We all have a tendency to surround ourselves with people that are similar to ourselves. There are plenty of reasons this facilitates relationships and can be beneficial. In fact, searching for things in common is often how many friendships begin. This is a normal part of the process of getting to know new people, but it can become problematic when we intentionally separate ourselves too much from people that are different.
In an increasingly polarizing world, we hear plenty of conversation that separates and creates opposition. American tensions and dichotomies today have seeped into the mentality of the Church as well. We live in such a defensive state that we are trained to approach people as either friend or foe. It is assumed that if they don’t agree with us, then they must be against us.
The work of the church requires that we see that no one is past the mercy of God. We have to be willing to introduce anyone to Jesus Christ, no matter how different they may seem. To take it even further, we need a Church that ministers not only to everyone but a Church that also ministers through diversity with all of its members.
What Kind of Diversity?
Diversity in ministry is an essential part of how the Church should live out the work of the Gospel. While much of the country’s conversation about diversity is more about race, I want to save that for a different conversation. For now, I would like to focus on a diversity of gifts and experiences.
For the majority of the Church, our priests are seen as the ones that should be most active in the work of the Church. We do need to recognize the unique role that priests have as our liturgical and spiritual leaders, but it would be wrong to see them as the only ones that need to take action. The Lord has been generous in His gifts to allow all baptized Christians to have a role in the work of the Gospel.
“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”
– 1 Peter 4:10
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