Research shows pastor desire racial diversity, reconciliation

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LifeWay Research released a survey today titled “The Church, Racial Reconciliation and Racial Diversity.”

One thousand protestant pastors were asked about racial diversity within their church and the role of the church and pastors in racial reconciliation.

“The question of diversity will likely become more pressing for churches in the future,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

Pastors’ answers revealed that there is an increased awareness about the need for racial integration and reconciliation in the church but there remains much work to be done.

While 85 percent of pastors agreed that every church should strive to achieve racial diversity, only 13 percent said that more than one ethnic or racial group predominated in their church.

When asked whether religious leaders and churches had a role in racial reconciliation in America, an overwhelming 9 out of 10 said they believed it was mandated by the Gospel and 57 percent said their congregations would welcome a sermon on racial reconciliation.

Most pastors, however, have not been encouraged by their churches to preach about racial reconciliation, even in the midst of racial tensions in America. Some even have received negative feedback and 10 percent have not addressed the topic in the last two years.

LifeWay also found that those most often speaking about racial relations and reconciliation are likely to be African American pastors. Only 8 percent of white pastors reported speaking to their churches in sermons or large group messages about racial reconciliation.

Still, pastors are practicing what they preach—or wish they could preach:

  • 44% shared meal with people of different race
  • 57% socialized with neighbors of other ethnicities
  • 40% met regularly with pastors of other ethnicities

Check back later this week for how Florida Baptists are fostering racial reconciliation and integration in their churches and communities.

By Keila Diaz, Florida Baptist Convention, March 20, 2018

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