Over the past year, I have come across countless resources calling for more churches to be racially and culturally diverse. I have had conversations with pastors and other church leaders wanting to do the diversity ‘thing,’ who are exploring how they might attract congregants of a skin color other than their own. In all honesty, I think this is a worthy goal. As our nation’s demographics change and we become a country where people of color are the majority, it makes sense. If our mono-cultural churches do not learn to embrace the change and at least reflect the communities and neighborhoods surrounding them, the reality is that they will run the risk of irrelevancy and subsequently death.
Those in church leadership understand this well, hence the desire to embrace a new way of doing things: diversity. They want more black and brown people like me to fill the pews, contribute financially and just maybe, if we are lucky enough, serve on a committee or two. But nothing fundamentally changes. We are not represented in leadership. Our traditions, language, or customs are not represented in worship besides that random Chris Tomlin song translated into Spanish. Our opinions are not welcome and our theology, wisdom and expertise are not considered valid. This leaves many feeling like diversity is just another church growth strategy instead of an authentic means to bring about reconciliation in the body of Christ.