It is said that the most segregated hour of the week in the United States is Sunday morning church. This need not be but unless there is a concerted effort to change our thinking and practices it will continue. Here are some suggestions to consider.
One. Do the MacDonald's or Wallmart test. When you go to either place, look at who is there. They usually reflect a pretty good cross section of the local community. Or, look up the demographics of your city and you can get accurate information. Because we often hang with people who look like us we often don't realize how diverse our community is.
Two. When you hire, be intentional about trying to build a staff that looks like your community. This will take extra work but businesses have been doing it for a long time. If we only fish in the pools we know this will not happen. If you intentionally find bigger and more racially diverse pools to hire from, you can build a staff that looks like your community. Why is this important? Because when we see someone like "us" (whatever racial group we belong to) on staff at a church, we feel more comfortable and know that the church values diversity.
Three. Be intentional about diversifying your church leadership both in terms of age and those racial groups represented in your community. Until we open our hearts to those unlike us, work and pray with them and allow them to influence our ministries we will not become a racially diverse church. Until we are willing to take this step we should not assume that we will achieve congregational diversity.
Four. Change up your worship to represent different racial groups and their traditions rather than asking them to live with your groups traditions all the time. Every group has a rich tradition in worship. It is in this diversity that we catch a glimpse of what heaven will be like as people from every tribe and nation and language worship together before the Lamb.
Five. Develop relationships with ethnic churches in your community and find ways to interact with them. Invite them to speak in your church, do community projects together and pray together. Nothing changes our own hearts like friendships across ethnic lines.
In a nation that is becoming more and more polarized, the church should be the one place where people of all ethnic groups can come together around Jesus and the gospel. It can happen but only if we are intentional about it and possess a kingdom heart.