Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Gary Bredfeldt


Christian, culture, implicit bias, church, multi-ethnic, leader


Leadership Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


Much research has been conducted in recent years concerning implicit bias. Banaji and Greenwald (2016) tell readers that even good people can have some form and level of implicit bias, including implicit ethnic bias (Banaji & Greenwald, 2016). While ethnically based implicit bias has been studied in education and business, the effects of ethnically based implicit bias in churches have only recently come to the forefront. Christian pastors need a good understanding of these implicit biases and how these phenomena may have been, and may still be, operating in their local multi-ethnic church body, preventing them from becoming a successful multi-ethnic church. Further, research was needed to better understand how implicit ethnic bias in the Church may ultimately be affecting the call of the Great Commission. This study utilized qualitative interviews as the means of data collection. Seven Christian pastors, from around the United States, who pastor multi-ethnic churches participated in one-on-one interviews. Six research questions guided the study. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the best practices of successful multi-ethnic American churches that contribute to effectively overcoming ethnically based implicit biases amongst leadership and congregants. The theories guiding this study were Implicit Bias Theory and Cognizant Dissonance theory.