DIVERSITY & Do Your Congregants Know Why You Believe in Diversity?

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Having researched, written and coached churches on diversity for almost 20 years, I find that sometimes those I coach are challenged to explain the “why” and the “history” behind their beliefs. Ruchika Tulshyan, writing in the Harvard Business Review gives practical steps to embrace when explaining about your beliefs (excerpted below).

Do Your Employees Know Why You Believe in Diversity?

Ruchika Tulshyan, Harvard Business Review, 6/30/20.

… Here are some suggestions for how your team can meaningfully communicate and execute your commitment to anti-bias and dismantling racism:

Do not send communication on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts without explicitly calling out the reasoning for it…

Understand the history of bias and discrimination — which explains how these initiatives and programs are righting past wrongs. While many of us theoretically believe discrimination of an employee because of their race, gender, ability, or other identity is wrong and even illegal, in practice, bias is present in many key decisions made in the workplace. A small but eye-opening example; a 2003 Harvard study found that employers preferred white candidates with a criminal record over Black employees who didn’t have a criminal history. Professional women of color face a number of impediments to hiring and advancement that white women do not…

Invite buy-in and advice from people of color…and listen with humility.

Prioritize anti-racism efforts in-house. Leaders must do the tough work of identifying where bias shows up in their organizations right now — hiring, retention, or advancement of employees of color — and fix those issues before moving to grand gestures that could be misinterpreted as PR stunts…

Show up personally … I do wish more leaders were present and engaged in conversations already taking place right in their backyards… When those in charge don’t engage in the work personally, it gives others in the organization to also take a back seat in this important work.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2020/06/do-your-employees-know-why-you-believe-in-diversity

RECONCILIATION & It is not going to take place in the limited conversations of a church foyer. #Quote

by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., Church Central, 4/10/17.

…Reconciliation begins with dialogue.

Reconciliation is not going to take place in the limited conversations of a fellowship foyer, fellowship hall, etc. But it needs to start somewhere, and it can be fostered there. What if people who enjoyed different musical genres could attend the same church, hear the same sermon (perhaps by different culturally relevant preachers) and then exit into a “fellowship hall/foyer” to meet with people of other cultures and learn how the sermon impacts each culture similarly and differently. This can begin a dialogue that can then branch out from Sunday morning to the rest of the week.

Here I think is the reason the quote that “10:30 is the most segregated time of the week” was utilized by Martin Luther King Jr. That is because our churches are segregated on Sunday mornings. This may be because most churches offer only one musical genre style of worship and therefore those who come to worship are primarily people attracted to one musical genre. I recently wrote a book with a colleague titled: re:MIX: Transitioning Your Church to Living Color (Abingdon Press).

I pray fervently for churches to develop a ministry of reconciliation to God and one another (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)…

Read more at … https://www.churchcentral.com/blogs/why-i-dont-have-a-problem-with-segregated-worship-services/?utm_source=Email_marketing&utm_campaign=emnaCCC04112017&cmp=1&utm_medium=html_email

MULTICULTURAL & Are Churches Too Segregated? #LifeWayResearch #ReMIXbook

Most Worshipers OK With Segregated Sunday Morning

by Bob Smietana, 1/19/15

diversity church graphSunday morning remains one of the most segregated hours in American life, with more than 8 in 10 congregations made up of one predominant racial group.

And most worshipers think their church is fine the way it is.

Two-thirds of American churchgoers (67 percent) say their church has done enough to become racially diverse.

And less than half think their church should become more diverse.

Those are among the findings of a study of church segregation by Nashville-based LifeWay Research. Researchers surveyed 994 churchgoers—who attend worship at least at holidays or more often—about race and the church. They also surveyed 1,000 Americans as well as 1,000 Protestant senior pastors.

