Creating a Diverse Community
Part One: An Overview
by Eric Bryant
(originally written for The Origins magazine)
Do you want to be hip? Talk about diversity. Diversity in the new millennium is what mullets were for the 1980s. Conversations about diversity permeate our society. We love to talk about diversity. It is very politically correct. However, achieving diversity is possible in the context of evangelism which is not a politically correct topic. Diversity is the natural result of a church committed to Christ’s mission to reach those within their sphere of influence. When we live, work, or worship in a diverse city, God moves us towards diversity.
Unfortunately, diversity rarely happens at church. Intrinsically we realize that we cannot continue to fill our churches with only the people who look like us and talk like us. In fact, I imagine most church planters and pastors want their churches to become more reflective of the community in which they live. We do not want to segregate our society on Sunday mornings. Take heart, creating a diverse community is possible, but doing so requires tremendous risk and sacrifice.
For the last nine years, I have experienced a diverse community. I am a white guy in a world of color. At Mosaic, we have 80 nationalities represented every Sunday. We are diverse in every area throughout our church including our attenders, ministry teams, and paid leadership. My daughter Trevi has a better chance of growing up to marry a Chen or a Ramirez than to marry a Smith or a Jones. Until recently we had only Latino and Asian American elders. Last fall I became the lone Anglo elder, but the others joke with me that I represent another minority group – the bald white guys.
We have seen our share of failures and challenges as a church. We are far from perfection, yet years ago our church chose to reach our city – everyone in our city. We are motivated by extending Christ’s love to the people of Los Angeles. As a congregation, we strive to make the sacrifices necessary to become the most inclusive place in Los Angeles. Through serving at Mosaic and catching glimpses of diversity in ministries in Seattle and Texas, I have discovered that in order to create a diverse community we need to sacrifice our mission, our relationships, and our power.
[…] in terms of those who attend yet not among those leading. I wrote an article years ago entitled, “Creating a Diverse Community.” In the article I point out the path towards creating a diverse community includes […]