The Missing Multiracial Congregation

On January 16, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a visionary leader who promoted racial integration and reconciliation. A pastor himself, Dr. King commented on the ironic and discouraging lack of diversity in churches in 1963: “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.”

Data from the U.S. Congregational Life Survey indicates that a vast majority of congregations still lack much racial and ethnic diversity. We consider congregations to be racially-ethnically diverse if they have 80% or fewer worshipers in any one racial-ethnic category. In 2001, 9% of congregations participating in the survey modeled diversity, with no significant change by 2008/2009 (7%).

Although there is still much to be done before U.S. congregations achieve greater racial-ethnic unity, many worshipers and congregations are striving to make this hope a reality. Visit these links for ideas and information about multicultural ministry: