Recently the phrase ‘multicultural church’ seems to have been overtaken by ‘intercultural church’. What’s the difference and does it matter?
‘Multicultural’ refers to different groups living alongside each other, co-existing but not necessarily interacting. ‘Intercultural’ refers to the mixing of groups, with deeper understanding and respect, where everyone is changed by the experience.
For example: a multicultural church might have an English speaking congregation at 10am on Sunday and a Farsi speaking congregation at 4pm. An intercultural church might have one meeting, with some worship songs in English and some in Farsi (or maybe a verse and a chorus in each!) and with mixed home groups.
“In an intercultural society, no one is left unchanged because everyone learns from one another and grows together.” – Paula Schriefer, Spring Institute
- Read Revelation 7.
- Do you think ‘multicultural’ or ‘intercultural’ better fit this vision of heaven? Why?
- What are some of the joys and some of the challenges in becoming more intercultural in the local church?
If you’re intrigued and attracted by the idea of increasing interculturalism in your church or community, please join our team for our next central course where we will hear from brothers and sisters from a Muslim background about their experiences of joining the church, and discuss and explore these issues.