The challenge of diversity in the church

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Sanctuary Columbus Church was launched as an intentionally multi-ethnic church plant in the Northland area of Columbus, Ohio. Our pastor (Rich Johnson) and Chad Brennan (director of Renew Partnerships – an organization he started to assist universities and other organizations in how they handle and pursue diversity) joined together yesterday for some co-teaching at our church (you may listen to the sermon audio here). Here are a few notes I took that I thought you might want to review, especially if you agree that the diversity of heaven should not be put off on earth. Enjoy!

PRINCIPLES FOR A NEW COMMUNITY – Rich Johnson and Chad Brennan

Less than 7% of churches are multi-ethnic.

Ethnic unity doesn’t just happen. Division does.

Race isn’t rocket science. Race is harder than rocket science. – Christopher Edley

Multi-ethnic ministry is like going up a down escalator. If you stop you are going backwards. You have to pick up the pace.

PITFALLS OF PURSUING DIVERSITY

  1. Let’s just let it happen naturally.
  2. Ethnic unity isn’t an issue in our post-racial society.
  3. Everyone should be treated equally.

Churches are 10 times less integrated than neighborhoods and 20 times less integrated than public schools.

Is color blindness the solution? 

  • It’s a good motive (stop injustice, prejudice, stereotyping)
  • It is ineffective (offensive, limits understanding, denies realities, why ignore something God created to enrich our lives?)

The world works by dividing power between insiders and outsiders.

The kingdom of God brings outsiders to the inside (foreigners, widows, orphans, hungry, imprisoned, naked, stranger, poor, crippled, lame, blind, slaves, women, children, religions, fatherless).

Jesus, in his final hours, prayed for unity.

Luke 14: 12-14

  1. Great thoughts (as usual), Gabe.

    As a black male who served in an SBC church, I knew all about the challenge of diversity first hand.

    My outlook has changed somewhat though. I lean towards working on following God completely, and letting the other things take care of themselves. I mean, there is always stuff we can do to be more culturally aware, but in the end I agree with one of your points: we love everybody to as God would.

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