Have the Right “Why”

As Carla identified in Part One of this series, Lutheran congregations are wondering “How can we get more people of color in our congregation?”  Which is a good question to be asking.  Unless it’s for the wrong reasons.

Our motives really matter.  How we answer “why?” reveals where our heart is.  There are some downright bad reasons to be desiring greater diversity in our congregations.

Four Bad Reasons to seek racial diversity in our congregations

  • “My congregation is shrinking and we really need more people.”

  • “Given the changing neighborhood, this seems like one of our only options.”

  • “We [white people] have a lot we can teach [those not like us].”

  • “I do feel guilty for the sin of racism and I think this would assuage some of my guilt.”

If you identify with these motives, it’s time to do some soul searching, reading, praying, and talking with your synod’s anti-racism team!  These motives perpetuate racism in our congregations, a racism that has motivated far too many missionary attempts throughout history.

If you don’t identify with the Bad Reasons, read on to see if your “why” fits more closely with the following:    

Four Good Reasons to seek racial diversity in our congregations

  • “Because, dear black and brown sibling, you bear the image of God.  I see in you the face of Christ.”

  • “Because our Christian community is incomplete without one another.  My humanity is inextricably bound to you and yours.  We need one another in order to be whole, both as individuals and as a community.”

  • “Because you are a beloved Child of God and I want to know you and be in relationship with you.”

  • “Because, racism is real, just as real as evil.  God triumphs over evil.  The power of God heals deep divisions.  Christ breaks down the walls we create to divide us.  Together we proclaim justice and mercy in a hurting world.”

Has your congregation wondered how can we get more people of color in our congregation?

What is motivating you?

Views expressed reflect the diversity of voices and experiences across our synod and belong solely to the author, not necessarily to the Lower Susquehanna Synod or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.