Globalization and the Language of Worship: Is the Spread of English a Boon or a Bane?


  • Marcus Dean Houghton College


Modern missions has long emphasized the importance of the heart language of a people for the Church. In this age of globalization, English is often put forward as a Lingua Franca for much of the world. Likewise, in recent years, there has been a growing use by Evangelicals of English as a tool for outreach and ministry. While most of us in missions have benefited at some point by the widespread use of English, what impact does English usage have in peoples’ spiritual lives? Little has actually been done to explore how people are influenced spiritually by the use of English in the Church and in worship. This article is the result of study done in three contexts to begin to explore what impact if any the widespread use of English in the Church and missions has had in the life and thought of individual Christians. Is there a negative impact or crisis in the globalization of English in the Church?

Author Biography

Marcus Dean, Houghton College

Professor of Intercultural Studies and Missions; Chair, Global Studies Department; Director of Off-Campus Studies