Decades ago, Martin Luther King Jr. called the 11 a.m. hour on Sunday morning “the most segregated hour in America.”
Statistics show that it still is. A vast majority of American churches have congregations that are primarily made up of one racial group, rather than the diverse ethnicity of the general population. People still worship in white churches, black churches, Asian churches and Latino churches.
The Bible, however, reveals that in heaven people of all races will worship God together:
“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God.” (Revelation 7:9-11 HCSB)
Since heavenly worship will be diverse, shouldn’t earthly worship be diverse too? You can make your congregation more racially diverse (and pleasing to God, who created all people in his image) if you’re intentional about doing so.
Here are four simple things you can do to bring diversity to your church while keeping your focus on Christ, not culture:
— Focus on the gospel, which is universally true, more than a certain kind of culture.
— Ask yourselves a tough question: “Is your church primarily focused on preserving the culture of some people or presenting the gospel to all people?”
— Realize that the practice of segregating people denies the unity all Christians have in Christ.
— Welcome all people with equal love and enthusiasm. It’s not right to talk about taking the gospel to the other side of the world, if your church won’t worship with people who live on the other side of your town.
When your church is true to the gospel, there will be unity among diverse people in your congregation.
Willie McLaurin serves as Harvest Field Team Leader & Leadership Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Willie also serves as the Race Relations Liaison. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.