4 Ways to Build Diverse Churches

Since its founding on the day of Pentecost, the church has been characterized by both diversity and unity. Unfortunately, modern ministry practices like age segregation and demographic targeting have homogenized many churches. Here are four ways to build your church into a house of prayer for all nations (Mark 11:17).

Build around content (not style)

If you’re the preaching pastor: Decide what you’re going to preach about early enough to give the team around you time to build on it. Your message should be so much more than just the words you say on Sunday morning. The visuals, the music, the drama, and even the bulletin should contain different facets of the same message. Layered communication is effective communication, and effective communication demands advanced planning.

If you’re the worship pastor: Worship is a rhythm of revelation and response. You can’t lead an appropriate response if you don’t know the content of the revelation. Be a team player by pressing for details. Refuse to go rogue. Choose songs because of their connection to the message at hand, not their position on the Billboard charts. Your creative choices should draw more attention to the message than to your preferences or skills.

Proclaim makes it easy to facilitate collaborative planning. Cloud-based and cross-platform, it allows your team to work together wherever they have WiFi. If you already use Planning Center Online for collaboration, connect PCO to your Proclaim account to save even more time.

Tell stories (lots of them)

Prejudice—the most prolific diversity-killer—withers under the light of truth. We all need a little help imagining others in a complex light, especially in the case of people unlike ourselves. Showcase true stories of redemption featuring multifaceted characters of all colors and ages—bonus points if those characters are mingling in the foyer after the service.

Build a diverse leadership team (stop cloning yourself)

Fill the platform with people who all hail from the same narrow slice of humanity and you’ll only attract people from that segment. The culture of any organization reflects the makeup of its leadership. If you want a diverse church that effectively reaches into every corner of society, empower a diverse team of leaders from those corners.

Make people uncomfortable (in the right ways)

God often works just outside our comfort zone. Nudge people to expand their social circles. Those awkward “shake-hands-with-someone-near-you” moments serve a vital purpose (beyond giving you a chance to modulate into a new key). Unfortunately, many churches spend an awkward 90–120 seconds on them every week, almost always over music. Good luck meeting someone new in less than a minute while the band is playing. If you’re going to have a mixer segment in your service, make it purposeful.

Make it meaningful. Scale back the frequency, and step up the intentionality.

Make use of Proclaim Survey Signals to break the ice. The instant feedback can show people that they have more in common than they might think.

Do you cultivate diversity in your church? How do you do it? Tell us in comments.

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Written by
Ray Deck III

Born in WV, Ray escaped to North Carolina at a young age. He came to Logos after an 8 year stint at a faith-based nonprofit in New York. When he is not assembling sequences of words, he’s probably running, surfing or shooting skeet, but you should probably go look for him. He has a terrible sense of direction and is probably lost.

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Written by Ray Deck III