Title

A Case Study of Challenges Foreign-born Church Leaders Face in Establishing Multicultural Churches in the United States

Date of Award

10-17-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Practical Theology

First Advisor

Eugene W. Bunkowske

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to find out how Foreign-born church leaders describe the challenges they face in establishing multicultural churches in the United States. Using leaders of Bethel World Outreach Ministries, USA as a case study, the researcher sought to investigate how the leaders of this church body, which is mainly composed of Foreign-born church leaders and has a multicultural approach to missions, church planting and evangelism, described the challenges they face in establishing multicultural churches in the United States. 31 church leaders from Bethel World Outreach Ministries, USA were interviewed from their nine churches and four fellowships in the United States.

The literature research seemed to validate the fact that the concept of multiculturalism can be found in both of the Old and New Testament and is therefore biblical. It also showed that multiculturalism, though embraced by many Americans, is strongly opposed by others.

The study .confirmed the research hypothesis that there are a variety of challenges that Foreign-born church leaders face in establishing multicultural churches in the United States. These challenges appear to be complex and may be due to a number of different factors. Based on the findings, there are five major categories of challenges that were identified, namely, a) sociological challenges (culture, racism, mindset, and social class division); b) vocational challenges (gift, skills, and abilities, motive, level oftraining, faith,); c) liturgical challenges (music, preaching style, and length of time for worship); d) language challenges (accent and articulation); and e) location challenges (not having its place to worship, not being in close proximity to a multicultural population, and the physical and social environment in which the church is located).

Foreign-born church leaders of Bethel World Outreach Ministries, USA were given the opportunity to describe how they would rank, in order of importance, the challenges they mentioned above. There were a variety of answers as to which of the challenges these Foreign-born church leaders of Bethel World Outreach Ministries, USA described as the most important, least important, hardest to deal with, easiest to deal with and those that must be dealt with locally.

Recommendations for further research are offered.

Comments

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