Will this be the year when the 20% threshold be crossed?
By 2012, however, the percentage of churches having at least twenty percent diversity in their attending membership nearly doubled: from 7.5% to 13.7% generally, and to 14.4% more specifically in Protestant Evangelical churches. In addition, churches of 1,000 or more were five times more likely to have such diversity by 2012 than they were in 2000. According to sociologist, Dr. Michael Emerson, co-author of Divided by Faith, the change in percentages from 2006 to 2012 represented “seismic statistical shift in a very short time.”
As you know, Mosaix has long championed a goal to see 20% diversity in 20% of churches by the year 2020. Yet from all that I’ve seen and felt since our 2nd National Conference in 2013, I now believe the 20% threshold will be crossed in 2018 when new statistics are reported and analyzed later in the year; that is, two years earlier than the goal for which we have worked and hoped to achieve!
If and when this happens (no matter the year), the Multi-ethnic Church Movement will emerge from a pioneer stage and enter into an early adopter stage.
In general, you might think of it this way:
- 1960 – 2000 (Forerunner Stage; 40 years)
- 2000 – 2020 (Pioneer Stage; 20 years)
- 2020 – 2030 (Early Adopter Stage; 10 years)
- 2030 – 2035 (Movement Mainstreamed; 5 years)
In time, then, the Movement will be established and mainstreamed as homogenous churches become increasingly marginalized in a society that suspects segregation, values diversity, and today judges us not by the size of attendance on Sunday morning or, otherwise, mere good words, but by the breadth of our influence and good works in the community (Matthew 5:16; I Corinthians 9:20-22; 13:1).
7 Indicators of the Early Adopter Stage
- The development of cross-cultural relationships and competence will be recognized as essential to the fulfillment of a local church’s mission and vision.
- Diverse staff teams will become normative through the intentional hiring of leaders more reflective of the community.
- A majority of church planters will seek to plant multi-ethnic and economically diverse churches; consequently, a majority of new churches will reflect the multi-ethnic vision.
- Entrenched denominational and network leaders otherwise well versed and experienced in homogenous churches/church planting, and who have (to date) championed such a model, will either adapt or be replaced (through attrition or intentionally) with leaders that recognize the why, what, and how of planting, growing, and developing healthy multi-ethnic churches to advance a credible gospel in the 21st century.
- Early disappointment will be seized upon, and the flames of disillusionment stoked, by skeptics when churches seeking to become multi-ethnic experience inevitable failures, initial mistakes, or are otherwise misled by self-proclaimed diversity experts chosen more for relational proximity to someone in power than proven expertise in leading organizational development. Church leaders that remain passionate, prayerful, patient, and persistent, will be those who emerge on the other side to establish truly healthy multi-ethnic and economically diverse, disruptive, works.
- Pursuit of justice will be widely understood as intrinsic, not peripheral, to the Gospel, and necessitated change in understanding and approach to local mission and compassionate ministry.
- An increased number of churches will recognize the need and/or by way of new laws or regulation to establish associated non-profit (CDCs) as well as for-profit (LLCs) works by leveraging assets to redeem communities and create multiple streams of income (beyond tithes and offerings) to help fund mission.