The need for multicultural ministry

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Data Presentation and Analysis

Introduction

The challenge of multiculturalism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Zimbabwe needs to be investigated and analysed in the ecclesiological context of the country. Firstly, the primary audience for the questionnaire and the interview were the leaders, members of the minority churches, members, from the former Zambezi Conference, pastors and lay members. These respondents were requested to air their views on how they feel the church could handle the issues of evangelism and integration in the context of interracial worship. Secondly, the current situation and position of the church on multiculturalism was evaluated from both the members and leaders of the Church. Thirdly, one questionnaire was directed to other denominations in order to glean some lessons on how they have dealt with the issue of evangelism and integration of the minority groups since independence.

Sampling and Sample Frame

Since these responses came from the leadership of the church, which is directly involved in the ministry, it is very critical to pay attention to the observations rendered by this group. Most probably, one could note that a degree of appreciation to the work currently being done in the ministry to the minority groups needs appraisal. However, it is also critically important to note that, 58,3% of the leaders felt that the church was not effective in reaching out to the minority groups. Since this is the largest number of the respondents, it becomes clear that, the current situation as far as the outreach to the minority groups is concerned still leaves a lot to be desired. Apparently, the majority responses (58,3%) suggest there may be a lot of room for improvement in this ministry.
The fourth responses allowed the respondents to opt for other alternatives. 36 respondents selected this option and supported it with explanations. Some of the 36 felt that the current focus of programmes and financial support are more focused on the majority of the population rather than the minority groups. On the other hand, some respondents cited prejudice and the general tendency of the minority groups, especially whites to prefer seclusion rather than integration. More importantly, others noted both the political instability of the country and the resultant lack of sensitivity on the part of the black majority as contributory factors. The general rhetoric and repeated discourses on the historical demise of the white dominance is not only verbalised, but it is also displayed in attitudes as well.
In addition, respondents noted that interaction between the minority groups and the black majority was curtailed if not completely distorted. Whites in particular do not feel comfortable in Zimbabwe. Therefore, one would need to think about bridging the gap of mistrust before even imagining evangelisation and integration. As a result, the challenge seems to be social, political and economical, before it is could be considered on religious or spiritual grounds.
Furthermore, other respondents cited culture or customs as stumbling blocks in reaching out to the minority groups. According to these respondents, cultural differences played a major role in creating huge gaps between the majority of blacks and their minority counterparts, even though they are all Zimbabweans. This cultural gulf has further been compounded and widened by the prevailing political environment. Consequently, the second question sought to establish the leaders’ perspectives on the issue of integration.
Figure 4.2 shows that there is a great challenge in racial integration within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. From appendix A: table (b), 66,7% of the leaders agree that, there are integration challenges while 33,3% see no racial integration challenges. Those who felt that integration was a challenge for the church noted that it was difficult to focus on the minority groups without appearing as either exclusive or racist. Further, those who admitted that integration posed a challenge enumerated a number of factors as major contributors to the challenge. For example, social stratification, education, financial abilities, social distance, discrimination and the political history of Zimbabwe were mentioned as major stumbling blocks to integration in the church. Again, other respondents strongly felt that it was difficult to integrate people of different cultures. In addition, others still felt that language was a barrier against effective integration of the races in the church. Some who felt that integration was not a challenge reasoned that since blacks and coloureds were currently worshipping together, they did not see any problem. However, they did not state what they thought about the other minority groups such as the Asians, Chinese and the whites. Having established the respondents’ perspectives on the issue of integration as a challenge to the church, the next question focuses on the programmes specifically aimed or targeted at this minority groups. The intent and objective of this question is specific to the evangelisation of the minority groups. Logically, if the respondents admit that there is a challenge, they agree with the hypothesis of this research thesis.
Figure 4.3 shows the respondents were almost equally divided between having and not having the programmes. In appendix A: table (c), 52,8% of leaders claimed to have programmes in their churches and 47,2 % claimed not to have any specific targeted programmes. These are programmes, which have elicited at least a reasonable response from the minority groups. Since, the churches surveyed are meant to reach out to the minority groups, about 47,2% leaders argue that they do not have such programme is a further cause for concern. If these specific churches do not deliberately plan and execute the programmes, which reverberate and resonate with the minority groups’ cultural psyche, how else do they hope to attract and win them to Christ? These are some of the questions, which confront one in the attempt to grapple with this challenge.
In support of the response required on relevant programmes, the last part of the question requested the respondent to mention the types of programmes they used to reach out to the minority groups within their vicinity. Among many others, these were the commonly mentioned: health expos and stop smoking seminars, distribution of church literature, women’s ministries social programmes, door to door witnessing, Bible studies, evangelistic campaigns and outreaches to old people’s homes.
The next question deals with integration as it pertains to worship. While the other questions sought to elicit appropriate responses on the outreach to the minority groups, the fourth question concerns itself with the second part of the research question, namely integration. This part of the questionnaire is important because it focuses on the historical challenge posed by segregated churches. Therefore, an interrogation of the issue on the worship level could provide some clues for further mitigation and exploration of the challenge. While the question is basically a closed one, it opens and gives room for narration by asking the respondents to support their responses.
The respondents who did not see any challenges of integration in worship argued that since English was used as the official language in liturgy and worship, as such no challenges were envisaged. Further, the same respondents felt that so far they had not encountered any integration problems in their worship experience. On the other hand, those who have admitted the existence of challenges of integration in worship reiterate that sometimes the majority of black members backtrack on their promises to keep to the English language and use vernacular languages instead. This is especially true when dealing with sporadic worship where choruses are sung in the place of the traditional hymnals. Still, others observed that cultural differences result in each group preferring its own style of worship which may not necessarily appeal to the other racial group. In addition, other respondents argued that the minority groups still cherished attitudes of resistance, superiority, indifference, suspicion and even hostility. Again, the socio-political and economic situation is cited as the major culprit in worsening the interracial engagements in Zimbabwe.
The final question on this section is an open one and it intends to allow the respondents to explore the subject in an open and wide framework. While closed questions restrict the respondents to suggested responses, open questions allow the respondents to narrate their experiences and in the process the researcher gains more insight into the possible solutions to the problem.

