Most Churches Aim for, Miss Racial Diversity


The latest study from LifeWay Research finds most churches’ racial makeup fails to meet their goals of the pastor.

Having a racially diverse church remains more dream than reality for most Protestant pastors. More than eight in ten (85 percent) say every church should strive for racial diversity, according to a survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

But few have diverse flocks.

Most (86 percent) say their congregation is predominately one racial or ethnic group.

It’s a reality that once led the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., to call Sunday mornings the most segregated time of the week.

Today, diverse churches remain rare, said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, partly because of human nature.

“Everybody wants diversity,” said Stetzer. “But many don’t want to be around people who are different.”

Additional findings from this and a related LifeWay Research survey:

  • 91 percent of pastors say “churches should reflect the racial diversity in their community”
  • 79 percent of pastors believe their congregations look very similar to the people in their neighborhood
  • 78 percent of Americans say “every church should strive for racial diversity”
  • 51 percent of Americans say they would be most comfortable visiting a church where multiple ethnicities are well represented

Read the entire story at

Racial diversity in church graphic

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