Ethnic Diversity and Decision Making

How should decisions be made in ethnically diverse churches? This is a question I’ve been wrestling with lately with our church being in leadership transition. The problem being, I’ve found that attitudes towards participation in congregational government seem to vary across ethnic lines.

This article on Understanding Congregational Government in the 21st Century sums it up well:

Some ethnicities are more honourific than middle-class Western culture, where you honour and respect your leaders and never speak publically against them. How do you have robust debate and gathering of divergent views in contexts where people do not speak up for fear of disrespecting their leaders?

It’s quite ironic actually. For in insisting that everyone be heard, middle-class Westerners like myself are actually imposing middle-class Western values. Yet if we say nothing against the non-participation, we get all the say, which we often do. Very Catch 22.

2 thoughts on “Ethnic Diversity and Decision Making

  1. yeah, very interesting. you can also have issues when you look at the question on introvert/extrovert matters.
    my church community isn’t very culturally diverse, to our detriment in my opinion. we live right in the middle of one of the poorest urban communities in Canada and yet, we’re still very white and middle class. we also operate on a consensus model so there is lots of insistence that EVERYONE has his/her say on a particular question. that’s got to be off putting for other cultures and i know that as an introvert it can be very much off-putting for me and others like me. and many don’t understand my struggle in the least.

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  2. And what can make it more difficult is when the westerners are also the older ones and the ones who have been in the church the longest. (And the ones who can put up with long meetings!)
    There needs to be a clear understanding that to disagree with someone is not to disrespect them.

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