Suggestions by leaders to the ministry

The presupposition of this question stems from the historical context of this ministry in Zimbabwe. The ministry to the minority groups in Zimbabwe is now more than twenty years old. Therefore, since this question is directed to the church leaders, their personal experiences and rich cannot be ignored if one needs to seriously analyse the challenges of evangelising and integrating minorities in Zimbabwe.
Several suggestions have been advanced in the light of improving the current ministry to the minority groups. One of the mostly repeated responses deals with employment of personnel from the targeted minority groups. Coupled with this suggestion was the issue of using the members who are already Seventh-day Adventists to outreach to their own people. It was further suggested that there is an urgent need to teach the church members to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Above that, others suggested that the church needs to try and reach the minority first on a social level and interaction before engaging with them on a theological basis. Another valuable suggestion was that of working in smaller groups. Whereas the organised church works with larger groups, why not work in the context of smaller groups for the minority groups? Finally, some respondents suggested the need for prayer for the change of attitudes for all the races so that the Spirit of God can work. When one recalls that this is spiritual matter such a suggestion cannot be overlooked.

Results from Church members

This questionnaire was answered by the members who are currently worshipping within the churches designated as minority group churches. While the questionnaire sent to the leaders had a specific focus, the questionnaire for the general members was formulated with a definite objective in mind. Some of the questions are somewhat similar for the sake of comparison, however others are completely different. In each case the level of exposure and experience between a general member and that of leaders at different levels are considered so that the totality of the responses is brought to bear on the ultimate conclusions drawn from the discussions and suggestions. The voice of the church needs to be heard from both those in the upper part of the ecclesiological hierarchy and those below it. In this case the leadership represents the upper part of the church structure while the members represent grass root levels.
Q1. What do  you think should be done in order to win different  races into the Seventh-day Adventist Church?
The general theme of unity runs throughout the entire discourse of this important question. It seems unfathomable to these members even to imagine separation of churches on the basis of race, tribe, gender, class, ethnicity, and any other external distinction at this stage of the history of the church in Zimbabwe. One respondent strongly wrote, “we should be careful not to strengthen prejudice”. Appendix B: table (a), shows that about 15,6% of the members prefer separate services or separate churches for each group. However the majority of respondents would favour a situation of a united church rather than segregated churches. The second question for members concerns the effectiveness of the ministry in the current model.
Since this question is similar to the one given to the leaders, it would be interesting to compare the responses between the two groups.
Q2. How effective is the ministry in reaching out to minority groups?
A Chi-square test of independence was performed to test whether responses between the two groups on the issue of effectiveness of outreach programmes to minority groups differed.

ACKNOWLEGDEMENTS
DECLARATION
DEDICATION
ABBREVIATIONS
SUMMARY
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF TABLES
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND RESEARCH QUESTION
1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.1 THE MINORITY GROUPS LANDSCAPE IN ZIMBABWE
1.2 THE KNOWLEDGE GAP
1.3 RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY
1.4 KEY TERMS IN THE RESEARCH
1.5 METHODOLOGY
1.6 DEMARCATION OF THE STUDY
1.7 SOURCES FOR THE STUDY
1.9 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.10. SEQUENCE OF CHAPTERS
CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR MULTICULTURAL MINISTRIES 
2.0 INTRODUCTION
2.1 THE NEED FOR MULTICULTURAL MINISTRY
2.2 THE HOMOGENEOUS UNIT PRINCIPLE
2.3 THE HETEROGENEOUS APPROACH
2.4 God Sends Israel As Missionaries To All The Other Nations
2.5 Inclusion As Unity In Diversity
2.6 THE ANTIOCHIAN MODEL: A PROPOSOSAL FOR MULTICULTURAL MINISTRIES IN ZIMBABWE
2.7 The Antiochian Model: Application to the Zimbabwean Context
2.6 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 3 CONTEXTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES HAMPERING ORGANIC UNITY 
3.0 INTRODUCTION
3.1 COLONIAL FOUNDATIONS PRE-1980
3.2 INDEPENDENT ZIMBABWE: THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS
3.3 ZIMBABWE SINCE THE YEAR 2000
3.4 POLITICO-RELIGIOUS CHALLENGES
3.5 MULTICULTURALISM AND RACIAL AND ETHNIC DIFFERENCES TODAY
3.6 CONSEQUENCES FOR CHURCH UNITY IN ZIMBABWE
3.7 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 4 DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS 
4.0 INTRODUCTION
4.1 SAMPLING AND SAMPLE FRAME
4.2 RESEARCH FINDINGS FROM THE LEADERS
4.3 DISCUSSION OF THE FINDINGS
4.4 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 5 RESEARCH FINDINGS AND RECOMMENATIONS 
5.0 INTRODUCTION
5.1 THE NATURE OF THE CHALLENGE
5.2 EXTERNAL CHALLENGES
5.3 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS FROM THE ANALYSIS OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE
5.4 RECOMMENDATIONS
5.5 DEALING WITH THE CHALLENGES IN THE CHURCH
5. 7. CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY 
APPENDICES

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CHALLENGES IN THE SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IN ZIMBABWE IN INTERGRATING AND EVANGELISING MINORITY GROUPS AFTER INDEPENDENCE

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