Methodism And Pretend Diversity

Not long ago, I was asked to speak to a Methodist gathering about Evangelism & Diversity.

I don’t know what kind of expertise I have, but I do know how to tell a little bit of the Good Shepherd story . . . how it is that we have moved from a virtually all-white church a decade ago to the kind of full color church we are today with over 25 different nations represented on any given Sunday.

So whenever I tell that story, I am careful to say, “Yet how far we have come only reminds us of how much farther we have to go.” In other words, we can see the Promised Land, but we sure aren’t there yet.

That kind of racial and ethnic diversity makes us somewhat unique within Methodism, which is dominated by single race churches at the local level.

The sad irony of the bulk of our denomination is this: at the “higher” levels — meaning conferences, boards, and agencies — the church goes to great lengths to ensure diversity. So our various denominational level entities are, in fact, quite diverse when it comes to race and ethnicity.

Except when people leave those Methodist Mega Meetings, they return to their home churches.

Their single race home churches.

And that’s diversity? As they say around here, “not hardly.” It’s just make believe if it’s not happening in local churches.

As a reminder of the strides God has blessed us with on the local level, here’s a piece we made last year.

These are not actors, nor are they paid spokespeople. They are simply part of the Good Shepherd community.