Why and How Multicultural Leadership Strengthens You, Your Team, and the Faith

If you’ve got the right people on your team, anything is possible.


It was just one year ago when I came on as executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. In that time, we’ve hired six new staff here. Three are from different racial and ethnic backgrounds than I am and an additional two are women.

And diversity is something I’ve intentionally sought out, and one which I believe is greatly beneficial to both us and the mission Jesus has called us to carry out.

That’s (most) of our team (with families) in the picture above.

As church and organizational leaders, diversity among our staff, and even more so in our leadership team, has the opportunity to transform our churches and ministries. This is not to say it’s easy. When people from different cultures come together, it takes time to learn how to work together. For example, see my staff respond in disagreement via this series here. (See my article, then John Richards’ response, and then Michael Lee’s response, and then my response to everyone in the conversation.)

It takes work, but it’s worth it. Let me share three reasons I believe this is the case, and then share a few challenges you may face as you intentionally seek diversity.

Having diverse leadership, first, gives us the opportunity to experience more of what we will experience in eternity.

In eternity, we know that there will be men and women from every tongue, tribe, and nation (see Rev. 7:9). Yet the church here tends to be divided. Too often, we seek to surround ourselves with those like us. This only reinforces silos which Christ desires to be torn down. We are all one in Christ. Martin Luther King once said that Sunday morning was the most segregated time of the week. The longer we prolong this segregation, the more we ...

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