Jesus Embraced Diversity

If we look at the myriad of diversity in the world we can clearly see that God values diversity.  Diversity is not always about race or ethnicity; for instance  Jesus certainly expressed diversity in his choice of staff: tax collector, fisherman, physician, former prosecuting attorney, women etc. He valued diversity and placed an array of personalities, backgrounds and experiences around him in order to advance his work.   The story of Jacob and the “minority” sheep is another great illustration.

The bottom line is most organizations and teams do not like to talk about or embrace diversity.  They would prefer to talk as though it doesn’t exist.  By doing this they are assuming that everyone has the same backgrounds, experiences and wiring.   People are so uncomfortable and worried about the “Race” conversation offending someone, they choose to make it a non-issue.  The only way that race will be a non-issue is if you make race an issue. (repeat that last sentence)  Although it may seem taboo, you must be willing to talk openly about race and diversity.

The even harsher reality is to acknowledge the realization that diversity in organizational teams should and in my opinion must exist.  It’s not like Jesus just said “I took a group of people to be on my team.”  Jesus articulated who they were and the uniqueness they brought to the table — this gives us a clear perspective of how he rolled.   I think Jesus was illustrating this mindset,  “I know all of these people around me bring diverse backgrounds, diverse way of thinking and diverse ways of acting to the table, but that’s the beauty about how we are going to get this work done.”  In other-words, Jesus is saying that you and you and you and you… can be on my team with the unique differences, skills, thoughts and backgrounds that God has given you.

Jesus embraced diversity at all levels; I personally think we need to be like Jesus and move from tolerating diversity to embracing diversity at all levels.  Jesus embraced diversity — Do You?  Does Your Job? Does Your Church?

Fortune magazine states that “diverse groups make better decisions.  If everyone in the room is the same, you’ll have fewer arguments and worse answers.  Diversity is a distinct competitive advantage.

Share your experience and thoughts working in organizations or attending churches that either embrace or simply tolerate diversity of any kind?  Race, Gender, Thoughts, Backgrounds…

  • http://www.tc521.org Derwin L. Gray

    Pastor Scott,

    great word on diversity. I have the honor of being the Lead Pastor of Transformation Church (wwww.tc521.org), we are a multi-ethnic Church, with people from diverse backgrounds.

    Our diversity, infused with God’s Spirit has done sonething in our community (Charlotte, NC area) that can only be explained by God. In 7 months since our launch we’ve grown from 200 to 1200, over 140 people have come to Christ, we’ve been to impact our communiuty in ways a 7 month old church plant should not.

    We believe God is honoring His desire for His church to be multi-ethnic (diverse). God does not want 11:00am Sunday to be the most segregated hour.

    We have so much to learn and so more to do. Please pray for us.

    Pastor Derwin

  • http://theperkinsblog.net Michael

    Diversity is crucial…I believe…

    The church I serve at as an assoc. is bi-lingual. We have been so for about 2 years now. It really has been an amazing thing to witness.

  • http://artiedavis.com/blog ArtieDavis

    I’m always reminded that when I am at the feet of Jesus for all eternity, I will be with my brothers of every “tribe, nation & tongue.” I need to start that now!

    Had a woman call me and and say, “Pastor Artie, I have a ministry at the local jail, and have seen some black women get saved. But, I cant take them to my church, can I send them to Cornerstone!”

    Are you serious?!!! REally??? Why are you in such a church!!!

    Love ya bro!

  • http://twitter.com/AidaofNubia Aïda

    I’m fortunate to be part of a very diverse church. That said, I think the focus on racial diversity in churches and other institutions sometimes negates the complexities of the word “diverse”. There are socio-economic and experiential diversities at play too. There is also the issue of intellectual and/or mental synergy. People will always gravitate to those of like mind and of similar experiences. It’s human nature.

    I think what we need to focus on is streamlining the factors that separate people by race. Education, income, etc. Right now we have no choice but to band-aid the situation. Not so for our children. They have an incredible opportunity to build a better world. This is why good parenting, and their up-bringing is so important right now. We must keep teaching them to accept others, as Christ does us (Rom 15:7). We must also teach them (and ourselves!) to focus on people’s hearts above and beyond any outward and/or worldy appearances (1 Sam 16:7).

  • jimmy hankins

    If you’re interested in observing diversity by chance instead of plan, visit Gospel Celebration Fellowship. Nothing provides diversity like OKC’s correctional facilities. GCF’s ministry is to bring guys from local men’s halfway houses to their church so they can worship, break bread and spend time with their families. It provides for a very diverse mix of people. All the different shades of human, all the different shades of virtue, honor and sin.

    So which do you think Jesus valued more? Diversity, or the diverse? (grin)

  • http://Www.edgarcabello.com Edgar Cabello

    The church was born multiiracially, multinationally and multilingually. We must not just embrace but pursue this. Diversity is in style theoretically but very difficult in reality. Intentionality & open conversation are key elements to development in churches. Great resource: United by Faith by Michael Emerson & team

  • http://sarcasticxtian.com/ Scott Smith

    Love this, Scott. Where I live, there simply isn’t a lot of racial diversity, but our church is a good representation of who lives here. I don’t see any issue there. However – I love your point about choice of staff. If we’re all the same, our decisions will be all the same. We’ll never reach anyone new if we don’t get input from people different from ourselves.

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