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Church Planting resources arranged by topic
Unique people group resources and places in need of churches
A. Country of Origin- The term “German” is used in an
ethno-cultural sense to include immigrants who speak German as their primary
language. Many came from such countries as Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg,
Russia, France, Italy, Denmark, and Poland. German-Americans make up
the largest ethnic group in the United States.
B. Language(s) - German is the official language. However, the German
taught in school and used in the media often differs from the German spoken
daily. Dialects vary from area to area. In fact, a German from Bonn or
Hannover may have trouble understanding a person from Munich (München),
where Bavarian or Halle (Saxon) is spoken.
C. Religious Background - Germany is essentially a Christian, but
secular, society. About 34 percent of the population belongs to the Roman
Catholic Church; 38 percent is Protestant (mostly Lutheran); and two
percent is Muslim. A number of other Christian denominations are active
throughout the country.
D. Southern Baptist Work - Konrad A. Fleischmann, a German-born Baptist
preacher, was considered the first missionary among the German-speaking
population in the United States. In 1893, Marie Buhlmaier, at the urging of the
First German Baptist Church, Baltimore, Maryland, Annie Armstrong, and the
former Home Mission Board (now the
North American Mission Board), began a work among the German immigrants
arriving in Baltimore.
E. Past Challenges - Germans tend to blend in with the society at large,
becoming invisible ethnics, and hard to minister to.
G. Past Immigration Patterns - The first German settlers arrived at
Jamestown, Virginia, in October 1608. They became the first
craftsmen to manufacture glass, soap, and other products in
America. On October 6, 1683, Franz Daniel Pastorius, considered the
"Father of German Immigration," founded the first permanent all-German
settlement in North America at Germantown, Pennsylvania. The first
large wave of German immigration resulted from the French invasion of southwest
Germany during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), which left
much of the region in ruins.
By 1790, German-Americans made up one-tenth of the total U.S.
population. Five million German-speaking immigrants came to
the United States between 1800 and 1900. German immigration increased
substantially during the 1830s and 1840s, when Germany was rocked by
revolutions aimed to unite the German states under a republican form of
government like that of the United States. The failure of these revolutions
caused thousands of Germans to immigrate to America. Many of these
immigrants moved to the western frontier in the Ohio and Mississippi River
After the Civil War, German-Americans helped build the rapidly industrializing
nation, making important contributions in agriculture, business, and industry.
Carl Schurz became the first German-born member of a presidential cabinet when
Rutherford B. Hayes appointed him Secretary of the Interior in 1877. Other
German-Americans won election to Congress and to state and local offices across
the country. In the 1930s, the rise of National Socialism, or Nazism, in
Germany drove more Germans to immigrate to the United States, including
German Jews, intellectuals, and opponents of the Nazi regime. Another massive
wave of immigration occurred after World War II ended in 1945. Most of these
immigrants came from eastern and southeastern Europe, where millions of Germans
had been expelled. Large numbers of Germans continued to immigrate to the
United States throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The ethnic heritage revival
of the 1970s in the United States fostered interest in cultural roots,
family history, and ethnic origins, encouraging a renewal of pride in German
heritage. II. Current/Future Challenges
A. Population - According to the 1990 U.S. census, almost 60 million
Americans, or roughly one-fourth of the nation's total population, claim German
ancestry. Today's German-Americans are descendants of the approximately 8
million German-speakers who immigrated to the United States, the majority
of who arrived in the nineteenth century. Most German-Americans live in the
"German Belt," the 21 states where they constitute more than one-fourth of the
population. These states are Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio,
Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North
Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho,
Oregon, and Washington.
B. Present Immigration Patterns - Today, some German-Americans reside in
rural areas working on the same land their families settled in the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries. Since the end of World War II, the majority of
German-Americans who lived in urban areas moved from the inner cities to the
suburbs. As a result, urban German communities no longer congregate in
geographically defined neighborhoods as in the past, but center around
community organizations and institutions.
A 1998 United States Bureau of the Census study showed that in 1990, there were
806,936 German foreign-born persons in the United States. A total of 93,772
persons entered the United Stats between 1980 and 1990. Among the
employed persons 16 years of age and over -23,049,474 in total - 6.4 million
were employed in managerial and professional fields.
C. Church Planting - Today, there are distinct German-speaking Baptist
works in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Cary,
North Carolina; and a German Bible class at First Baptist Church in
E. Family Life
Education is a source of pride, especially in the areas of technology and
craftsmanship. The states administer public education. Preschool begins around
age four. Full-time schooling is mandatory between the ages of six and 15, and
part- or full-time schooling continues on a chosen track until age 18. Students
may enter a job-training program, train for specific professional careers, or
study to enter a university.
• Non published-Individual research
done by Mark Hobafcovich.
• “German Americans” by Mark Hobafcovich, Profiles of People Groups in North
• Culturegrams 2002: www.culturegrams.com
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