Listening to Diverse Voices

Nov 16, 2022 | 0 comments

-by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director of LEAD

The voices of non-white leaders reinforce what we know, but are just beginning to understand: there is a very different operating system across cultures. LEAD, in partnership with Luther Seminary, ran a small, focused listening project this past summer. Our hope was to gain insights that might support congregational leaders committed to neighborhood partnerships.  

The punch line is this: White church leaders, especially pastors and deacons, need to slow down, shift metrics, share power, and learn from people who experience the world without the benefit of being white if they hope to connect, partner, or minister with non-white neighbors. 

As hard as it may be to hear, we found that white people act like the Good Samaritan right up until the point that it truly costs us something. Then right before we fully invest, we reinforce the white identity as colonizers, as unintentional as this may be for many, usually to avoid offending another white person. This default behavior reinforces the trauma experienced by the rest of society. Non-white leaders are telling us that: 

Invitation Matters—sharing dignity starts by listening to their wisdom without judgment. Invitation is a direct connection to hospitality, symbols, colors, music, food, etc. 

Belonging—connecting to multiple communities as church, expanding what we measure to include family faith rituals, community traditions, and more. 

Acceptance—engaging diversity as the humanity of Christ. Skin color is not a ranking system. Language is important as we know God through our own culture, socioeconomic reality, and context.  

Practices—honoring distinctly the traditions and heritages of others without unintentionally devaluing them in comparison to our own traditions. 

By reading this report, you are opening yourself to see what has been right in front of us all along.  

Please join us in listening, with community-centric values. The work is worth the pain of personal growth. You can access the full report here. 


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *