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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Inspire Inclusion

How do you inspire inclusion?

Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors. (The tag line of the United Methodists)

Is that it?

It's like that nursery rhyme with all of the hand and finger images that goes like: "Here's the church, and here's the steeple. Open the door and see all the people."

Could there be more to it than that?

It does not come about purely by motivation.  Motivation is enough to get us sparked and started. It is enough for us to get ignited and initiated.  Motivation is a starting point.  It is not the end-all of our efforts and endeavors.

Inclusion requires us to see the situation from a multicultural perspective.  You can't include people that you do not consider to be worthy of being included.  In an effort to grow more multicultural, Christian leaders need to understand the tendencies of those they are seeking to include.  Get familiar with Latinos and their culture if you seek to include Latinos.  By doing so, you get yourself and your ministry team prepared for reaching a different demographic.  You should minister to the makeup of your community, not simply remain who you are because of who you have always been.  That deals with church tradition, not modern demographic trends.

In essence, you need to open more than your doors.  You need to get in a position of readiness.  Open your hearts and minds to other people.  Okay, I'll run with it.  Open doors and open arms help, too.  You have to be open.

We have an obligation to remain open to new experiences with new people.  We have to encounter new people.  We have to engage new people.  We have to embrace new people.  The onus is on us.  Let us not become negligent or reluctant with this.  Pray that God breaks up and shakes up fertile ground for planting the seed both inside and outside of the church for growth and expansion through diversity and multiculturalism.

I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.- John 10:16 (NLT)

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