Churchgoers, researchers found, are lukewarm about diversity. More than half (53 percent) disagree with the statement, “My church needs to become more ethnically diverse.” Four in 10 agree.

pastorsspeakResearchers also found churchgoers who oppose more diversity do so with gusto. A third (33 percent) strongly disagree that their church needs to be more diverse. More than 4 in 10 (42 percent) felt strongly their church was doing enough.

Evangelicals (71 percent) are most likely to say their church is diverse enough, while Whites (37 percent) are least likely to say their church should become more diverse.

Read more at … http://t.co/mW8rUzwqEY

OFFICE POLITICS & Why Politics Increase in Dying Churches

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Henry Mintzberg wrote the classical research on office politics. And he points out that dying organizations have a higher degree of politics which causes them to die faster. He points out this is good for it ends and redistributes the assets of highly polarized organizations. This may be happening in many churches as well. According to Mintzberg, the highly political nature of dying congregations serves the purpose of helping them die quicker and then the resources, namely people, can be scattered more quickly into other organizations. Read this original article in the Journal of Management Studies for more interesting insights.”

THE ORGANIZATION AS POLITICAL ARENA – Henry Mintzberg – Journal of Management Studies – Wiley Online Library


Politics and conflict sometimes capture an organization in whole or significant part, giving rise to a form we call the Political Arena. After discussing briefly the system of politics in organizations, particularly as a set of ‘political games’, we derive through a series of propositions four basic types of Political Arenas: the complete Political Arena (characterized by conflict that is intensive and pervasive), the confrontation (conflict that is intensive but contained), the shaky alliance (conflict that is moderate and contained), and the politicized organization (conflict that is moderate but pervasive). the interrelationships among these four, as well as the context of each, are then described in terms of a process model of life cycles of Political Arenas. A final section of the paper considers the functional roles of politics in organizations.


Read more at … Get PDF (1118K), http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-6486.1985.tb00069.x/abstract

MULTICULTURAL & Churches are best social melting pots in modern Britain

Churches and sporting events as the last bastions of neighbourliness and integration in Britain By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor, The UK Telegraph Newspaper, 07 Dec 2014

Churches and sporting events as the last bastions of neighbourliness and integration in Britain (Picture: Alamy)

Places of worship and sporting events lead the way as places modern Britons are most likely to mix with people of other races, classes and generations

They teach that people should love their neighbour but a major new study shows that churches are one of the few places most modern Britons might even meet them.

Ground-breaking new analysis of the friendship networks of almost 4,300 people aged from 13 to 80 has identified churches and sporting events as the last bastions of neighbourliness and integration in Britain.

Overall, it found that churches and other places of worship are more successful than any other social setting at bringing people of different backgrounds together, well ahead of gatherings such as parties, meetings, weddings or venues such as pubs and clubs.

But while places of worship proved most potent at mixing people from different social classes and races, spectator sports events were the most successful at bringing people of different ages together.

The conclusions emerge from new findings, seen by the Sunday Telegraph, from the Social Integration Commission, a unique social experiment which has attempted to map thousands of people’s social networks to determine how closely people of different classes and generations mix in modern Britain.

Initial findings published earlier this year analysed how closely different groups of people mixed.

They raised questions about whether decades of efforts to promote multiculturalism have gone into reverse, by showing teenagers are no more likely to meet people from other racial backgrounds in a social setting than those 40 years older suggests.

The study also suggested that class could be a more enduring source of division than race in the UK.

The latest findings analyse how or where people of different backgrounds meet.

Matthew Taylor, Chair of the Social Integration Commission, said:

“Institutions play a huge role in determining how and with whom we interact. Our research shows that, perhaps contrary to perceived wisdom, activities such as attending a place of worship or a sporting event can bring people from all sorts of backgrounds together.

“These institutions could play a leading role in promoting social integration. Sporting and religious bodies should explore what more they can do to help build a better integrated society.”

Using a technique developed by experimental psychologists at Oxford University, statisticians analysed information provided by a sample of 4,269 people about their own social lives.

