Diversity is a boon to our economy, our society, our communities, our economies, our country, and the world.
But when the diversity is too many, it can have serious downsides, particularly when it comes to recruiting talent, said the Rev. Paul G. Allen, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
As the number of black and Hispanic evangelical leaders in leadership roles rises, some are concerned that some of them are not taking the opportunity to work with other groups or in ways that foster more racial and ethnic diversity, Allen said.
“We are a diverse country and our churches need to be.
We have to be open to the possibility of our congregations being diverse,” Allen said in a video for the National Council of Churches’ conference on diversity and inclusion in religious life.
“And we need to make sure that diversity is not just the result of a policy, but a personal experience of being a member of one or more ethnic groups, of being part of a multi-ethnic congregation.”
A group of white evangelical leaders and Christian ministers met in Washington, D.C., this month to discuss how to move forward with their congregations diversity initiatives, the National Religious Broadcasters said.
The meeting was the latest effort among evangelical leaders to discuss ways to better accommodate minorities in the congregations and religious communities that they serve.
The Rev. Scott Lively, who is black, said at the meeting that the “ultimate goal of diversity is a place of peace and love,” according to a transcript of the meeting.
The National Council on Churches said it is committed to diversity in the religious and public sphere.
The organization, founded in 1965, has more than 600,000 members, according to its website.
The group has also been critical of church leaders who do not actively engage in conversations about racial and other minorities.
It is also critical of the “diversity wars” fought over the last decade by the Southern Baptist Convention and other religious leaders who say it is time to end the exclusionary practices of white Christians and other groups.
According to a survey published in 2014 by the Pew Research Center, more than half of evangelicals said they would not participate in church gatherings if the group did not allow all members to speak.
The poll found that among evangelicals who identify as white, 55% said they could not attend a church gathering without the permission of at least one white person, including 36% of black evangelicals.
The majority of white evangelicals said white people should be allowed to attend church, but the proportion of black Christians who said white Christians should not be allowed was also higher than among evangelicals of other races.
The Southern Baptist convention is the largest U.S. Protestant denomination.
It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United Methodist Church, Southern Baptist Church and other denominations.