I recently met a young couple from our neighborhood who told me that had come to The Open Door a few months back. They said they liked it, but wanted a church that was more diverse. I think they ended up at the larger, more racially mixed, evangelical church down the road. Right now our church is mostly young middle class, educated, white folks, just like the poeple I talked to. Interestingly, I think almost everyone at who is a part of our church would say that they highly value diversity, and desire the Open Door to be a more diverse church.
As BJ, the steering team, and I have struggled with this issue we've come to the reality that there are two options. We can change our music style, our preaching style, and begin marketing in the neighborhood. There's nothing wrong with this approach, but I've come to the realization that we could come accross as being in authentic. I do hope that our worship becomes more diverse over the years, but I don't think we should make drastic changes in how we worship God in order to make that change. The second option we've come up with is to get out into the neighborhood more and serve those who are in some sort of need. This approach communicates that the church is larger than who comes to worship. I will never be able to worship in a charismatic setting, but I can serve along side those who are. For those we serve who are not a part of any church, those who are not Christians, is the goals of our serves, friendships and work to get them into our worship gathering? Not necessarily, maybe those African American's whom we serve and share the gospel with would rather be a part of a large traditionally African American Church... that's great. So, basically, I've come to peace that The Open Door needs to serve our neighborhood, work for peace and justice, share the gospel through word and action, and not worry about who comes to our worship gathering for now. We'll welcome change and welcome any new person into our worship gathering and our community as a whole, but we'll not worry about it, we'll keep worshiping God and believe that serving and building relationships is more important than who comes to our worship gathering. But we'll remain ready and willing to change when we can do it authentically in God's time.