becoming a multiracial church, part 1
The recent Christianity Today cover story, All Churches Should Be Multiracial, has generated fairly little buzz in the blogosphere: just 12 links at Technorati, 8 at Blogpulse at the time of this post. Found longer discussions over at 5loaves.net’s diversity community.
While bloggers (allegedly) set the agenda for thought leadership, they (we) may not set the agenda for most local churches. The pastors (or the board of elders and/or deacons, depending on church governance) does that.
It’s just plain hard work. With church life being hard enough work as it is, with overworked staff and volunteers, plenty of other issues to consume time and energy and resources, there seems to be a learned helplessness that prevents more churches from aspiring to this ideal. The magazine’s editors and almost anyone you talk to can say that it’s the right thing to do, and it’d be great to see happen. But nothing happens by accident. (well, a few things do, but most accomplishments don’t. That’s one thing I’m learning by charting out my lifeline)
Becoming a multiracial church takes intentionality. Intentionality is not forcing something on people, it’s not meeting quotas. One idea I heard that can make it happen most quickly is for the pastor to divorce and marry someone of a different race. Yes, very facitious.
It is awareness of the social dynamics underneath the culture of the people who gather in a church: how they relate to their peers, and particularly those who are racially different, and how that shows up on stage in the worship service production, and how leaders are mentored, groomed, and selected, make all the difference. And leadership is to know how that works, and to introduce changes over time that came change that culture. A little redundant, but that’s what leadership is — changing culture.
My initial thoughts were previous posted here.