- First, pray according to the principles of the Gospel of the Kingdom that includes all nations. Pray for more diversity and multi-cultural inclusion in your church. Pray a lot. You have to want it enough to beg God for it.
- Second, learn about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Learn the principles of the Kingdom and the rule of Christ in the hearts of men and local churches as expressed in the Bible. Hint: this is different than the narrow gospel of individual atonement and salvation, which is a part of the Gospel of the Kingdom and important. But you cannot teach a revelation you do not have. Change your way of thinking first.
- Third, teach on the Kingdom of God and the inclusion of all nations and the will of God for that diversity to be expressed locally.
- Fourth, develop teams of leadership in your church. There should never be only one recognized leader in a local body. That doesn’t mean you pay everyone or give them a title, but it does mean that leadership should be done by a team of men and women with different gifts and strengths working together. God has given some to be pastors, apostles, teachers, evangelists, and prophets to teach the whole church how to function in ministry. To put all that on one man is part of the problem.
- Fifth, validate leadership from different ethnic groups when available and appropriate. I qualify that only because to raise someone up in leadership is a work of the Holy Spirit and should not be done to simply conform to an idea. That can be dangerous. But as we change our thinking, intentionally open our minds to consider including leadership from different cultural groups and watch God and open the right doors.
- Sixth, become cultural learners. Learn different styles and cultural expressions of worship, dress, food, speech. Validate, celebrate, and assimilate them as best you can into your congregation. Invite people in to teach you something you don’t know in these areas. You’ll be surprised the type of relationships that can form when you humble yourself to simply learn.
- Seventh, be open to more charismatic theology. Charismatics should be open to more conservative evangelical theology, as well, but charismatic churches have been far more successful developing international and multi-ethnic congregations. This is not a coincidence. Explore the biblical foundations of more open worship and inclusion of gifts of the Spirit and be willing to adjust according to truth.
- Eighth, challenge American, suburban notions of the right house, car, neighborhood, community, schools, job, etc. The Kingdom of God isn’t safe, suburban America. It is submission to the King, Christ, and letting go of these cultural assumptions means living more simply and relationally and being willing to find our safety in Christ rather than external cultural circumstances. And since leaders are to be the examples, it begins with the life of leadership and how the administration of the church is run. These socio-economic concerns are huge. Teach the congregation that they are citizens of the Kingdom first, and the King might have different plans than the white-picket fence ideal for them. In fact, He definitely does.
- Ninth, don’t segregate ministries according to age or life stages. Have services and events where the whole families can attend and people interact intergenerationally. Only segregate the children when absolutely necessary (probably never) and not because of some idea that they need church “for them”, too. There’s no such thing as kiddie church and grown up church. There’s just church, and we’ve lost enough young people because we’ve taught them church had to be “on their level.” It takes being a little child to enter the Kingdom, not an old fuddy-duddy. The kids will understand more than you think … or maybe even more than you. Additionally, get rid of all ministries that segregate along personal circumstance (single, married, divorced are the popular ones).
- Tenth, be patient. You’re really asking people to be uncomfortable and humble and learn about others in ways they’d rather avoid, in their flesh. There might be lots of failures and speed bumps along the way. But love suffers long and is kind. Keep moving forward but always do it in love, being realistic about the challenges (take up your cross and follow me) and the reward (he who seeks to lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Gospel, shall keep it). There is life and blessing along this path (Psalm 133). And again, the leaders should be examples of this first.
These posts are for me, as well. Some of these I’ve done, but others I still need to learn, too.