How obvious is your diversity?

kensethSundays are very exciting days for me. I get to go to church, and I get to watch the only television I enjoy (NASCAR). I applaud Matt Kenseth for winning the rain-shortened Daytona 500. I’m a fan of the 29 (Harvick) and it was great to see him push Matt to victory, after Matt pushed him to the win two years ago. Enough about the race!

After the race I flipped over and watched a bit of the NBA All-Star game and immediately noticed a big difference in the two large sporting events. All 43 drivers in the NASCAR race were white, and all 10 players on the court in the All Star game were black. There’s nothing wrong with that, and obviously God’s given each man a specific talent. I believe it’s great to have such diverse sports, but often wish some of the athletes in the minority would break through and become a star. Sort of like Tiger Woods in golf I guess?

kobeThat got me thinking, and it actually came up in a conversation this morning. How diverse are we or our ministries? The big project I’ve been discussing isn’t diverse at the moment, and I’ve just been going on my way without even noticing it. Sure, I pointed the spotlight yesterday across the racial divide and I am definitely not a racist kind of a guy. Some of my good friends in the past are from multiple ethnicities. But why am I not intentional in that applying to more of what I do? Especially when it can do nothing but benefit everyone (unless you are a racist yourself). It’s definitely something I will think about more going forward, and am going to try to do something about it with this ministry I am starting. Does the verse below make sense to you? How do you handle this topic yourself?

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

PRAYING for some in our online community on Twitter who preach but deny the trinity. PRAISING God for the opportunity to be diverse and for blessing this world with diversity.

  1. janelle

    I was taken to this verse many, many times…when GOD asked me to proclaim who HE is from the "PULPIT"… " there is no male and female" HE wants to use us all, yet there is the church, how HE set it up….and I grappled and grappled with…had alot of different "views" of the whole thing…but what did GOD ask me ? Man's view…God's View…God's Word the TRUTH………. I think this goes along with Marla's blog ( don't know how to put it in here) smile

  2. Good question.

    I am on staff at a very diverse church (caucasian, african american, hispanic). Yet our staff is 8 caucasian and 1 african american. Our pastor wants SOOO badly to hire people with different skin tones. Almost to the point that he's willing to hire someone based on the color of their skin for the sake of having the appearance of diversity rather than for their quality of character. Which of course is balanced out by a few other staff members input so he doesn't do that, but he really wants to.

    One thing that we're realizing, diversity is a beautiful thing, but forced or fabricated diversity can be seen through a mile away. People want something they can relate to. Different groups of people relate to different things. Sure there's the common denominators across all races, but ultimately people group according to similarities not differences.

    All that being said, we should go out of our ways as Christ followers to put aside prejudices and live in unity.

    Good thought provoking post today.

  3. It's definitely a verse that shows God can use anyone. Glad God is asking you to think over scripture, and not just let it slide and think it doesn't apply. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Maybe your church could bring someone that is less trained and diverse and train them up? Immediate progress is probably less important than just not proceeding because it will take work. I'm sure that wouldn't apply to NASCAR or the NBA, since immediate success is a must. But I can see it applying in ministry. God sometimes wants to work slowly, and I need to remember to be on His schedule and not my own. Nice comment Russ!

  5. That is definitely an option. We're actually trying that with the one staff member who isn't caucasian. They have a lot of potential but honestly it's been more of a detriment to our church as a whole to go that route. Part of it, I think is because there was a bit of misrepresentation on the part of the staff member, and the other part is that the boss has a hard time not letting people go. Combine that with what I said earlier and we've got a tough situation.

    Anyways, I'm definitely in favor of training from the inside and that is definitely always the preferred route.

  6. My church has outreach ministries to Sudanese, Hispanic, Turkish people, but only one part-time Hispanic pastor on staff out of a team of seven pastors. Its not any easier for the larger churches.

    That being said, that does not negate the necessity for additional dialogue and partnership, both at home and abroad between congregations of various ethnic and denominational backgrounds. The Issachar Network (http://issacharnetwork.org) is attempting to assist with this need through a variety of means.

    • Outreach is an awesome thing. I've seen a few churches actually have various races attending, which I think would be even better. Thanks for the link and for the comment Daniel – it's great to hear how God is moving within your church!

  7. In the young adults class that I teach on Sunday mornings, one of my students was telling me about a book that I am now going to have to read (The Shack by William P. Young) that sounds like it would fit perfectly in the conversation. The student explained to me that in the book, God is an African-American woman, Jesus is an Hispanic man, and the Holy Spirit is a little Chinese woman. I think I got those right.

