“How did you guys plant and grow a diverse church in one of the most racially divided communities in the South?” A question I get quite often.
Diversity in the church is one of my “HOT” buttons. I don’t want to oversimplify all of what it takes to have a flourishing multi-ethnic church, but there are a few things that will absolutely kill it before you can get it off the ground…
Not making diversity a Core Value. Diversity in the church cannot be looked as an “al-carte” add-on, as the next push for growth. Diversity must be written into the church’s DNA. Every activity of the church must pass this crucial core value test: “Is our core value of diversity represented here?” If not, scrap it or redo it…(Period).
Too Much Volume
Having a broad list. Too many requirements of belief and structure kill diversity. Some Churches with the greatest intent wish to purse and protect their version of “truth,” but in doing so, eliminate those with differing interpretations.
Understand, your goal MUST be for this list to be short! If there is a long list of “pre-requisites,” you shut off so many other groups with differing style and belief. Just stick with the shortest list possible, the real undebatable Truths of Scripture.
I don’t care if they are charismatic or if they are a sipping saint (that means they may drink alcohol); I want someone who loves the vision, willing to give 100% to the passion of the church. We don’t have to have conformity! But we must have unity! (-)Conformity + Unity = Diversity!
Diversity in a church takes real vision. The pastor, leaders, and attendees must have the vision to see diversity represented incrementally.
1-See it. Diversity must be evident when you walk in the door.
2-Stage it. Diversity must be seen on the stage. The platform of power. The place where people know if it’s there, it’s not just a show.
3-Staff it. Diversity has got to have hard dollars in the budget! That means diversity is represented on the staff. That is where you will see real buy-in across all lines. When those coming in recognize the church has diversity represented on staff, there is no question about legitimacy.
So…Is your church killing diversity?
Is it Valued?
Is it Visible?
Can you See it?
Is it on the Stage?
Is it staffed?
What is the biggest challenge now for your church to more reflective of your community and show real diversity?