Church Diversity Week is almost here. Most of you are probably asking yourself, “What and when is church diversity week?” In efforts to continue and expand the conversation about the lack of and need for diversity in the church, I presented a call for a Church Diversity Week in my book Church Diversity: Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week.
Church Diversity Week isn’t about a particular church, type of church or movement, but rather a week with a goal of seeing a more unified body of Christ. This week is being globally recognized and will begin on the second Friday of January and end on the third Friday of January each year. In 2012, it will run Jan. 13-19 and include Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 16.
Without any promotion and through word of mouth, we have well over 100 churches participating across half the U.S. and in countries across the world, including Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Peru, Australia and the Czech Republic. You can add your church here.
I am pleased to announce that in October the governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, signed a proclamation which officially recognizes Jan. 13-19 as “Church Diversity Week” in the State Of Oklahoma. I’m proud of our state leadership and I’m looking forward to continued momentum around the country.
This week is a reminder that it’s important that our churches have a genuine heart to do as Jesus calls us to in the Great Commission: to make disciples of “all nations.” It’s also important to be aware of the fact that minorities make up nearly half the children born in the U.S., which is part of a historic trend in which minorities are expected to become the U.S. majority over the next 30 years and majority in pre-schools by 2021.
These changing trends indicate that the church is going to have to pay more attention to the heterogeneous church. In fact, researcher Sam Rainer recently revealed his 10 [Unexpected] Church Trends to Surface in 2020 in an article in Church Executive magazine. Number one on the list was “The Heterogeneous Church Explodes.”
Rainer talks about what this shift means for the church saying:
“People with common interests, characteristics, life stages and languages will still gravitate towards each other. The difference with the younger generation is that these divides will not be as distinct, specifically in ethnic terms. The Millennial generation will gravitate towards heterogeneous churches because they represent what is normal in their generation.
The diverse church will explode in growth over the next 10 years. And instead of looking at this trend through the lens of pragmatic church growth practices, I believe it needs to be viewed as a picture of the Gospel. What man segregates, the Gospel unifies. Get on board with this trend not because it will grow your church, but rather because it was God’s plan for his church from the beginning.”
Church Diversity Week is one of many ways to begin the process of embracing church diversity and helping people to get on board. There are already plans in the works for next year to possibly implement an entire Church Diversity Month, with a month-long small group/Bible study curriculum for the entire church, in addition to collaborating with a growing number of organizations, churches, pastors and individuals excited to see a little heaven on earth.
If you or your church are not involved, jump in and be a part of changing the future of the church.