Artwork for podcast Our Urban Voices
#90. Churches Embracing Change: Ethnic & Cultural Diversity
Episode 905th December 2023 • Our Urban Voices • Dr. Alfonse Javed
00:00:00 00:33:16

Share Episode


Pastor Mark Lee sharing on pastoring a church to change and grow in a culturally diverse community.

Churches are declining in the United States. What can be done to replant and grow a declining church?

Pastor Mark Lee has served at Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church since 2019. He is leading his congregation in embracing and engaging the ethnically diverse community around them.


  • Contributing factors to the decline of traditional American churches
  • Making diversity a focal point
  • Challenges for churches in embracing diversity


Pastor Mark Lee has served at Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church since 2019. He is a Graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. Mark is married to Minah and they have three adult children– a daughter and two sons.



01:53 - Pastor Mark Lee introduction

03:55 - Doctoral dissertation is the background of this conversation

04:24 - Disturbing trend in traditional American churches

04:37 - Biggest trend: membership and attendance below 50%

04:56 - Membership and attendance declining for the past 30 years

06:07 - Churches can't afford full-time pastors

06:43 - These trends are on a national level

07:12 - Major contributing factors to these trends

08:14 - Refusal to change

08:23 - Change to attracting younger families

08:42 - Move from a heavily liturgical worship service

09:06 - to a more blended worship service

09:22 - One of the main reasons is that churches are not willing to change

09:35 - Change and adapt

10:18 - Change needs to take place

10:33 - Homogeneous Unit Principle: helping or hurting church growth?

11:45 - Transformation of community demographics

12:22 - but, the church did not change with the community changes

12:35 - Need to embrace the cultural and ethnic diversity of the community

13:09 - Making diversity a focal point

13:41 - Tried and True no longer effective

13:58 - Churches not just declining, but closing

14:47 - Build it and they will come - church was the center of community fellowship

15:10 - Families changing time commitments and priorities

16:03 - Life is more difficult and faster

18:07 - Commitment levels changed

19:45 - Today's busy lifestyle

20:27 - Challenges for churches in embracing diversity

20:41 - Historical perceptions

21:20 - Younger families

21:52 - Slow process

22:28 - Start new church vs Rebuild old church

24:37 - Physical church appearance

27:58 - Short-term and long-term implications of a church embracing diversity

28:07 - Short-term

30:16 - Long-term