Researchers surveyed 1,000 protestant pastors on their views on race and racial reconciliation in the church. They found that the majority of pastors say that they want a more racially diverse church yet what their church actually looks like is very different.
Another statistic that they share from the survey is that 9 out of 10 pastors should have a goal of achieving racial diversity. If racial diversity is not often the reality for most churches then why is it a goal for most pastors then? I think there are several reasons. One reason has to do with the current racial climate in the US, and the second, I believe, is at the core of our faith.
Diversity is at the heart of God
The world and universe that God created is diverse beyond what we often perceive. God’s very nature is diverse. Think about the Trinity and how the Bible describes God. The Trinity is made up of distinct personalities united as one in a sense. The Trinity is what sets Christianity apart from other world religions. The mystery of God as the Trinity is unique: We view God in three distinct ways. One being God the father, creator, source of life, and provider. Then we know God as Jesus the son. Jesus is our savior, redeemer, and friend. He is God in the flesh. Third, there is God the Holy spirit. We view the Holy Spirit as our guide, our helper. The Holy Spirit represents the wisdom of God. The Trinity goes to show that the image of God is diverse in and of itself. Diversity is at the core and heart of who God is.
Another reason as to why diversity is important to the Christian faith is because diversity is at the core of our humanity. If the image of God is diverse, and we as humans are made in the image of God then we hold that same diversity. And since we are created in the image of God all human beings are worthy of respect. In the creation story we learn that we do not get the full image of God without diversity. Our world would be incomplete without it- without us.
Diversity in the church
Since diversity is at the core of who God is and who we are, then diversity is also at the heart of how we all come together in the church. The church originated from diversity. We see this reflected in the New Testament in Jesus’s disciples. Yes they were all Jewish males, but when you look closely at them you see that they were made up of different classes, politics, and economic status. Besides the disciples, the first people that Jesus reaches out to to preach the gospel are women. We read in the New Testament that after Jesus’s resurrection Jesus calls a diverse group of people to share the gospel.
Diversity is more than just race. The early church and the church of today is made up of many generations, individuals of different economic classes, different races and personalities. This mix of people coming together in fellowship is what makes up the church. Diversity is at the core of the church. And this diverse fellowship is an example of what God really looks like.
Diversity is a goal for many churches because diversity is a reflection of God, ourselves, and our fellowship together. Diversity is part of the story of our Christian faith, and it is a part of the Kingdom of God.
Postell. Marissa, “Most Pastors See Racial Diversity as a Goal in the Church but Not Reality”, Lifeway research, Feb 15th, 2022
Madison Myers is a graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, majoring in marketing, and a young professional. She has traveled to a majority of America's National Parks and is eager to see them all.