Earlier this week I created a list of 10 things about starting and growing a church that have been much harder than I expected. Today I want to take a few minutes out to talk with you the item on the list that the most people requested we discuss…DIVERSITY!
Diversity is beautiful. Diversity is honorable. Diversity is….DIFFICULT.
(Clarification: For me, REAL diversity includes race, gender, nationality, socio-economic status, and more.)
My family is diverse. My neighborhood is diverse. The part of downtown Atlanta I live in is very diverse. The area of the city where our church facility is located is extremely diverse. Heaven is (and will be) diverse. Because of these things, I sought out over a year ago when we were planning to launch Courageous Church for our church to be a genuinely diverse community of faith.
Let me make an honest stipulation here:
Diversity is not our primary goal, but it is one of our most important secondary goals. I want to say this because while I feel like diversity honors God and improves the beauty of the church, our first and exclusive primary goal is to show people how to follow Jesus. No matter how much I value any other issue (and I value a lot of issues), nothing trumps our primary calling in the earth. Period.
With that said, I just wanted you to hear from me that our church still values diversity in a major way, but I have found it a bit challenging. First off, let me tell you a few ways we demonstrate diversity:
- We have a diverse set of key, visible leaders on Sunday morning and during the week.
- We use all types of music before and during our Sunday services.
- I (try to) use a preaching style that is not overtly ethnic (like the Jasper Williams hoop) and will appeal to a broad section of people.
With that said, we still have a lot of room to grow in terms of diversity. On some Sunday mornings our attendance is way more diverse than others, but I am still very proud of what we’re accomplishing.
I am wide open to what our church can do to continue to be more diverse and would love to hear what you see out there that’s working. Do you have any questions about what we’re doing or want to discuss any challenges you’re having?