Why is the Local Church in America…?

Why is the local church in America so homogenous?  (This means that one ethnic group makes up 80% of the congregation.)

First, fear.  We’re afraid of each other and we’re afraid of losing power to the “other.”  We’re afraid of what or who we don’t know.

Second, Dr. Donald’s McGavran’s homogeneous unity principle.  This ministry model teaches that people like to become Christ-followers without crossing racial (ethnic) or class barriers. 


 Many church leaders, knowingly or unknowingly, hold to this ministry model.  It works. For now.

Third, success begets imitation. The majority of heroes in the evangelical stream of the faith lead homogeneous mega-churches.  And their disciples who attend their conferences and read their books follow their heroes’ homogeneous ministry model, which produces more homogeneous churches even though their churches are located in ethnically diverse communities.

So what are we to do?  

Here are some ways Transformation Church has partnered with the Holy Spirit to become a multi-ethnic local church:

The first ingredient to building a healthy multi-ethnic church is that the leaders’ hearts must be seized by the Biblical conviction that God wants His Church to be multi-ethnic, whenever possible.  Multi-ethnic church is not in addition to the Gospel, it is a result of the Gospel (Ephesians 2:11-18; 3:1-12; Rev. 7:9; Gal. 3:28). Transformation Church is multi-ethnic because of Biblical and missiological convictions, not sociological convictions.

Second, pray and fast for a leadership team that reflects the multi-ethnic diversity of the community in which God has placed you to be a missionary outpost (local church).  I knew that if I wanted Transformation Church to be a multi-ethnic congregation, I needed my staff to reflect the multi-ethnic diversity I wanted the congregation to embody.

Third, diversity in worship styles is crucial to developing a healthy multi-ethnic church.  Some weekends our worship style will reflect a Passion rock sound, another weekend it will reflect an R&B sound or Latino sound.  And some weekends you may hear rock, R & B, and Latino, along with an ancient hymn, in the same worship service.  Regardless of the worship style, Jesus will be made much of!

Fourth, partner with the Holy Spirit in creating a multi-ethnic ethos. How do we do that?  As the Lead Pastor, I must continually cast a God-sized, beautiful, compelling vision and teach from the sacred Scriptures that the outworking of the Gospel produces a multi-ethnic, mission-shaped church.  

The Gospel not only transforms us personally, it also transforms how we see and interact with people of diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

I pray these intentional steps have been helpful.  Pray for us and we’ll be praying for you.  It’s about His fame among those who have yet to treasure Him.

Marinate on that,

Pastor Derwin

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Derwin Gray
Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church (www.tc521.org), a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community in Indian Land, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recognized as one of the 15 fastest growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine. Gray is the author of "Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future" and is a highly sought-after communicator. Connect with Derwin on twitter @Derwinlgray.