Monday Follows Sunday is a series of challenges and prompts for your Monday morning. Inspired by by this quote: “[God’s] as capable of intervening in your office on Monday afternoon as [God] is in your church on Sunday morning.” – Andy Stanley, When Work and Family Collide.
One of the themes that is continually at the forefront of my mind as I administer is “unity in the midst of diversity”. It is an important truth to remember and to consider in ministry. In an ever-changing world, this notion is an important guiding principle. But this statement also challenges me, because in its best application it brings a diverse community together but at its worse it attempts to name that diversity as a new homogeneity.
Let me explain, in administration I work with many people with many gifts all unified in the common mission of sharing the Gospel. But in the midst of that diversity, at times, there are some that feel the need to speak of that diversity as if it in itself has some homogeneous nature.
You’ve heard it before… just think politics. A politicians touts their understanding of multicultural needs but then make recommendations in policy based on what “that group” thinks, does, acts. We all know that any group, while seemingly connected by a common purpose, can have many understandings and interpretations of that purpose. Each member of any group will act on different motives, different life experience, different perspective and to speak of the group as if they are of one mind is denying the very diversity you are trying to foster.
The challenge in ministry is to be able to live in that tension. Anytime you get up in front of a group and say “______ group thinks” or “_________ people do” or even ” __________ demographic acts” you are both denying the diversity and alienating yourself from the conversation. In ministry leadership, we have the tough job of both naming and claiming the common vision and mission and honoring the diversity of gifts that God has placed in our community. It is a dance of language that is worth paying attention to so that you don’t lose the energy of your common purpose in the poor articulation of actions, thought or motive.
On this Monday, I challenge you to find a way to articulate mission and vision in your leadership without generalizing and undermining the beauty of diversity.
Hard stuff, but good stuff. Monday blessings,