Churches Should Not Be Monocultural: How One Pastor is Healing Cultural Divides

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Churches Should Not Be Monocultural: How One Pastor is Healing Cultural Divides. A new book from Dr. Rick Snyder, "Making the Intercultural Journey", invites monocultural churches to begin a journey. There is a need for churches to consciously cross cultural boundaries, creating intentional safe space.

A new book from Dr. Rick Snyder, Making the Intercultural Journey, invites monocultural churches to begin a journey of interacting more deeply with their local communities. During his time in a Champaign, IL pastorate, Dr. Rick Snyder and his congregation went on an intercultural journey with new Congolese members. Early on, he recognized the need for the church to not only meet people where they were, but to also consciously cross-cultural boundaries, creating intentional space for community.

In our increasingly polarized culture, the church should play a crucial role in reconciliation. After all, the Christian church believes in a God who desires to build bridges and heal divisions—Jesus himself facilitates this reconciliation in his own work by intentionally reaching out to untended members of the community, he set a clear path for the church to follow. But sadly, churches today are overwhelmingly monocultural, struggling to follow the path laid out for them. Instead of reflecting God’s call for diversity, they find themselves increasingly reflective of our culture’s inclination towards tribalism.

The challenge with monocultural churches, as Dr. Snyder has written, is that they struggle to cross class and racial boundaries. Mutuality between communities is lacking, leading to the inevitable truth that some people are, quite simply, left behind. It is an uncomfortable truth, one that requires the church community to be vulnerable and open to its shortcomings and stigmas. Rev. S. Balajiedlang Khyllep, associate director of World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, says, “The authors acknowledge the complexity and danger of participating in any intercultural engagement without careful consideration of the cultural differences of those involved, the vision and purpose of such an engagement and the willingness to embrace and adapt to the possible outcome.” And so we come to the question the book seeks to answer: How can churches become agents of cultural healing?

One of our greatest forms of witness is the quality of our love for one another, especially for those who are different from us. The church cannot begin to unravel the knot of monoculture without first recognizing the lack of attention paid to certain communities. “We need this book to awaken us to be the United Church in Christ,” writes Ebralie Mwizerwa, Co-Founder of Legacy Mission Village. The great work of Dr. Snyder’s book lies in its ability to dig deeply into the core of the issue: the church has been slow to respond to the needs of its people.

For those churches who want to start the journey of becoming more intercultural, Dr. Rick Snyder has released a free eBook, 10 Questions for Monocultural Churches Who Want to Become Intercultural. In it, Dr. Snyder has gathered ten thought-provoking questions, inviting readers to enter into a space of vulnerability in which they can truthfully reflect on the history of their church in the hopes of forging a new future. It takes courage to face these questions, but without an honest look at the current dynamics of the church, the work cannot be done.

The monocultural church has not caught up to addressing the needs of today’s world—a world that continues to grapple with class and racial division. Says Khyllep, “This book speaks to the difficult realities facing our churches and our country as we navigate through cultural differences and offer helpful strategies and resources on how to engage in an often-messy cross-cultural ministry with mutual respect, learning and growing.” Asking ourselves these questions is the first step to becoming intercultural, the rewards of which are God’s grace and transformation, not just in the life of the church, but in the life of the individual as well.

To download the free eBook or to order copies of Making the Intercultural Journey, visit

Release ID: 89065796