“Eleven o’clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America,” civil-rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. declared many times, quoting evangelist Billy Graham. While that statement is more than 50 years old, it remains solidly true today, despite the continual claims of the Bible that we are all one (1 Cor. 12:13, Gal. 3:28, Col. 3:11).
But there is reason for hope.
A book based on research of diverse congregations offers some hope. One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches offers seven principles for overcoming racial division (Christianity Today offers a summary, “7 Habits of Racially Mixed Churches”).
Recent research from George Barna points to noticeable differences between ethnic groups on matters of faith. While not exactly encouraging for the hope of more diverse congregations, the study does point to the strength of local churches as the reason for strong faith among some ethnic groups.
What does all this have to do with church marketing? Not much. Though it’s worth noting that a diverse congregation is not achieved with multiracial stock photography. Especially within the church diversity needs to be honest and true, not simply a facade.