Often, I am asked to explain the difference between assimilation and accommodation as an attitude that drives the multi-ethnic church. This is dealt with at greater length in my book, but here's the short answer ...
Assimilation says, “I will help you change to fit in.” Accommodation says, “I will change to help you fit in.” Assimilation suggests, “You need to check your minority culture at the door to become a part of the majority culture of this church.” With accommodation, the onus is on the majority culture of a particular church to change and/or adapt itself so that others will feel welcomed and included, a significant part of the whole.
This is a crucial point to understand if you hope to build a healthy multi-ethnic church.
Many well-meaning people will say, “Our church welcomes anyone to come and join us.” But, frankly, they haven’t thought it through. In most instances, what such a statement really means is that we’re open to anyone attending, as long as they like the way we do things.
However, I am not suggesting that we should accommodate theological differences. Only that we should openly accommodate everything else: forms, food, the color of dolls in our nurseries, the language on our signs, anything that comes with people’s culture. You cannot nor should you seek to divorce culture from the diverse people coming in to your church.