Our Mission

What's New

Ethnic Church List

Who Lives in Your State?

People Group Info

Creative Ministry Ideas

Links and Resources

Contact Us

Search Our Site

Evangelization Across Cultures in the United States:
What to Do With the World Come to Us?

by David F. D'Amico

III. Selected Data of Cross-Cultural Evangelization

The efforts of cross-cultural evangelization among foreign born nationals in the United States started in the late nineteenth century. During the first decades of the twentieth century "immigrant" churches of Europeans were organized from mainline and some evangelical denominations. Many of them were disbanded, especially in the Northeast, when immigrant populations were assimilated with the prevailing culture.

Evangelical denominations became more aware of the opportunities of evangelizing foreign born nationals after World War II. Southern Baptists have been at the vanguard in cross-cultural evangelization. The pattern of evangelization has followed, in general terms, the homogeneous unit principle of church growth, whether intentionally or unknowingly. Church growth analysts have lauded Southern Baptists as the most integrated denomination in the United States because of their evangelization efforts among more than one hundred different language culture groups.23

A brief overview of the cross-cultural evangelization data among Southern Baptists is presented here highlighting only, due to limited space, the largest ethnic groups. It reflects the decade of the 1990s.

A conservative estimate based on current data indicates that there are at least 4,000 units or congregations among 101 ethnic groups and 97 American Indian tribes utilizing 98 different languages. The ethnic groups and the number of congregations are: Hispanic (1578), American Indian (478), Deaf (477), Korean (400), Chinese (159), French (150), Vietnamese (89) Filipino (58), and Haitian (48).24 During 1991, 466 new units were established and during the decade from 1980 to 1990 all the ethnic congregations in cooperation with the SBC experienced a growth rate of 147 percent.

Other evangelical denominations such as American Baptists, Nazarenes, Church of God, Assemblies of God and a number of independent congregations are also evangelizing foreign nationals in the United States with significant achievements for God's kingdom. The North American Committee of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization sponsored a significant meeting in 1985 called "Houston 85: The National Convocation on Evangelizing Ethnic America." As Randy Frame reports, "It was the major consultation of its kind to be held in the United States. More than 47 Protestant denominations and organizations were represented, with nearly 700 registrants representing 63 language/culture groups."25

I. Evangelization Across Cultures in the United States

II. Understanding the Context

III. Selected Data of Cross-Cultural Evangelization

IV. Analysis of Selected Cultural/Ecclesiological Enclaves

V. Envisioning the Future: Theological Issues

VI. Envisioning the Future: Missiological Issues

VII. Envisioning the Future: Ecclesiological Issues


23. Peter Wagner, Church Growth and the Whole Gospel (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981), p. 180.

24. Language Church Extension Division, HMB, SBC. Co-Laborers: Achievements, Projections (Atlanta: Home Mission Board, SBC, 1992), pp. 5, 14. For a brief survey of the advance of Haitian congregations in New York, see David F. D'Amico, "Ethnic Urban Church Growth Among Southern Baptists in New York: A Case Study," Growing Churches, 2 (July-September, 1992), pp. 61-63.

25. Randy Frame, "Church Leaders Challenge the Notion that America is a Melting Pot," Christianity Today, May 17, 1985, p. 40.

(c)Review and Expositor, 90 (Winter, 1993): 83-99; Used with permission.

Please send comments, questions, responses to the author at: 103063.3542@Compuserve.com

Copyright © 1999-2015 Ethnic Harvest. All rights reserved.

Back to Ethnic Harvest site map