Home Outreach Leaders Why Christians Should Care About Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)

Why Christians Should Care About Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)

Thought + Action

In his Rediscipling the White Church, David Swanson writes, “Before white churches pursue racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity as the solution to our segregation, we must first address the discipleship that led to our segregation in the first place.” The bottom line—as we work to integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in our churches and organizations, we must ensure that our hearts align with our actions. And often that starts with reconciling our history with the present so that we can look to the future. Thus, we cannot change our orthodoxy without taking a serious look at our orthopraxy—and vice versa. 

When Jesus came to earth to die on a cross, he didn’t just do it to break the bonds of sin and death. What he did was something much more comprehensive—he created a pathway for us to walk with him throughout each moment of our lives. To belong again in his Kingdom just as we did originally in the garden. We don’t just belong with him in heaven, we all belong with him now, today, regardless of how different we look or think than other people. 

When our theology of God’s reconciling work moves from heaven to earth—from “your kingdom is up there and we are here” to something more like the Lord’s Prayer— “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”—our blinders will begin to fall. We will pray that the equity found in heaven will be found and experienced here, on earth. That the diversity in the life to come (Rev. 7:9) will be realized in the life we live right here.

This is no small feat. As research shows, nearly 80 percent of businesses are failing in their efforts at DEIB. But they are trying. Can we say the same thing? Can our churches and Christian institutions? Are we trying to be a people who pray and live as though God actually does want his kingdom to come here on earth? Do we volunteer at our local shelters and show up to the anti-suicide rallies? Do we listen to the hard conversations around race and sexuality with open ears and open hearts? Are we people of safety for those wounded by our world? Are we salt and light in a world that seems increasingly dark and divided?

Indeed, significant shifting is occurring in the religious and cultural landscape of the U.S. today. The question is: Will we hide in fear, or will we step into the wind and join God as he invites more and more people from every nation, tribe, tongue, belief system, gender, and ability into his family? 

We can use the language and questions of this cultural moment to point people to true belonging in God’s kingdom

No, DEIB isn’t a four-letter word. But it may just be the most important acronym we embrace to become a people, in Christ’s likeness, who are successful in inviting a changing world and increasingly diverse people who don’t yet know they belong to finally find a home in Jesus.