Diversity is Important

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

Many churches are made up of a diverse fabric of people of all ages, interests, colors, and cultures. But how does that diversity translate to the group of people who make up the church workplace: the volunteers, staff, and clergy that help the church function on a daily basis? This week’s timely topic that may be helpful in your role at a church or organization is Diversity in the Workplace.

Diversity is a reality in our changing workforce. As organizations are called to acceptance and absence of judgment, churches and faith-based organizations are in a position to lead a world that is changing and evolving, and reflect those changes within their walls. Leaders, staff, volunteers, and congregants need to learn how embracing diversity—both in and out of the workplace—can be a positive change in their lives and the lives of others.

At its most basic, diversity in the workplace involves these four steps:

1. Understanding that people are different. Think not in terms of “people,” but in terms of the “person.” Practice empathy in your interactions with other people.

2. Accepting the differences in people. You may not enjoy the cultural nuances of certain people—the clothes they wear, the food they eat, their general habits—but you can learn to embrace the unique aspects of others.

3. Appreciating the differences in people. Only when we have moved past the stereotypes with which groups of people are sometimes given do we have the opportunity to learn this very valuable lesson. If we don’t leave ourselves open to getting beyond labels, we are missing the gift of having some wonderful people in our lives. We are missing the opportunity to learn and grow.

4. Including a variety of people in the workings of your church. Providing an environment and culture in which a diverse group of individuals have the opportunity to contribute at all levels and in all aspects of your church is what constitutes a true commitment to diversity in your workplace. It’s not just about hiring different types of people; rather, it’s about giving everyone a chance to be heard.

This information has been excerpted from the CongregationU online course “Diversity in the Workplace.” This 25-minute course can be purchased for just $12 per learner. Check out our entire course list here.