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priority populations. And, don’t forget that diversity isn’t limited to the colour of your skin: it’s also about language, religion, sexual orientation, gender, geography, disability… the list goes on. 3. Gather some baseline data. How representative are your staff, volunteers, board members and donors right now? How does this compare to the makeup of your community? Where are the gaps? One great tool at our disposal is Origins Canada, also available to U.S. based charities, which is offered by Environics. They will run your donor data through their system and predict the cultural, ethnic and linguistic origins of people based on first and last name alone. 4. Don’t be afraid to reach out. In the three years that I’ve been heavily involved in diversity, equity and inclusion, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that all communities are happy to help you build connections, help you learn, and embrace your efforts. Never be afraid to ask questions and to solicit advice. Sometimes it helps to open with, “I’m anxious to learn, so please don’t hesitate to correct me if I’m wrong, or educate me if I use incorrect terminology.” I’ve never had anyone react badly to that statement. 5. Develop a strategic plan around diversity, equity and inclusion. Build a plan that will guide you toward being more representative. Break it down by communities with whom you want to build connections.Don’t hesitate to engage others with more expertise, and reach out to the network you’ve established by attending conference sessions on diversity. Most of us are learning as we go along and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance. It’s time to start an inclusion revolution. Leah Eustace, ACFRE, is a Principal and Chief Idea Goddess at Good Works, a boutique fundraising consultancy located in Ottawa, Canada, that works with charities to help build deep donor connections through storytelling. Chair of theAFPFoundation for Philanthropy Canada, Leah has also been heavily involved in AFP’s diversity and inclusion work in Canada. A version of this article first appeared in Hilborn’s Canadian Fundraising and Philanthropy in May 2015. firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @LeahEustace.
divide their elders gradually fall away and they begin participating in a different kind of conversation about the present and future – and religious leaders want to support and join these courageous young leaders. Stepping Outside of Our Tribes We work too often within our own tribes and silos. The complexity and range of issues we face demand that we step outside and find new ways to work together on a shared future. Solutions can only be born out of a collective wisdom that is possible when diverse groups of people work together. Millennials are modeling and leading the way. In FTE gatherings, we see young adults with different experiences and perspectives talking with each other, exchanging ideas, and learning from one another in conversations about their leadership, place in the church and role in shaping the future. Resisting the labels (conservative, liberal, evangelical, mainline, etc.) their elders and others have used to describe themselves, young adults in FTE events are thinking in more broad and diverse ways about what matters to them and how they plan to live out their values to create the world they want to see. As a result, these young leaders are paving the way for their elders and inviting them into new conversations about their shared hopes and dreams for the future. Shaping a New Generation of Leaders FTE is helping emerging leaders see a broad spectrum of ways they can live out their calling and inspiring them to make a real difference in the world through Christian ministry. While the nature and purpose of church is changing, new forms of Christian ministry are emerging, Millennials are less affiliated with religious institutions (according to PewResearch), and young adults are thinking creatively and innovatively about what religious communities can be. They are experimenting and developing new kinds of communities within and beyond existing church structures and using social media to connect and network their fledging communities. FTE creates space for these young leaders to dream and converse with like-minded peers asking similar questions and imagining ways to live out their ministry. We expose them to
different ways to practice ministry, and help them discern their next steps toward their purpose. Rethinking Traditions Some denominations have invested millions of dollars into new kinds of worshiping communities and ways Christian leaders define and address how young Christians congregate and journey throughout life. By focusing on how Christians have congregated in the past, we will miss how they are congregating now and into the future. As an example, a colleague shared that a youth minister of a mega-church was concerned that young people were not coming to church for youth groups anymore. Instead, they were gathering in each other’s homes.This is a case where church leaders have to rethink their traditional patterns of doing business. If the church wants to address the needs of a new generation, innovative thinking and a human-centered design approach would be instructive. Instead of assuming that young people will always come to church for youth group, church leaders could spend more time listening to young adults and their parents about what they need, observing where young adults are congregating and discussing God and spirituality with their peers, and designing new missional outreach ministries to address their young adults’ needs. The solution might involve moving ministries from the church to young adults’ homes and other places they hang out. It might involve equipping church leaders to take ministry beyond the walls of the church and use spiritual practices in communities young adults have developed and are congregating. While this might be scary for some people, these are exciting times. I look forward to how the next generation will lead us into the future, particularly in ways we may not be able to fully recognize now. Stephen Lewis is president of the Forum for Theological Exploration, focusing on cultivating a new generation of Christian leaders. He was educated in business administration, banking and finance, and has more than fifteen years’ experience in corporate and nonprofit leadership, strategic planning, program development and group facilitation. Stephen is an ordained minister, a member of the Center for Courage & Renewal’s Board of Directors, and served on Duke Divinity School’s Board of Visitors. fteleaders.org/
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