The other day I was spending some time with a friend who is in human resources at a major recreation company. As we talked about his experience and training he reminded me of an important principle: diversity and inclusion are not one and the same.
While we often hear them together, and they are related, diversity and inclusion each have their own meanings and applications. Understanding the difference can help churches build a more welcoming, all-embracing, and multi-ethnic church.
Currently, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (the LCMS, the church I’m part of) is one of the least diverse religious groups in the U.S.
While the nation’s overall population is growing more racially and ethnically diverse – and so are many of its religious groups — the LCMS is not anywhere near keeping pace. Among the Pew Research Center’s recent survey of 30 different religious groups, the LCMS ranked 28th in terms of racial and ethnic diversity (among five racial groups: Latina/os, non-Latina/o whites, blacks, Asians, and an umbrella group titled “mixed-race”). In other words, we are overwhelming, homogeneously, white.