Each person was interviewed by Ipsos MORI and asked to describe recent social gatherings they had attended and give detail about who else was there and how they knew them to build up a subjective picture of their friendship circles.

Statisticians then analysed the lists and compared them with the profile of the area in which they lived based on findings from the census to give each person a notional score, depending on how closely their networks matched the profile of their neighbourhood. The same process was then applied to different types of gatherings people attended.

The different settings were most successful at bringing people of different generations together. Sporting events led the way with an integration score of 59 per cent on this measure, just ahead of places of worship on 57 per cent. The other settings scored around 46 per cent for bringing generations together.

On ethnic lines, churches were given an integration score of 25 per cent – twice the average level and far ahead of sporting events which averaged just over seven per cent on the racial mixing measure.

Similarly on social background, churches led the way with a score of 27 per cent, well ahead of the average of 18 per cent.

A spokesman for the Church of England said: “There are no bars of entry into the family of faith.

“This heartening research reflects the reality of church life across the nation with people from all ages, races and backgrounds united by their faith into a wider welcoming family.”

Read more at … http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/11276878/Churches-are-best-social-melting-pots-in-modern-Britain.html

MULTIETHNIC & As a Major U.S. Problem, Race Relations Sharply Rises #GallupPoll

By Justin McCarthy, Gallup Research, 12/23/14.

“After barely registering with Americans as the top problem for two decades, race relations now matches the economy in Americans’ mentions of the country’s top problem, and is just slightly behind government (15 percent).”

  • At 13%, “racism” is at its highest since Rodney King trial in 1992
  • “Government” holds thin edge as current most important problem

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The percentage of Americans naming “race relations” or “racism” as the most important problem in the U.S. has climbed dramatically to 13%, the highest figure Gallup has recorded since a finding of 15% in 1992, in the midst of the Rodney King verdict. In November, race relations/racism was cited by 1% of the public as the most important problem.

Trend for Race Relations/Racism as Most Important Problem in U.S.

Read more at … http://www.gallup.com/poll/180257/major-problem-race-relations-sharply-rises.aspx

MULTICULTURAL & Is a Blended Church Multicultural? It Depends on Several Things #HealthyChurchBook

by Bob Whitesel, 10/20/14

A student once shared about a church that advocated fostering a multicultural church by blending the different styles of ethnic/cultural diversity into one “blended” worship service.  The student noted, “At the time of the writing of the book (David Anderson, Multicultural Ministry 2004), ‘Bridgeway Church is 55 to 60 percent African-American, 13 percent Asian, Latino or other ethnicities, and 27 to 30 percent Caucasian.’ (Anderson, 2004)  His church does not share their facilities with other ethnicities, they integrate the services.”

I responded that when a church has a “blended” multi-ethnic worship service, that church is sometimes not regarded as a multi-cultural church, for it is often made up of a culture of people who have come to like multiple ethnic elements.  Such individuals are usually more affluent, more educated and more well traveled that other people of their culture.  Thus, anthropologists could say that technically Bridgeway is a mono-cultural church; comprised of people from different ethnicities who like the blending of ethnicities (which then becomes a new culture.).

Attached is my research on the “Five Types of Multi-cultural Churches” from The Healthy Church: Practical Ways to Strengthen a Church’s Health, (2013, pp. 55-79).

Here is the quote that begins the chapter:

We do not want the westernization of the universal Church. On the other hand we don’t want the ecumenical cooks to throw all the cultural traditions on which they can lay their hands into one bowl and stir them to a hash of indeterminate colour. – John V. Taylor, statesman, Africanist and Bishop of Winchester [i]

[i] John V. Taylor, “Cultural Ecumenism,” Church Missionary Society Newsletter, Nov. 1974, p. 3, see also John V. Taylor, The Theological Basis of Interfaith Dialogue, in Faith Meets Faith, ed. Gerald M. Anderson and Thomas F. Stansky, Mission Trends, no. 5 (New York: Paulist Press, 1981), pp. 93ff.