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Affirmative Action and John Piper

January 24, 2007

Here’s an interesting article from John Piper, about how he targets ethnic minorities when looking to fill pastoral positions at his church. An interesting question here: is this a right way to go about making a church more diverse? Read the whole thing – it isn’t too long, and I’ll be here when you get back.

John Piper would break here with conservative political thought, and because of this, also breaks with evangelicals. I have to admit, I’ve never really thought it through that much, usually assuming any sort of “affirmative action” really isn’t needed these days. However, at the same time, I am disappointed in the lack of ethnic diversity in some of the churches I go to. This really isn’t the case as much at Covenant Life Church: because of the area, it is very diverse. The Senior Pastor is Asian in decent, and we also have an African American on staff. I’d love to see more diversity, but the Covenant Life Church pastoral team is fairly diverse.

However, in the frozen northlands of Pennsylvania, the story is slightly different. You usually don’t see much diversity in churches up there. Now granted, the churches up there that I know intimately are smaller. Not only that, but the areas tend to be lily white, especially my hometown of Indiana, PA. I recall to my friends that during one visit there, I was struck that something was wrong, although I couldn’t put my finger on it. After thinking about it, it came to me. “Everyone here is WHITE!” This is pretty much true of Indiana, so I probably shouldn’t be too surprised if a church in a white area is . . . white.

However, I have been thinking – how do we promote diversity in our local churches? Racism in this country has left churches divided along racial lines for years. There are still black and white churches all over the country, and it is rare that one race ventures into another’s church. I am of the mind that this should not be – the body of Christ should reflect the people of the area, not one subset of that area’s people. How should we bridge the gaps? I think of the Lancaster church (yep, that would be you, Chris!). There is a sizable Hispanic population there in Lancaster these days – how do you go about reaching them and bringing them into your church?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2007 2:50 pm

    Well, I honestly don’t know. I know right now we’re reaching out to Millersville (targeting more of a town area than a racial area) since our building will Lord willing be put up almost smack dab in Millersville. Come to think of it, it might be cool to do a bit more


  2. January 26, 2007 9:19 pm

    What’s stopping you from going to their church?

  3. January 27, 2007 11:44 am

    Good point, Joe.

    At the moment for me personally, it is because I’m comfortable with the church I’m in, including its diversity (although we could always improve). In the Alpha classes in which I serve, the kids I watch tend to be Hispanic and Asian, mostly because we also do the ESL class – and that has brought many of those ethnicities into our church.

    Although, I hope I would be open to going to a different ethnic community’s church if I were ever “church shopping”.

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