As a straight, white, male, upper middle-class Presbyterian, I am privileged beyond measure. I am grateful for the patience of others. So many have taught me about their lives, the world and the power of the gospel, far beyond my predictable domain.
I believe the Kingdom of God values diversity. Those images of welcome feasts and animals lying together are significant enough for me to believe that the toil of diversity is worth it – for the sake of the church, the sake of the world, and the sake of the kingdom.
I have had four years now to reflect on my experience at the International Protestant Church of Zurich, and I can report this much: If the church in North America is ever going to become more racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse, it has a great deal of work to do.
Neuroplasticity is what I am clinging to. Like the brain creating new pathways after a stroke to do what needs to be done. Surely the church can be neuroplastic, too.
Along with every other form of diversity, what would it look like for the church to pursue economic diversity? What would it look like for rich and poor to co-exist in the life of a congregation, so that those surface differences would remain just that?
A pastor plays many roles — and not always the ones we’ve been trained for. While seminary provides a strong foundation, our most important lessons are taught in the trenches of modern day ministry.
Diversity was not something I was completely in tune with – that is, until I became more immersed in my theological studies. Truthfully, I didn’t learn to embrace my own cultural diversity in light of the broader composition of the United States until I left my bubble of Miami and found my way up to Chicago, where I was no longer a part of the dominant culture.
Since high school I have been saying out loud: “God has called me to ministry.” Over five years ago I finally said out loud: “I am gay.” These were two things that I did not think could be true at the same time.
NEXT Church is committed to diversity within our network and church — diversity of theology, race, age, geography, stage, role, church size, wealth, political views — all of it. We are committed to creating community amidst that diversity, even when that proves difficult.
Today, we’re sharing the fourth sneak peek of the Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry, which we’ll release in full this fall. This preview is from another movement of the guide: storytelling as assessment.