The headline of an article I read last week shocked me. It announced:
Sunday Morning in America Still Segregated – and That’s OK With Worshipers
It was the findings of a study conducted by LifeWay Research – and here’s what they had to say…
- Sunday morning remains one of the most segregated hours in American life, with more than 8 in 10 congregations (86%) made up of one predominant racial group. And most worshipers like it that way.
- Two-thirds of American churchgoers (67 percent) say their church has done enough to become racially diverse. Less than half think their church should become more diverse.
- Researchers also found churchgoers who oppose more diversity do so with gusto. A third (33 percent) strongly disagree that their church needs to be more diverse. More than 4 in 10 (42 percent) felt strongly their church was doing enough.
- Evangelicals (71 percent) are most likely to say their church is diverse enough, while Whites (37 percent) are least likely to say their church should become more diverse.
- Almost all pastors (90 percent) say racial reconciliation is mandated by the gospel. Yet for many pastors, the issue of racial reconciliation seldom comes up in sermons. Four in 10 (43 percent) say they speak on the issue once a year or less. Twenty-nine percent of pastors rarely or never do.
- African Americans (51 percent) and Hispanic Americans (47 percent) were more likely to say their church needs to be more diverse.
“Surprisingly, most churchgoers are content with the ethnic status quo in their churches,” said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. “In a world where our culture is increasingly diverse… it appears most people are happy where they are—and with whom they are.”
“Yet, it’s hard for Christians to say they are united in Christ when they are congregating separately,” Stetzer said.
Not long after giving his famed “I Have A Dream” speech during the March on Washington in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was invited to lecture on race at Western Michigan University.
In a question-and-answer session after the lecture, King said Christians in the United States fail to live out the tenets of their faith.
“We must face the fact that in America,” he said, “the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic.”
Yes. This is still an issue today. Segregation in the church is something we need to talk about; an issue we need to work on and change.
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Here’s a video our young people made for our church (it was shown on Sunday morning):