A segment of megachurches are experimenting with ethnically homogenous small groups as a way to actually grow more diversity on the wider congregational level, reports Christianity Today magazine (September). These churches combine maximal inclusiveness in major Sunday worship services with smaller groups meeting during the week to allow members of various ethnic groups to worship in their own languages. These groups may consist of Latinos, Filipinos, South and East Asians, and Indonesians. Morgan Lee reports that this practice is spreading, including such prominent megachurches as New Life Fellowship in New York and Christ Fellowship Church in Miami.
At New Life, the ethnic groups are seen as entry points into the multiethnic church, while Christ Fellowship uses weekly volunteering programs that bring the members of the different subgroups together. But there is little desire to forsake the large multi-ethnic Sunday services, since leaders believe they are important in witnessing to Christian unity. Also, the children of immigrant families like the large services; they enjoy the many programs for children and they have no problems with English. Their parents often attend, and even if they do have a language problem, they can have the opportunity later in the week to meet with other adults who “look like me.”
(Christianity Today, 365 Gundersen Dr., Carol Stream, IL 60188)