Faith Communities Today
New Fact Information
As a whole, the Adventist Church in the U.S. has significantly greater ethnic diversity than the general population. It has greater ethnic diversity than most other faiths. Adventist congregations are also more likely to report that they are trying to increase their racial and ethnic diversity than are other local religious groups across the country.
This information comes from research done as part of the Faith Communities Today (FACT) survey.
About 45% of Adventist churches say it is “very” true or “quite” true that “Our congregation is trying to increase its racial/ethnic diversity.” About 22% report that it is “somewhat” true, while 31% indicate that it is only “slightly” true or “not at all” true for their congregation. Bottom line: Seventh-day Adventists, by and large, are embracing diversity! We look a lot like heaven will look as described in Revelation 5:9
Among those who report that it is only “somewhat” true or even “slightly” true that they are working for greater diversity are some congregations who are already very diverse. Local church leaders may feel that it is no longer appropriate or even possible to increase the diversity of the congregation.
It is likely that less than one congregation in four is not seeking to increase its diversity. Not all of these congregations can be fairly seen as resistant to greater diversity. A high percentage of Adventist churches are located in small towns and rural areas that may be dominated by one ethnic group. While leaders may be quite open to the idea, it may be quite difficult achieve such a goal.Discussion Questions:
1. Would you say that is very true, quite true, somewhat true, slightly true or not at all true: Our congregation is trying to increase its racial/ethnic diversity.
2. What is the ethnic profile of our congregation?
3. What are some of the hidden feelings that various individuals or groups may have within our congregation regarding the ethnic diversity of our congregation? What should be our response, as church leaders, to these feelings?
4. What more can we do to move our congregation toward greater ethnic diversity?
New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry