Everyone Deserves a Seat at the Table, But We’re Not All Present

The Church Has Failed at Proper Representation and We Desperately Need to Work on It.

Zach Muller

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Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

I went to church for the first time yesterday—the first time in a few years, anyway.

Yes, in the midst of everything going on, I snuck in the back row of a church (with my mask on the whole time because reasons [there’s a parallel there]). It’s been probably close to two years or so since I’ve been to a church for a non-Christmas/Easter/whatever service, and it’s my first time going to church since moving back to my home city.

I went to a church that some friends of mine go to, a church I had never been to before and a church that I knew up front is non-affirming. I sat in the back by myself, doing my best to avoid the need to code-switch for any reason. And while I was standing in the back and taking a look at the stage during the opening worship set, I noticed a black woman on stage wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt co-leading worship. It was a pleasant surprise to see, even if she was the only black person on stage and one of only two women on stage. Seeing her, though, made me think about how important that representation is to anyone watching that service. To see a black woman on stage in a predominantly white, decent-sized church co-leading worship intentionally and boldly wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt—that’s wicked important. Straight up, the majority of the room was white. Which is fine, but that makes that message even more important, in my opinion. It all got me to thinking about how important it is for our churches to have that kind of representation from their stages, their pulpits, etc., and most importantly how little representation most of our churches have. And then, out of the blue in the midst of all of these thoughts, I caught myself saying this:

Must be nice to be able to see yourself on stage. I’ve never seen anyone like me on a stage like that before.”

For the first time, I finally said what I’ve been feeling for years but could never find the words to say. I have never been in a church before where I’ve looked to the stage—during worship, preaching, whatever—and saw someone like me on that stage. I’ve been to the largest megachurch in the…

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Zach Muller

A late 20s millennial who probably should’ve been kicked out of Bible college. Ohio is home. Coffee keeps me going. Sizable nerd. More sizable sports fan.