Diversity is one of the most misused words spoken in our churches today. I often hear pastors and church leaders speak of diversity, but diversity is a very broad term. Here’s the question to help you move your church towards understanding the full range of meaning of the word. Is there an intercultural ministry mindset in your church?
Today, corporations are strategically using the word “diversity” when describing the outreach of their organization. Looking inward and finding little to no diversity and/or inclusion within their own ranks, diversity managers and executives are becoming an important position in today’s business culture. The discovery for most is a breakthrough into their own corporate strategy by seeking an equitable work force. How can they serve the public, if the organization does not demographically reflect the public they serve? From the executive suite to the janitorial closet, often there is predictable ethnic, generational and gender representation. It is no secret, limited outreach is tied to limited profits.
Now, let’s segway to the church. But, before we go there, let me remind you, church diversity is not the goal of DIASPRA or the church for that matter. It is a byproduct of our outreach. As we seek to reach disciples for Christ, everything we put out into the world, comes back to us in the form of visitors who see our websites, attend with friends, come for special events, and participate in our ministry activities.
At Diaspra, we cooperate with individual churches to bring diversity through their doors for worship on Sunday mornings and weekday activities? When talking to churches we ask them to take an informal assessment. The assessment identifies generational, gender, and ethnic diversity within the church community.
During the assessment, one of the exercises is called, PEN TEN. The church leader is required to engage in conversation with the last 10 people (or 1% of the congregation) that last joined the church. The church leader will ask why this particular Christ community became their congregation. The answers are then penned, or written down. In fact, what was it about the (church) culture that brought them to join the community?
Once the list is compiled the exercise continues. She must then contact the last 10 people (or 1%) who left the church to ask the question, Why did you leave? Penning the answers to paper, the responses will vary from relocation, worship style, small group meetings, lack of diversity, to pastor contact, etc.
Successful discipleship outreach and retention will hinge on our ability to effectively identify our gifts and shortcomings. Diving deep into our culture with others can be a rewarding reflection on our discipleship outreach. Before we can manage our church culture, we need to understand how it is perceived within our community. Only then can we understand any shifts to be made. It is important to the process towards an intercultural ministry. Awaken Our Hearts