The Church

The Mask of Multicultural Churches

Comments (7)
  1. James Riley says:

    Multi-Racial, not Multi-Cultural… Indeed my friend. As a Pastor, I have experienced the marginalization as a consequence of non-assimilation into the “culture” of our multi-cultural church. That culture was most adamantly WASPy pro-conservatism. Any dissenting opinion or failure to indulge/accept race stereotypes especially in the case of our so-called mission strategy to the poor (syn. black) community was met with castigation and name calling. This is where I believe my brothers and sisters of African descent are calling what we experience in mainline churches as systemic racism. It is hard not to broad brush it across the spectrum of Christendom in non-black churches when the institutions that govern, or the local congregational leadership that comprise the leadership/pastoral care and administration are predominately European. That in itself necessarily means that there is cultural hegemony in most churches and institutions. Multi-cultural really means Multicultural Repository for White Culture Assimilation. I am intent on finding ways to be both proud of my African descent; and dogmatic about the catholic reality of the Gospel message. As a Pastor/Preacher, the question becomes, when I am preaching the gospel to so-called marginalized groups; what else am I importing, and what am I exporting them into once trust is gained?

  2. Great article Dr. Francies. I have to amen a lot of these points.

    I actually happen to attend and work at a multi-cultural church in Sacramento that is co-pastored by an Armenian man (Bob Balian) and a black man (Efrem Smith), called Bayside Church of Midtown. Because of this unique pairing and positioned in one of the top ten most diverse cities in the nation, we have the awesome opportunity to address many issues in the plight of the black community, and others as well, in our area.

    It’s also unique because we exist in a family of churches that isn’t as diverse as our campus is, and we get to serve as an example to our mostly white congregations of what it looks like to be in and serve the communities around us; and as a staff we strive to be a true hub of all ages, races, cultures, etc. I hope you could visit one day to see people who strive to get the model of multi-cultural churches correctly! And maybe give a few pointers.

  3. Colfax says:

    Hi Sharon,

    I think your comments are spot on, and in an ideal world, that would be the only role of the church. But we also know that people are unable to receive higher order instruction when their basic needs are not met (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). A little bit of research will you have finding that people of color are feeling especially vulnerable right now and there is mounting evidence every day to support why.

    Jesus fed the hungry and he healed the sick BEFORE he ministered spiritually to them. If the church doesn’t meet these needs, the words from the pulpit will go unheard.

  4. Thank you! We loose young members to predominately white non-denominational churches, wouldn’t really classify them as multi-cultural. We love them, nurture them, shape and mold them, help with scholarship funding for college, only to become not good enough. Prodigals go to places of toleration because of what they have and instead supporting the very places that shaped them. See below excerpt that I used in my dissertation.

    In 1940, in an essay prepared for the Carneigie-Mydral project, Margaret Brenman, a psychologist at Columbia University, dealt with the issue of the African American religion at risk. She asserted that as the African American immersed into mainstream America, that religion in its community would begin to deteriorate. First she and others felt that “the Negro church” would decline in importance as the economic, social, and psychical “handicaps” of blacks were gradually removed. This aspect of the disappearance of the “psychic function” of black religion was a local variant of a theory of secularization: As blacks climbed the socioeconomic ladder, religion would no longer be necessary. Religion was seen as secondary to or a derivative of more fundamental issues, such as economic hardships, social deprivation, and psychological maladjustment.

    Curtis Evans. The Burden of Black Religion. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 226.

  5. Sharon Bratcher says:

    What is the purpose of the church? Worshipping God, learning about Him, taking communion, and helping others.
    Yes, the ills of society need to be addressed, but could not this task be done through belonging to an organization
    besides the church? There is a lot of Bible to learn – I just don’t want to see that fall by the side. Yes, God cares about the poor – and the church should do what they can to help the poor, but not at the price of not having true biblical godly worship and good training sessions.

  6. Big G says:

    This article was on point! The “Separate but Equal” laws were inevitably adopted in the Churches during the Jim Crow era. Sadly, Multiracial Churches are now advocating the “Equal but Separate” laws to their members. Noticed that Equal is the new theme for Multiracial Churches. Are we equal when it comes to money offerings , or equal when it comes to Church attendanc; BUT separate when it comes to Black suffering, cop on Black killings, or disproportion of housing for Blacks? It’s time to wake up and smell the cotton! This method is a passive aggressive way of dismantling Black congregations across the US.

  7. Melva says:


    This is an excellent article. I had to share it with others…..SO ON POINT. Very PROUD of YOU son…I feel blessed to be part of DELTA BAY.

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