Understanding the Diaspora Church

Cross-cultural diffusion of the Gospel through people on the move.

What is the Diaspora Church?

Millions of people live and work outside their homeland due to economic, social, political, or environmental reasons. Migration has had and continues to have a profound impact on the global church. In fact, the Christian faith in all of its history has involved displacement and migration. Today, there are Christians in every geopolitical entity in the world, often called the diaspora church.

Diaspora refers to dispersed people who find themselves other than where they were born. “Diaspora” was originally a biblical word meaning “dispersed” as a farmer would sow and scatter seeds, but “diaspora” was later applied too forcefully displaced people, especially the Jewish diaspora. In the first century, the Jewish diaspora influenced the trajectory of Christianity and shaped the growth and expansion of the church. More recently “diaspora” refers to displaced people in general.

For hundreds of years now, America has been a nation of immigrants. The same continues to be true today. While the U.S. is not the most ethnically diverse country in the world, there is more ethnic diversity present in the U.S. than in any other country in the world. Each migration and influx of immigrants brings with its religious faith and moral values. In recent years, we have seen the explosive growth of Christianity in the global south. As a result of forced migration and missionary movements from the global south, the face of global and American Christianity is again changing. We can expect that there will continue to be people moving out from Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

The Impact of the Diaspora Church

As America becomes more global, American Christianity becomes more global. …

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