According to a new study by Duke University, religious congregations in the United States are growing significantly more diverse. So the critics that used to harp that “Church is the most segregated hour in America” need to find something else to complain about. The study also suggests that the larger the church, the more diverse it will usually be.
Immigration has had something to do with it, but technology is also an interesting key. Applications like email, blogs, and social networking sites allow people to cross ethnic and social lines as they communicate – which naturally extends to worship communities.
While more diversity is certainly a good thing, I hope we’re not seeing the beginning of the end for ethnic worship styles as congregations assimilate. For all the criticism about segregated worship, there is something unique about traditional African-American worship, or Hispanic churches. I’ve also worshipped in Asian churches which bring a different style as well. That’s why I’ve never gotten hung up on making church more racially diverse. Certainly with many of our Cooke Media Group clients – especially as the study suggests, the larger churches – the diversity is fantastic. But if we lose the distinct styles of ethnic churches, that would be a great loss.