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3D Perspective on the Future: Living in the Future, Now

In my first three blog posts on this topic, I’ve painted a picture of our demographic future that is multicultural, bilingual, and predominantly Hispanic. More than 30 years ago, Peter Drucker said, “Demography is destiny.” Looking at the future in present tense is not rocket science. Our lives rotate at such a speed that we rarely take time to read the handwriting on the wall. Whether we take time to notice or not, the future is here already.

Carol Childress, who has done her share of demographic work in her career, reminded me recently of a line she read from Dr. Jim Denison on March 24, 2016, that said “The future significance of present obedience.” The core of this line is that what we do now in obedience to the Holy Spirit will have future significance. By implication, the opposite is also true. What we fail to obey now will impact the future as well.

What would a servant leader do in response now? What would obedience now look like for the one who seeks the Kingdom of God on a regular basis? What would a servant leader do if she/he earnestly prayed, “Your will be done, your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”

Here are a few ideas that I am focusing on and perhaps some will serve you as well:

  • Read about the Kingdom of God in the Bible; consider the multicultural nature of the first century church.

  • Broaden your circle of influence to include people unlike you.

  • Make an intentional effort to learn another culture and heart language of people unlike you in your circle of influence.

  • Become a 150% person.

  • Read your organization or ministry at every level to reflect the demographics we have now.

I will tackle some of the suggestions in no specific order in the coming weeks.

The days of a monocultural, monolingual leadership on ministry boards and executive leadership teams were over at the end of the 20th century, and perhaps before then. This scenario is out of step with the demographic realities I mentioned in the last three blog posts. Now is the time to diversify boards of ministries and executive leadership teams.

But you may ask why? Why do we need to change anything? A bicultural or multicultural board and executive leadership team with qualified leaders are in a superior position to understand the cultures of various racial and ethnic groups they seek to serve. When policies, decisions, and budgets are developed that impact people of color we wish to serve, multicultural boards and executive leaders are in a better position to make wise, culturally sensitive, and Kingdom-oriented decisions. It is a matter of respect and understanding among diverse cultural and racial groups.

Diversity in leadership for the sake of diversity is not good enough. Qualified candidates and members for boards and executive leadership roles with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds is what is needed. Qualified candidates from ethnic minority and racial groups are available but require intent to find them. Just take a moment and reflect on the diversity you see today in ministries you are familiar with. What do you see?

The early church struggled with a monocultural perspective, control over resources, and with power over those resources. They found a solution, and they found a way to share leadership and control over resources in a multicultural context. When they overcame this obstacle, the church exploded with growth. The very issue the church struggled with in the first century is present in the 21st century. It’s time to go back to the future. It’s past time.

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