After writing a blog post last week urging Christian conference leaders to pursue diversity in their speaker lineups, I’ve been so encouraged by the response, and in particular by the number of majority-culture leaders who have added their voices in support.
As I wrote last week, the problem is not that Christian leaders are ignorant of multiethnicity as God’s vision for the church. Instead, many dominant-culture Christian leaders just don’t feel responsible for fulfilling this vision, or don’t see the ramifications of omitting brothers and sisters of color.
To encourage and help those in the church who desire for more diverse and dynamic conference lineups, I took to Twitter using the hashtag #SpeakersofColor to highlight Christian speakers from non-white backgrounds. I enlisted some of these speakers of color to offer more specific suggestions, which are listed below.
As race-related issues continue to dominate the headlines, may the church provide a prophetic example of reconciliation and unity amid the beautiful diversity God has created among his people. – Helen Lee, author and editor at InterVarsity Press
Keep Building New Relationships
Jo Saxton, church planter and board chair of 3DMovements
If your event is supposed to connect with a generation of future leaders, remind yourself of what your world, your nation, your next generation actually looks like. It is already diverse—ethnically, culturally, socioeconomically, generationally. Presenting only dominant-culture voices will not equip your audience for the goals of your event. It’s strategically inadequate. We as the church can’t afford to keep doing this.
I know a number of people who select speakers by virtue of who they know. They value that personal connection highly, and they want their events to have a relational touch. If that’s your approach, broaden your network of relationships and seek to do so on an annual basis. Your priority is to initiate and build relationships with leaders of color long before the conference invitations go out. If you want a spiritual breakthrough, expect a battle beforehand, and be prepared to work on this for a sustained period of time.
To find more voices of color, approach seminaries, NGOs, denominational synods, publishing houses, agents, or other conference leaders to find out who they know. Ask the leaders or people of color who you do know (even if it’s you’re only connected by Facebook) for recommendations. Approach your peers who are the same skin tone as you and see if they have suggestions. And pray about this issue, because when we pray, things happen, even if we can’t see the results immediately.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today