I’m often asked, “How do we make our church diverse?” The answer to that question can be somewhat lengthy depending on where you are in the process. But I love simple processes so I like to tell leaders and pastors you need to do…
Those that come in your church, small group, or meeting must “See” diversity. You have to start somewhere, so I suggest an “all out” plan to accomplish this. That means you as the leader and those involved go all out:
- Praying – Praying in your cities, neighborhoods, and personal times. You need to see this as a battle to change the status quo, an assault on a stronghold of the enemy to keep the Bride of Christ divided.
- Playing– Go “all out” and look for opportunities to learn and engage those from different cultures. Be very intentional about developing relationships. Caution: Never as a means to an end, then you are just using people! No! I’m talking about a genuine heart of love and a passion to see your city won by your church “reflecting” its city ethnically.
The stage, the platform, the one leading the group, or taking some role in the leadership is vital. This is where legitimacy and authenticity is birthed. You will never be seen as a church or organization that is serious about beginning a true multi-ethnic or ethnically reflective church without having diversity in the “spotlight.” Do this…
- Quietly– Don’t make a big deal about this; it must ebb and flow naturally. Diversity in those making announcements, praying, singing, or any activity from the stage.
- Quickly– If you have no diversity on the stage, and there is some diversity in the congregation, make a change, make a space so those who represent another culture can be on stage; do it quickly! If not, you may lose those you have gained.
This is the final “First” thing. Your church will come into it’s legitimacy stage if diversity is seen in the staffing process. This is one that takes time. You don’t staff just for diversity; you staff well with diversity! This comes after a season of unity, vision casting, and understanding. But this last of the “first” steps will make or break you! Do it…
- Carefully- If this is done too quickly or done just to make it through this “process,” it may do long lasting damage! You must staff diversity, but it’s done prayerfully and carefully. Make a wrong move here and you can undo years of progress.
- Completely– This can’t be accomplished just throwing someone in a position. These positions must have real voices and authority. They must have voices at the table of decision-making and vision. Then and only then will it be viewed as genuine and be celebrated.