One of the surprising insights from this data is that the largest ethnic demographic among churches in this megaregion are Hispanic. One would have expected Black/African-American.
About 9% of the membership is found in an ethnic church, which comprises about 15% of the churches.
Only one out of five (21%) ethnic churches have more than 75 in worship attendance, or a sustainable congregation that would be able to pay for space, a senior pastor, and missional endeavors. I do not think this kind of church entity is the goal, necessarily, and if it is not then more organic approaches to church multiplication will need to be considered. This is not just the situation among ethnic churches but across the board among all types of church demographics.
Two-thirds of the ethnically-designated congregations are in the North Carolina, South Carolina,, Tennessee and Mississippi. Opinion alert: I think that the ethnic designation needs to be dropped. I would favor a way for local church pastors to report churches by how many languages are spoken rather than by ethnicity or race.
Every time I teach Gospel and Culture, I'm amazed at the range and scope of the topics chosen by students for the Critical Contextualization Project. They choose a belief, practice or symbol from a religion or cultural group and followed Paul Hiebert's four-step process of critical contextualization (Understanding Folk Religiions (2000): 21-29). They presented this week briefly in class and wrote a 3,000 word research paper using an adapted form of Hiebert's process:
Phenomenological Analysis (what in the world is it),
Ontological Critique (compare and contrast with other cultures and religions),
Theological Evaluation (what the Bible and theological sources have to say about it if anything),
Missiological Transformation (how to respond with the Gospel if encountered in mission and ministry).
Here are the topics my 33 students covered this year:
Here is a list of books I use as required reading regularly in my courses at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Merry Christmas!
There are 27 books representing eleven courses. There are 32 authors. Only four are women. Five are non-white or persons of color.
I might be doing some curriculum revision so I wanted to see all at once what my required reading list looks like.