So you want to see greater diversity in your group or church but feel that you are stuck. You’ve read the articles here and elsewhere and think to yourself, “Yes that is all right and good, but I can’t get people of color to come here, because there are no people of color here.” This can be a very true reality on your journey from homogeneity to multi-ethnicity.
It’s human nature; we like to be with people like us. On top of that, our country’s history of racism and discrimination has made it difficult for people of color to feel comfortable, and at times, even safe being the “only one” in a room of majority people. So what do you do if you don’t have enough people to attract more people?
Well, you need some pioneers. The history of everything that has ever been accomplished includes those who left their place of comfort and safety to accomplish a greater vision. Think of the Civil Rights Movement, the Protestant Reformation, the modern and ancient missions movements and even the incarnation itself. Jesus left his place of security and benefit in obedience to the Father’s plan to bring salvation to all nations of the earth. Wow, what an example!
"Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death--
even death on a cross!"
These are the kind of pioneers you need and most likely they are not just going to show up on your doorstep, or at your service, and say, “I am here to be a pioneer in this group to help you become God’s vision of church like heaven on earth--no matter the cost to me personally.” Pioneers respond to a call, so if you need them, make the call.
What does this mean? It means you first need to pray. Yes, pray. There are so many reasons that this is the right and best place to start. One, you really need God help because you may not even have someone to make a call to. Secondly, you want to make sure you end up with the right pioneer. Nothing kills something faster than having the wrong people at the start. You need those who, first of all, are committed to Jesus, then committed to the vision of church of heaven on earth. So pray, pray, pray. Pray specifically and then keep your eyes and ears open.
Next, make sure that while you are praying, you are also studying and teaching. You need to study so you know well the theology of kingdom diversity and you can make a Biblical call to be a part of bringing God’s kingdom to your campus/city. Also you need to teach your current congregation to prepare them for the changes that will eventually take place.
Lastly, you need to make the call. Do so with passion and vision. Do not be ashamed and do not feel the need to “sugar coat” things. Hey, people of color know the reality of segregation. They are mostly excited to find those in the body of Christ who are broken hearted about it too. So tell it like it is and then ask them to help you fulfill the vision God has put on your heart. They may so no, but they may say yes. And once you have some pioneers, your journey can begin in earnest.