Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Team growth and diversity

We have biblical examples of team - as in Acts 11:22. We see a situation where the gospel was expanding but there is persecution and the scattering of believers as a result. The apostles had not been involved in setting up the Antioch church but at this point sent a representative to see what was happening. They found ‘evidence of the grace of God’ and a great number added to the growing church. Barnabas thinks ‘team’ at this point and Paul, who has been out of the picture for some years, is brought in - :27 indicates that other ministries were also on the scene.

By Acts 13 this is a massive church. There is a team with prophets and teachers. Barnabas leads and Paul is the last team member listed. This team is made up of those from different ethnic backgrounds, bringing a whole new level of complexity to the team. At King’s we are seeing an increasing number of black people joining us – as a result we are intentionally recruiting leaders, according to gift, across the multi-cultural spectrum. Some time back I asked a couple of the church trustees to stand down as all of this important group were white. We reappointed with diversity on the team - this being a real expression of our commitment in this area. Owen Hylton, who until he went to lead the church plant in central South London was an elder here at King’s, has been a tremendous help and provocation to us on the high value that we should place on inclusiveness. We are learning to assess each church event and ministry through a different filter of success – that of cultural and ethnic inclusivity.

Owen Hylton’s book – Crossing the Divide : A Call to Embrace Diversity (published by IVP) is available in bookshops from 17th July. I thoroughly recommend this book – coming from a UK point of view, it is a helpful and significant contribution to this vital issue.