I am so happy to be in a diverse worship community. One of the major reasons I moved to L.A. from a small midwest town at age 18 was because I wanted to be somewhere with more diversity; I wanted to worship alongside people different than me.
To me, that’s one of the most beautiful ways to experience Jesus: amidst the mosaic of His people. We’re all different parts of the same Organism, and that’s fascinating to me. On our team, we have gender, age, race, nationality, denomination, personality, social, and economic diversity, plus probably a lot more. I’m sure this is true of your worship community as well!
Sometimes it’s more challenging to keep everyone on the same page, but it’s, of course, worth it. Nobody wants a homogenous worship team. So, what are some practical ways to grow unity on a diverse team? Whether you’re the point person, a staff member, or a volunteer, here are 3 very relevant tips:
1. Keep the main thing the main thing.
Remembering why we’re here and Who we’re serving can shrink down differences and help grow common ground. What a huge thing we have in common! We were created to serve and worship Jesus! We’ve given our lives to Him and taken up His assignment. To love well, to make disciples - to spread the Good News! What were we arguing about again?
“…A divided household falls.” Luke 11:17 (ESV)
It’s such an under-utilized strategy. This is quite possibly the best tip of the day: If you’ve had a divisive conversation or experience with someone you worship with, find something to apologize for. If you’re not sure whether they were even offended, do it just in case. If they did everything wrong and you’re perfect, you can still say “I value you and I’m sorry that happened between us.” Saying you’re sorry is one of the most disarming things ever. It promotes unity because it tells that person, “I value you more than my pride. I want to take extra steps to make sure we’re good.”
“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there and go. First be reconciled to them, then come offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV, NIV)
3. Row Your Own Canoe
This is my new favorite saying. There are always going to be people that take offense. Whenever you run into a situation like this, just focus on keeping your own conscious clear. We can’t fix everything; we can only do our part. Do everything in your power to make things right, then abruptly stop worrying about it :) You’re on mission.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 (NIV)
What are some things you’ve learned about cultivating unity and guarding against division on your team?