If the UK population were 100 people, 87 would be White, 7 would be Asian, 3 would be Black and 2 would be mixed heritage. But that’s not the whole story…

Over half of the UK’s Ethnic Minority population is under the age of 30. In fact, 1 in 4 children in the UK (under the age of ten) are Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME).

As Reverend Doctor Kate Coleman explains: “Whatever your present context, it will become more diverse and complex over time. It is the introduction of new voices that enable you to see and hear things you didn’t see and hear before.”

Diversity was God’s idea

Our Creator made us different on purpose. The Church was intended to be diverse – right from its inception. Even the name ‘Christian’, was first uttered to describe believers within an ethnically diverse church in Antioch (Acts 11:26). Back then, a ‘Christian’ was someone who worshipped Christ alongside those of other ethnicities.

Today, Christ remains our common denominator. Jesus even prayed we would be ‘one’ as believers; because when we’re unified, the world sees Christ for who He is. Interestingly though, Jesus didn’t pray for us to be the same (John 17:20-23). We each have something different and valuable to contribute. We can celebrate our differences and seek unity without uniformity.

Bridging the divides

Diverse ministry is God’s original blueprint – and we’ve been trying to get back to this ever since. We all have a role to play, bridging the racial and cultural divides in our otherwise small and interconnected communities. This is a time for genuine Church unity – to stand side by side and reclaim what it means to call ourselves ‘Christians’.

How?

Here are 5 ways to partner with Christians whose ethnicity and culture differ from your own:

  1. Commit to Pray for people of all ethnicities in your community.
  1. Meet the Family. Go out and meet the rest of the Church family where you live, beyond your own denomination. Perhaps invite them round to share a meal. You’ll find they’re often facing the same challenges.
  1. Leaders Matter. Studies have shown we all display unconscious bias when picking leaders. We choose people we think are like us. How many leaders in your church share the same ethnic heritage?  And how might this impact the decisions they’re making?
  1. Create Connections. Challenge your church and youth group to use their gifts and creativity to co-host events and take turns visiting one another’s youth clubs.
  1. Raise your voice…and a placard if necessary. We should be inspiring our churches to be champions for diversity and inclusion. If we each model this in our neck of the woods, it will bring about change on a national scale.

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