I am speaking on Tuesday and Wednesday to the annual retreat for conference presidents in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. I have been asked to be a presenter on diversity in the denomination and structures to manage that diversity. My colleague and friend, Dr. Leslie Pollard (president of Oakwood University) is the chief presenter and chair for the sessions.
The Adventist Church Is the most diverse denomination in America for its size. (There may be some very small denominations that are more diverse, but I cannot confirm that because most of these small denominations do not have data available anywhere, electronic or on paper.) The Adventist Church has already arrived at the point where there is no longer any ethnic majority. The majority group has become another minority group. This is the point where the entire American population will arrive at around 2042 according to Census Bureau projections.
Relationships between ethnic groups have always operated on a majority-minority basis, but now that dynamic no longer works for the denomination. And in three decades it will no longer work for the American nation. We are thrust into a new world that most leaders are unprepared to understand and cope with.
Dr. David Penno completed a PhD dissertation last year on this very topic at Andrews University. I highly recommend it. His data show surprising consensus among ethnic groups in the Adventist Church on four out of five questions related to this topic. Many of the comments made on various blogs and in letters to the editor are not supported by the vast majority of church members, although the writers often assume that they speak for a widely held view.