Fostering a Culture of Diversity
We need to distinguish between being multi-ethnic and diverse. A diverse church moves beyond black and white. Colorado Community Church is not just ethnically eclectic but we enjoy denominational, theological, political, age and spiritual diversity too.
This is fostered in two ways: 1) Our view of the larger body of Christ and 2) our approach giving.
Weaving a Fabric of Friendship: We truly believe that Jesus only sees one church when he looks at our city–it just happens to meet in 1500 locations! The Body of Christ spoken of in I Corinthians 12 is not about one local church but all the local expressions of the church in a particular city. That being the case our desire is to play our role in relationship to the other expressions of Jesus’ church.
We recognize that we are only a small part of a larger whole and for our city to be reached we must seek to unify the church to serve the needs of our community. It is imperative that we build kingdom partnerships with other ministries across racial, class and denominational lines.
Growing Fruit on Other’s Trees: This is expressed most practically in our generosity. In an attempt to live openhandedly with the blessings of God we ask every member to give generously to God but NOT to give it all to Colorado Community Church. We budget based upon half of our people’s giving thus freeing them up to radically bless others.
WE CALL THIS 5 + 5: Everyone is encouraged to give a least ten percent of their income to God; half to the church and the other half they hold on to to give outside our walls to other churches and ministries. This forces us to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to diversity. Jesus taught us that our heart follows our treasure and we want our hearts connected with our brothers and sisters wherever they worship in our city.
Ultimately, this way of thinking only furthers the culture of diversity within our own congregation.
Dr. David Anderson, pastor of the vibrantly multi-ethnic Bridgeway Community Church, writes about the art of inclusion in his book Gracism. He defines this new term saying, it is “the positive extension of favor on other humans based on color, class or culture.” Grace crosses all barriers, not just race.
Anderson says that one way gracism plays itself out is through grace-onomics: “…the leveraging of financial and relational networks to help others succeed in their economic worlds…Grace-onomics are acts of gracism as they relate to money, class, opportunity and justice. Such acts are at the heart of reconciliation”
(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)