Jump directly to the Content

Down with the Homogeneous Unit Principle?

Can we call our church model "biblical" if we're not reaching out to everyone?

Ninety-five percent African American, five percent other. These are the demographics of the Chicago neighborhood where our three-month-old church has been planted. I am "other." White. One hundred percent white. As the pastor of this young church plant, I have lost sleep over these percentages.

Most of the church planting models and examples I've been exposed to are very different from my current cross-cultural experience. In the recent past, the Homogeneous Unit Principle (HUP) was viewed positively as the rationale for starting churches of demographically similar people. This principle states that it is easier for people to become Christians when they must cross few or no racial, linguistic, or class barriers. Ideally, then, these new churches were led by pastors whose culture, class, and skin color closely matched those of their flocks.

The HUP is seen less favorably these days, but it remains common for church planters to target culturally similar people. Categories such as cultural ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

November
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
The Atheist Diaries
The Atheist Diaries
Selling his soul on eBay allowed one man to encounter Christianity in a new way.
From the Magazine
Empty Pews Are an American Public Health Crisis
Empty Pews Are an American Public Health Crisis
Americans are rapidly giving up on church. Our minds and bodies will pay the price.
Editor's Pick
Ten Percent Won’t Work for Everyone
Ten Percent Won’t Work for Everyone
The New Testament suggests that different Christians should give different portions of their income to the Lord.
close