The question was posed: what does diversity at Lakeview Church look like? The answer is simple; red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight: Jesus loves the little children of the world. The problem is the church that Jesus died for and promised to build doesn’t love the different hues of humanity. Correction, they love them because that “old time religion makes me love everybody,” but they don’t love them together. It’s more comfortable loving people from afar, loving them in theory, but it’s messy loving them up close and among us.
During most of its history, Lakeview Church, like 95% of all churches in America, was a mono-ethnic church. In our case, predominantly white. The vision to build a multiethnic church was birthed in my heart 30 years ago, but the manifestation of how that could happen never came until the last ten years. There are many moments in the journey of becoming diverse, turning points prompted by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it comes out of the mouth of others. I had one such moment shortly after coming to Lakeview. An African-American lady who worked at our daycare but did not attend our missions-minded church said, “Lakeview loves the Africans across the sea; they just don’t love the Africans they can see.” On one level it hurt, and on another level it unloosed something that had been bound up in my heart for decades. God began working in small ways, nudging, prompting, and at times prodding me towards making intentional, small steps towards creating an environment where a church could become a place that “looks like heaven.”
We are not there yet but I believe we are well on our way with God’s help and guidance. What does it look like? What should it look like? I’m not sure of the answers to any of these questions, but this one thing I’m certain of, God wants us to not just work together, go to school together, fight wars together; He wants us to worship Him together. The Book of Revelation gives a grand vision of heaven where every tongue, tribe, nation and people will worship God around the throne.
At Lakeview Church we’re trying to get a jump on that!
What does a diverse church look like?