To truly have success in fulfilling the Dream of Destiny, we must see the pursuit of ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic diversity as essential to our churches, parachurch ministries, and schools. This pursuit is essential not only because of the Biblical mandate to reach all nations and reconcile with fellow human beings. And it is essential not only because of the pragmatic concern for our organizations’ ability to thrive in an increasingly diverse society. No, we must also see that this pursuit is essential because our churches, parachurch ministries and schools are deficient in mission and culture when they lack diversity.
I am encouraged by the increasingly intentional pursuit of diverse congregations in the Restoration Movement. It’s why we feature those churches regularly in this blog. I’m also encouraged by the reports I hear from Milligan College, Mid-Atlantic Christian University, and Point University, where intentional steps are being made to enhance diversity campus-wide. In addition to my role in the development department, I’ve also been part of the team working to enhance diversity at Ozark Christian College.
Here is my concern about such efforts: Diversity must be more than a nice thing added to what’s already being done in an organization. We must guard against a motivation of desiring to help “others” get what “we” have. The natural sense of pride taken in an organization’s mission or culture can blind us to their deficiencies. Without the presence, contributions and influence of people from various ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, the mission, perspective and culture of an organization will be limited – and we won’t even know what we don’t know; we won’t even realize what we are missing in our instruction and in campus life.
This is why we wanted to share the following article, written by Melinda D. Anderson, which provides an example of how schools are the beneficiaries when diverse voices are present. It was published in the August 6 edition of The Atlantic. See the link below to read it in its entirety.
Nonwhite educators can offer new and valuable perspectives for children of all backgrounds.
Noah Caruso, 17, calls South Philadelphia home. Known for cheesesteaks, pizza, and bakeries, South Philly is a close-knit, largely Italian American neighborhood where much of the population has traditionally shared the same background, culture, and race. Though an influx of immigrants has made the area more diverse in recent decades, South Philly, like the rest of the city, remains highly segregated. Caruso’s predominantly white community was echoed at his middle school, Christopher Columbus Charter School, where he says all of his teachers were white like him, as were virtually all of his classmates. It was against this backdrop that Caruso enrolled in Science Leadership Academy (SLA)—a public magnet high school in the city—and landed in the freshman English class of Matthew Kay, his first black teacher. Read more…]
For Visible Unity,