Become Comfortable With Other Languages: Encouraging Diversity In Your Church

General

English isn’t the only language in the world. We as western Christians can sometimes get protective about our language or even forget the importance of other languages. We may sometimes feel that if people are worshipping in our churches, then they should worship in our language and our culture. These feelings may be well-intentioned, or at least not meant to be exclusive, but many people from diverse cultures feel otherwise.

Simply by making it well known that your church desires church-goers to worship and pray in their own language allows for a more welcome environment for those who are from different cultures. If a church makes it clear that they not only allow but desire worshippers to speak in other languages during church, then that church is more inviting to many different cultures.

If you have people who can speak another language, don’t be afraid to let them speak in their native tongues as they lead prayer or something else. Consider having translators during church service who can translate the sermon for those not well-versed in English. There is special audio equipment that can be used for translation that will not disrupt others in the service. This can be an investment, but allowing for translators makes the worship service accessible for nearly anyone; especially those who feel isolated or alienated because they do not know English well. Translators during the main services allows the many different cultures to intermingle. Diversity and inclusion is better fostered in this type of environment than if your church created a whole new service for a different culture. Typically, those separate services divide the church rather than bring it together.

Along with praying, introduce worship songs of the language of the diverse cultures around your church. For example, including a Spanish-language song in your service will both help Spanish speakers feel more at home as well as broaden the cultural horizons of the church’s non-Spanish-speaking members. This shows the overall church body that we as Western Christians are not self-absorbed in our expression of worship only, but that we are interested in others.

Watch this video from Proskuneo Ministries so you can get a better idea of how worship in other languages will work.

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