ETHNICALLY DIVERSE CHURCHES.
It’s a lovely idea to think of our churches representing the rich diversity of races and nations. We speak of that as a “reflection of the kingdom” and a “picture of what heaven will be like.” But for many of our churches it seems impossible, because of lack of ethnic diversity in the places we live.
But it’s not impossible. In fact, this is one of those apparent impossibilities God loves to obliterate. Twenty years ago little Oakdale Christian High School (now Academy) in Appalachia, about as far removed from global connections as you can get, prayed and worked to create a diverse student body. Today it has students from many races, countries and language groups around the world.
When God’s people want diversity. God does miracles. Move on and begin imagining through prayer.
1. A “champion” family in the church becomes the first to sponsor a refugee family, which inspires a couple other families to do the same.
2. A man from Ghana moves into your town to study at a local community college. You befriend him and he gives good reports about his experience to his network of family and friends, who eventually begin to move into town on his recommendation.
3. A good number of your adult members make a decision to connect meaningfully with co-workers of a different ethnicity.
4. Your predominantly white congregation asks the conference and superintendent to appoint a minority person as lead pastor for your church.
5. Some of your church’s children lead the way by making friends with students of another race/ethnicity at school, which opens the door to the intermingling of families.
6. The leadership of our denomination and churches become ethnically diverse creating a visible model and invitation to minority groups to perceive our churches as welcoming safe places for them.
It may be hard to imagine your church filled with people of many colors and nationalities. But it’s not hard to imagine the preceding scenarios, which will lead in that direction. Go back through that list, pick out a couple you could imagine happening at your church and pray for that right now.