What Does Your Church Do to Be Intentional About Diversity?

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Our church is growing in diversity, praise God. Diverse in income, culture, ethnicity, and ability level. We try to have people from various ethnic backgrounds involved in our praise team. Our two pastors are two different ethnicities. Our services are mostly in English, and are simultaneously translated into Spanish. Much of our facility is barrier free. Worship leaders try to use inclusive language. I'm interested in learning what specific things other churches are doing to be intentional about diversity. What practical steps has your church implemented to become more diverse?

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Personally . . . I never heard of the CRC until we moved to Everett, WA. We attended an evening service and were made very welcome. We like the Dutch people, the Dutch customs, and the traditional worship service. Thank God there are 100 different denominations in the US. Every person should be able to find a Christian congregation that fits his personality and theology and I found mine. That was 15 or so years ago.

Since we joined First Everett CRC, the denomination has been working hard to change everything I like about the CRC. We may be the last "traditional" congregation in the Classis. I can tolerate a couple of modern ditties passing for hymns in the morning service but if I see a drum set in front of the congregation, I'm gone.

If the CRC can't exist while maintaining CRC distinctives then why should we exist? The CRC should "out baptist" the Baptists and "out rock and roll" the rock and rollers? Follow the money?

to answer your question about being intentional about diversity, we often have the bible reading done in English first, followed by another language -some one from the congregation reads-sharing their first or second language.  we also have a potluck lunch following every service where people are encouraged to bring ethnic dishes from their backgrounds, and our praise team represents several different cultures with their own ethniticity, style of music and instuments! it is so great each week to see fellow Christians step outside their own comforts and share in the diversity God created!! 

I like the idea of having people read Scripture in their first language. Thanks Kim! 

Sandy and I (CRC retired missionaries) are visiting an RCA church building in Kalamazoo, MI that has opened up their facility to a Hispanic Pentecostal church which we attend.  This pentecostal church group is invited to all social functions and there is wonderful social interchange.  The children of these Hispanic families are as American as I am.  Multiple facility use is one the simple ways we can coordinate multicultural ministries in a geographical area.  Cultures are very different and people worship in a very distinct way from each culture.  And of course there are also many subculture worship styles among a culture.  We have been missionaries in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the USA.  It is difficult to have a truly multicultural worship time.  Presently we are doing this of necessity in Mexico during the winters because there is no evangelical church ministry in the village of 3000 people, of many mixed nationalities, where we are starting a church.  I would much rather do the worship part in two different services.  But that might come next year. 

Your brother and sister in Mexico church planting, Rev. Wayne and Sandy DeYoung

While our people came from more than 25 different nations, our worship services were all in English. This said, there were a few things we did.

On one wall of the sanctuary we placed flags representing the various nations that our people came from.

We extended an invitation to individuals to make a 3 minute PowerPoint presentation on their native land and the faith community they came from there.

We invited these same people to put up a display in the fellowship hall and to provide refreshments reflective of their culture for the coffee hour.

We encourage individuals, if they felt comfortable doing so, to dress for worship as they would in their home country.

We allowed our worship to gradually evolve to where the prayers of the people could be offered in a variety of different ways, with some being sung. Similarly, we opened ourselves up to accept individuals voicing an "Amen!" or a "Praise the Lord!" in response to what might be said in the message/sermon.

We included music representative of other nations, singing some both in English and the native language. Beyond this we had a Sunday where all the music was spirituals, another where the elements were reflective of indigenous culture.

Communion would also take a variety of different forms.

These are a few of the things that we did. At heart was listening and asking, "How can we be more inclusive?" or better, "How would the Lord like us to be changed rather than insisting always that others must change?"