Churches seeking to extinguish sameness and reach across boundaries of gender, ethnicity, and generations should prayerfully come before God and “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
Philippians 4:4-7 reminds us to rejoice as we intentionally seek to navigate away from homogeneous churches towards embracing the diversity of who we see in our daily lives, in grocery stores, work places, and schools. 11:00 on Sunday morning doesn’t have to remain “the most segregated hour” in America as Martin Luther King, Jr. expressed. If you are reading this blog, God has already begin moving your heart towards an understanding of intercultural ministry within you own church community. When do you know it’s time for change? Here’s 10 Signs You Should Invest In Diversity.
- An aging congregation means you are beginning to notice fewer young people around and about the halls of the church. Your worship services are geared towards this culture and generation and younger members are not joining. It’s time to rethink your worship services. What you are offering through the week to reach all generations?
- On Sunday Morning, the pulpit is limited to one gender or one generation. Our Sunday morning worship services speak volumes when it comes to who is in – and who is out! Sunday morning is a worship celebration and should reflect everyone represented in your church. Their absence in the pulpit may reflect how the church community values them in the Body of Christ.
- The only biblical stories your congregation hears from the pulpit are stories of men and boys. Always consider a wide range of biblical stories of women and men. In doing so, you open biblical relevancy to everyone in the congregation. Including stories of women and girls lets your congregation know the equity of God.
- Your church is limited to one social class. Reaching others for Christ in your own community should reflect the community as a whole. Are you serving the changing demographics of your community? Are you serving the poor, hurting and the lost on Sunday morning? There are many ways you serve on Sunday morning too!
- The people connected to your love for diverse food, music, and culture are not reflect in the pews on Sunday morning. Nuff said!
- Ethnic diversity is limited to the janitorial and grounds staff of your church.
- Pulpit guests are limited to one ethnicity and one gender. Nuff said!
- You recognize your church events are not reaching across ethnic, gender or generational cultural boundaries. Find ways to engage the community at large outside the walls of your church.
- No Faith partnerships within your community. Here’s a great opportunity to serve your community by helping new church starts. Consider offering a meeting place in your buildings to new church starts. Share the blessings of your bricks and mortar with another Christian community who is getting started, or speaks a different language. We can never have too many places for God’s people to worship. You should invest in the beauty of diversity in your church because it is biblical to reach all people for Christ. It isn’t always the easy path to choose, but remember,
- “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Amen! Awaken Our Hearts, Lord!