Recently I finished a relatively old urban ministry book – Ray Bakke’s “a theology as big as the city“. This book rocks, and is filled with insights on God’s love for the city and our roles in it.One practical and disputable insight I’ve been mulling over comes from this quote of his “The local city church staff should increasingly match the ethnicity, class, and culture of the church’s members”.
Coming from a predominantly ethnic church background myself I have long desired a church that is multi-ethnic. Even mono-ethnic churches are quite diverse underneath it all, however there is something indescribably beautiful when entering a community that is blatantly ethnically diverse as well.
The key to Bakke’s principle is leadership. If the staff and leaders can be intentionally diverse and move forward together then there is hope for the congregation. This sends the message that not only will we tolerate and accept those who are diverse, we also welcome them, embrace them, and desire that they influence and lead us as a community as well.
My questions going forward
– Bakke goes beyond race and culture, but suggests having class diversity in leadership. Will we really allow the ‘poor’ to lead us?
– Do we now ‘profile’ people to attain a diverse staff?
– Would this work better if leadership was a reflection of the neighborhood as opposed to the ‘members’?
– What do small churches with a single staff member do for diversity?