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[210] Diversity

“We have a diverse campus church. You will really like it.” You will hear that more and more these days—particularly at college churches–and hence, it begs the question: Just what is a diverse church? First, I notice most of the diversity proclaimers are white. So what do I black or Hispanic people say? With issues of race and diversity one of my specialties, I can answer that.

First, diversity is not about how many different groups are visible in the sanctuary for a worship service. It is about the substance of the worship experience. More specifically, how evident are the various cultures in the actual service? Are there any soulful solos sung? Negro spirituals sung by the choir? Gospel songs performed with a Latin beat? The answer is few at best, and usually none.

Most churches offer a culturally snow white worship service, conducted by people of various colors leading a mixed congregation in worship.

Legendary urban pastor, Bill Leslie, used to say that everyone needs to hear their own sound in the worship—whether that is in music, preaching style, or other venue. Not every Sunday. Not ever service. But regularly. That is what makes a church diverse. DC


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