Christian Living

Diversity Format

Mark Singleton

Diversity is being pushed big time in today’s marketplace. If you run a business, the topic of diversity will undoubtedly come up. For many companies diversity is one of their building blocks. And schools do as much as possible to ensure that they won’t see a majority of any people group.

We have options to diversify our music, diversify our food and even to diversify our social groups. I believe that diversity is a good thing rooted in us.

[pullquote]When we look at God himself, we see diversity.[/pullquote] The Trinity is the most beautiful example of relationships that we have. We see three very diverse and different persons, practicing submission, exemplifying diversity and being completely united. And of course we know that diversity will be a trademark of the kingdom of God (Rev. 5). [pullquote position=”right”]But the problem is that many of us believe that diversity is THE trademark of the God’s kingdom.[/pullquote]

Diversity Can’t be our Ultimate Goal

There was a pastor who started a church based on diversity. He was all about bringing the races together. During a hurting time in America, he brought a message of a diverse kingdom to many people. His church grew and grew. In time, he ended up moving his church to South America and led his members to the largest mass suicide in human history. His name was Jim Jones and his kingdom was centered on himself.

[pullquote]God’s kingdom will be diverse, but it will be centered on Jesus.[/pullquote]

Jesus is the key element to the beauty within the kingdoms, diversity. You can have a diverse kingdom and it still not be God’s kingdom. Jesus must be on the throne.

An Important Question to Ask

Most of our churches are not diverse. The progress made since MLK said “Sunday at 11am is the most segregated hour in America” is still lacking. Because of this there are many different initiatives to seek diversity in churches. Many will boldly make “the big hire” hoping that this will diversify the congregation. There have been black and white churches that have actually merged in hopes that the congregation would be multi-ethnic.

Just because we become racially diverse, does that mean we are a church reflecting the kingdom of God?

This is a question we must think through. The diversity conversation is everywhere you look. It’s a good thing. But we must keep a healthy perspective on it. [pullquote position=”right”]Let’s seek to integrate our local churches while keeping Jesus on the throne.[/pullquote]

Check out Bruce Ware’s: Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles and Relevance.


7 thoughts on “Diversity Format

  1. MarkSingleton

    Good word Valerie. Really good insights.

  2. Valerie (Kyriosity)

    My former church’s motto was from John 17:21 — “United that the world would know.” The temptation was to instead be “Diverse that the world would notice.” Pursuing diversity for diversity’s sake or for coolness’ sake or for marketing’s sake is not a worthy goal. Only diversity in Christ, created by Christ, for Christ’s sake is worth pursuing.

    Diversity is also, to some extent, a matter of circumstances. If your church is in Outer Mongolia, don’t beat yourself up for the lack of Hispanics in the congregation. My mom’s little church in very rural New Hampshire needn’t feel the least glitch of worry over being all white. Love your neighbors, and if you do that well, your church will include your neighbors…of whatever hues they happen to be.

  3. MarkSingleton

    I completely agree Tyshan. Sometimes when I write on these issues it disheartens me to know that it is such a complex issue that I’ll never elaborate enough on. My writing can never give it the justice it deserves. In the same token, it seems that racial reconciliation takes a lot of time like you said and the problem is few churches are seeking it. Thank you for commenting and reading. It’s an encouragement.

  4. MarkSingleton

    Asiyah, Thanks tons for responding! I would agree that holding fast to the gospel doesn’t negate seeking diversity of churches. And though Jim Jones is definitely an extreme example I would say that it’s an example worth learning from. My push isn’t, don’t diversify but when seeking diversity, Keep Jesus on the throne. Thanks again for the response.

  5. Asiyah

    I think the reference to Jim Jones ignores the fact that the man was insane. Regardless of who the lead pastor is there has to be governance and accountability so that people are being shepherded properly. Holding fast to the gospel is definitely more important than diversity but that doesn’t negate the import of having diversity of class, race, gender, etc. within the Church.

  6. Tyshan Broden

    I think this topic is too deep to really write about. I do love the surface overview that is presented here. The absolute truth is that Jesus must be the center of the church period no matter what the goal of the church is. The reality is that racial reconciliation is slow and needs to start in the church but isnt. We live in a country that accepts a gay couple more than they accept an interracial couple.

  7. george canady

    Is it possible until we discern who our neighbor really is according to the royal law, we will never treat “others” with love in a way that pleases God? And if the evidence is that we are displeasing God on Sunday, Well…..

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