Project Documents

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Kenley D. Hall

Second Advisor

Bruce L. Bauer

Third Advisor

James J. North, Jr.

Abstract

Problem. The development of a multicultural church is a challenge because it requires a fusion of diverse cultural entities into a single church. When the All Nations Church began in 1979 in Berrien Springs, Michigan, church leaders discouraged its establishment, believing the experiment would be divisive, and encourage dysfunction and misunderstanding. Members of other Seventh-day Adventist churches in the community disapproved of the concept of a multicultural church within its boundaries. To date, no formal evaluation has been done to determine the effectiveness of the multicultural ministry to the community.

Method. This narrative culture-inspired project is the report of a descriptive study that included a review of current literature related to racial and multicultural issues in organizational development in the context of a theological study of unity in diversity. The document includes responses to a survey distributed to core members of the All Nations Church in Berrien Springs, the multicultural congregation that served as the target population. Interviews were conducted that included leaders and individuals who contributed to the formation of the All Nations Church and those who thought contrary to the need for its existence. Results The survey and interviews identified some of the successes and failures of establishing a multicultural church in the context of the All Nations Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Given a study by DeYoung, Emerson, Yancey, and Kim (2003, p. 165), a multicultural church congregations can be divided into assimilated, pluralist, and integrated multiracial congregations. The study indicated that the current status of the All Nations Church falls between pluralist and integrated.

Conclusion. For the past 32 years, the All Nations Church has claimed its reason for existence to be that of an intentionally multicultural Seventh-day Adventist church, under the auspices of the Lake Region Conference. The pioneers of the All Nations Church saw the need in the community for a multicultural church but the idea of establishing such a church was going against the tide of public opinion. Presently, it seems that some of the reasons for establishing such a congregation have disappeared, but the members indicate that it still serves the original purpose, but the opinions are still mixed as to whether or not the church can be declared a success.

Subject Area

Multiculturalism--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists, Cultural pluralism

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