Not An Option

17 Jan

I wonder if you have heard of the Homogeneous Unit Principle?  

Whether you have heard it or not, it is often the way we function in practice. We like to be with people who are most like us. And our churches often reflect that.  Our churches are often filled with people of very similar cultural backgrounds.  Many people wouldn’t even think of looking into a church that was made up of people who were very different than them. 

Does it matter though?  Should we care if our churches are diverse in terms of ethnicities and socio-economic status and educational backgrounds? Why even talk about it?

One reason we talk about it is because if we don’t talk about it, it usually won’t happen. It is only one of many biblical priorities when it comes to a local church, but it is a priority that people won’t pursue unless they are challenged to pursue it.

David Rogers writes,

“Due to the ubiquitous sinfulness inherent in human nature, the goal of demonstrating the unity of Christ through the structures of the local church will require an intentional effort on the part of its members. According to DeYoung et al., “A church that does not aim to become multiracial almost never does.” Ortiz adds, “Many urban pastors attempting multiethnic ministries comment that crossing socioeconomic barriers can be even more difficult than crossing racial or ethnic lines.” 

I agree.  

There’s much more in his post that I found helpful and think you would enjoy thinking through as he attempts to evaluate the Homogeneous Unit Principle.  

But here is his conclusion,  

“Indeed, demonstrating the unity and reconciliation to which God has called us as members of the Body of Christ is hard work. In many ways, it goes against human nature. If we are to be faithful, though, to the vision of radical discipleship inherent in a commitment to follow Jesus, it is not merely an option for the spiritually advanced. While recognizing that as imperfect human beings there will always be room for growth and seeking to avoid a judgmental attitude toward those who may be a few steps behind us in our pilgrimage toward fully understanding the implications of discipleship and putting them into practice, as the church at every level—in local congregations, as well as in missionary strategy and policy driving that strategy—we should manifest a lifestyle of repentance, seeking every opportunity to be faithful ambassadors of the message of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:16–20).”  

David Rogers   

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