That’s the question of this hour. Perhaps of equal importance is the question, “Am I a credible witness for Christ?” I have referenced John 17:20-23 and 2 Cor. 5:14-20 several times throughout this series because in those passages, the Bible is clear that unity and reconciliation among all believers in Christ sends a message to the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, in the area of diversity, the world is teaching the church a lesson or two. Business leaders all across the globe value diversity because it impacts their bottom line. Diverse leadership teams, though challenging, are more innovative and make better decisions. Diverse experiences of leaders filter into marketing plans which attract a broad and more diverse customer base. The new customers continue to invest in the business and the leaders can therefore expand their vision and brand.
As Christians, we are not trying to sell people a product, but we have the most important message (the only message that matters) which brings life and we want to share that message with as many people as possible. Not only do we want to share the message, we want to do so passionately, effectively, and over a long period of time if necessary. Therefore, we need all capable bodies on this mission. Mission accomplishment requires teamwork and teams cannot work effectively without trust.
When white Christian leaders have dialog about the Church and her future without considering diversity, racial reconciliation, or engaging minorities in the conversations, they are essentially saying, “We don’t need you.” When minority congregations and its people thrive apart from white congregations and have no concern for their white brothers or sisters at the church down the street, they are essentially saying, “We don’t need you either.” According to the Apostle Paul, having this attitude is unacceptable (1 Cor. 12:18-26). These unacceptable practices do not build trust. They destroy our integrity and do not make us credible witnesses for Christ. Scott Williams wrote, “Ministry leaders are claiming they want to share the gospel with “all people,” but their sanctuaries and their hearts are communicating that they want to share the gospel with those that look like them (38).”
We must change our attitudes and our practices. We must tear down the racial and ethic walls in the church so trust can be established. Dr. McNeil writes, “If we want to effectively share the gospel it is critical that we establish ourselves as credible witness who can be trusted (82).” If we don’t trust each other in the church, why would anyone outside of the church trust us, our message, or believe in the importance of our mission?
We are on mission to “[make] disciples of all people, all groups, all cities, and all lost people (Williams 80, emphasis mine).” Will we accomplish it?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2012