Not that my personal opinion on this carries any weight, after all, I’m just a guy with a blog.
Nevertheless, I want to say that I do not subscribe to the camp of Christians who believe churches should deliberately aspire to achieve more “congregational diversity” within the Church (the body of Christ).
Please note that the operative word in my opening statement is “deliberately”.
I say this because many so-called evangelical churches today have bought into the worldly notion that “marketing” the gospel in such a way as to specifically attract certain ethnic, racial and cultural groups is the best way to fulfill the Great Commission and get people to “embrace” the gospel (as if the gospel itself has been rendered impotent and is no longer enough to achieve such ends.)
By adopting such an unbiblical model, the Church robs the gospel of its inherent power to accomplish that which, by the Spirit of God, it has been proven more than able for more than 2,000 years.
The Apostle Paul describes the gospel as the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16), but it seems the Church today has forgotten this and has set out to “help God out” by forming, with apologies to Jesse Jackson, its own ecclesiastical version of a “rainbow coalition”.
What I mean is that Christians have come to define the Church, not in terms of those whom God has sovereignly elected to be adopted into His body through the regenerative power of His Spirit, but by such self-determined measures as skin tone, ethnicity and race; and have leveraged these external descriptors in our missional (outreach) efforts so that what we are actually conveying to the world is not a message of redemption from our sinful condition but the superficial message of, “Come join our church because our church has people who look like you.”
Now, does that seem Christlike to you?
Of course not.
Regardless the intent (i.e. “reaching the lost”) God does not play favorites and neither should His church.
As the great theologian, George Whitefield, who preached more than 18,000 sermons to what is estimated to have been more than 10 million people, stated, “For in Jesus Christ there is neither male nor female, bond nor free; even you may be the children of God, if you believe in Jesus.”
The invitation to believe in Jesus Christ is open to all without regard to hyphenation or level of melanin. Besides, of what benefit is it if your congregation looks diverse on the outside but in their heart are on their way to spending eternity in hell?
The command of Christ to make disciples of all nations (ethnos) is not a call to single out a particular group of people because of their skin color or nationality or ethnicity.
Neither Christ, nor His disciples after Him, targeted their preaching based on ethnicity or race or any other external attribute. Their sole focus and mission was to preach the gospel – period – and the Holy Spirit drew thousands of people, of various ethnos, in response. There were no marketing plans or targeted programs to “reach” a certain demographic.
I humbly pray that I am articulating my position clearly as I do not wish to be misunderstood.
The Church needs to get back to preaching the gospel and relying on the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of those who hear it.
We need to follow the words of the Apostle Paul – preach Christ crucified – and leave the rest up to God.
He knows what He’s doing.