
  19. Yancey and Emerson, One Body, One Spirit, 15.
  20. McIntosh and MacMahon, Being the Church in a Multi-ethnic Community, 22.
  21. Robins, N. et al. Culturally Proficient Instruction.
  22. Blue Letter Bible, Oclos and Plēthos. n.p. (cited 25 February 2012), Online:
  23. Paron, Seeking the M.O.S.A.I.C. Church.
  24. David Kinnamon, and Gabe Lyons, UnChristian: What a New Generation Thinks about Christianity and Why it Matters (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007).
  25. (Moreau, 2011, loc. 290).
  26. Geert Hofstede, “Power Distance,” The Hofstede Center. n.p. (cited  5 August 2013). Online:
  27. Efrem Smith, The Post-Black & Post-White Church (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012), loc. 392.
  28. Smith, The Post-Black & Post-White Church, loc. 411.
  29. Kenneth Mathews and Sydney. Parks, The Post-Racial Church: A Biblical Framework for Multiethnic Reconciliation (Grand Rapids, Kregel Publications, 2011).
  30. Mathews and Parks, The Post-Racial Church, 31. (cf. Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 25-26, 33-34).
  31. Mathews and Parks, The Post-Racial Church, 31. (For further reading on race see the authors’ discussion on p. 31, which they relate to the term “people.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s