    I'm not sure of the views of William P. Young on the trinity, (I sure don't want to get into that discussion 😉 ) and from what the student told me, that is not the main point of the book. The main point is how the world pictures each of these when they are mentioned, (ex When someone says the word God we/I usually envision an elder man with beard with a booming voice) and the reality of who God really is. God is in all of us, so, God is an African-American woman or a little Chinese woman or a Hispanic man.

    • Will have to check that book out, I've heard lots about it. You bring up a very valid point regarding how we view God (race). Will be an amazing day when we get to see Him, that's for sure. Thanks Scott!

  8. Sunday's are still the most segregated day of the week. Gabe I grew up in Columbus (hince the OSU love) and went to Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, which is basically an all black church downtown on Main Street. It wasn't until I graduated from college did I even realize there were multi-cultural churches. I guess I had never really given it much thought.

    I think a lot of stems from times in our history where every other day of the week was segragated too. For years, many seminaries were segregated. And as a result, that permeated down thru the church.

    I guess there are pluses and minuses to lack of diversity. Obviously, you don't get a full world view when only a certain type of people go to a church. But then you have something like the Civil RIghts Movement basically beginning in the "black church."

    Where I live now in Newark, my neighborhood is made of of mostly working class black people. And the make up of my church represents that. So you'd expect the churches in those neighborhoods to reflect that. But say if I go to a church in Hilliard, Ohio, I'd probably expect it to represent the make up of that community.

    That said…I think diversity is a good thing and I think we should look for ways to include everyone. That scripture your posted is great in terms of communicating God's view on that. But as someone alluded to above, we also shouldn't be diverse for diversity sake.

  9. Great way of looking at this, and I appreciate you sharing about the specifics of your church history. I believe God created us all uniquely different, and in that sense we all do enjoy our own specific music, teaching, dress, and other styles in life.

    From my experience (in churches way back in the day), I've seen churches that wouldn't know how to handle it if someone from another race, social class, etc. walked in the door. I'm thankful that heaven won't be like that, but I long to have a piece of heaven take place down here.

    I think this is one example where the church could lead the way, more than it might be today. Our culture sure has made leaps and bounds in the area of racism. I definitely don't think, even after the election, that we're even close to being "there" yet. Some blindly choose to disagree with that one, lol. Thanks a bunch for hanging out on the blog here and entering into the community. I'm sure others will enjoy reading your comment, and hopefully checking out your website!

  10. I think I would love to go over seas to like Kenya or somewhere like that and visit a congregation. I've never been, but I can only imagine that some here in the states would blow a gasket and quite possibly get up and leave because "they aren't doing it properly." It aggravates me how solemn and depressing we can make a hallelujah sound. Or how we can make a song of praise sound like the worst thing that ever happened to us.

    At my church there is no clapping. And until I started going back, after my battle with God (I lost that one..but Satan sure made me feel like I was wining) last year, there were no Amens. It's just so hard sometimes to hold the spirit back. I think a diverse church where some of the bold AMENS are heard, and a little clapping and songs of actual PRAISE that some of the diverse churches that I have visited over the years have would just bring us closer and more in touch with God.

    Rambling again. Sorry. You've sparked an interest that I've been thinking about all day. Thanks, Gabe.

  11. You should get in touch with my Mom if you'd like to discuss Kenya. She just returned this year from a trip on her own for 5 weeks over there. Had the chance to speak to over 5,000 people during that time, and over 700 came to know the Lord through what took place. You can visit her website at http://www.unreined.com.

    We were just talking about that today in our church staff meeting. Our pastor mentioned that it's the norm there for someone to start singing a song out of the blue and the rest just join them. Or for their leaders to say amen, hallelujah, etc. during their normal dialogue during the day. Amazing to challenge ourselves to allow the Spirit to just use us as he chooses, without thinking of our culture first. Thanks for bringing this up Scott!

  12. Thanks for posting this Gabe. I believe that the church needs to be more intentional about these relationships. I believe that we (whites) don't think about it because we don't have too. We hold the position of power. We can go where we want and fit in. I think that we need to be willing to step out of our comfort zone to build relationships outside of our culture or ethnicity. Minorities in our country do this all the time just to survive.
    Thanks for getting us thinking. Peace.

  13. You're right, white usually don't have to even think about this (and usually don't). This isn't something some group will accomplish, it is true that the individual is responsible. I know I haven't been as responsible as I should be in the past. Thanks Kevin!

Leave a Reply to Daniel_Berman Click here to cancel reply.