The Homogeneous Unit Principle (HUP) was devised by Donald A. McGavran back in the early 1970s. McGavran was the child of missionaries, and a missionary himself. He is recognized as the founding father of the Church Growth Movement in the 1950s, and became dean of the School of Missions of Fuller Seminary in 1965. The impetus behind the development of HUP was his interest to discern the most effective means of spreading the gospel of Christ. McGavran observed, “Human society is necessarily a mosaic of homogeneous units and all Christianization must take account of the fact.”
A homogeneous unit is a group of people who share a common characteristic, that is, an ethnicity. The Homogeneous Unit Principle states that people become Christians and join churches more readily within a homogeneous unit, where taking that step of faith does not require them to cross ethnic lines.
McGavran was formulating his principle right on the heels of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It was becoming increasingly unpopular to argue that segregation into homogeneous units was something to be desired. All that McGavran ever wanted was for people to become Christians and for the church to grow. He found an effective principle …
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