This week’s question is from a pastor who is looking for ways to respect diversity in her congregation:
Our small congregation is becoming more and more diverse (hooray!). Diverse in different ways–racial background, sexual orientation, educational level, socieconomic status. My question is: how do we live into this diversity in faithful ways which honor everyone? I’d love to hear your experiences and recommendations for reading (for me, for the governing board, or for the whole congregation).
Pastor of a slowly-getting-there congregation
Rev. Kelley offers us some awesome ideas:
Dear Pastor of a “Slowly-getting-there-Congregation”,
I celebrate with you on the good news of the growing diversity in your congregation! How wonderful! May we all move in that same direction.
“How do we live into diversity in faithful ways which honor everyone” is a question all pastors and congregations should be asking. I share these few thoughts to your question:
1) Be intentional to include diversity in your lay worship leadership and lay governing leadership
2) Create opportunities for safe, small-group faith sharing and bible study so that those who share differing views will learn to talk and to listen to each other
3) Focus on the incredible truths we all share together in Christ, regardless of our political identities, sexual orientations, racial backgrounds
4) Have your congregation be part of intergenerational service and mission ministry, so that the focus together is on loving our neighbors and serving Christ
5) Offer Christian Education classes where your people are allowed to share views and ask questions about differences theologically and culturally and spiritually, and where active listening is taught and modeled
God be with you in your important ministry.
Rev. Kelley Wehmeyer Shin
Thank you, Kelley!
Your turn, dear reader: How do you keep diversity from creating divisions in your congregation? Please share your experiences and resources in the comments below.
Do you have a dilemma confounding your congregation or a question about the pastor life? Send your scenario to askthematriarch (at) gmail (dot) com
Rev. Sharon M. Temple is a United Church of Christ pastor serving in Nashville TN. She is a contributor to the RevGals book, “There’s a Woman in the Pulpit” and blogs at Tidings of Comfort and Joy.
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com