Diversity is not strength – Togetherness is!

Feb 2020    

Diversity implies differences or a range of things that differ from one another. Where people are concerned, diversity may be seen in age, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, physical abilities, gender, political beliefs and other ideologies.

When diversity is discussed in the Church, it is usually with the intention to accept, respect and celebrate differences in individuals as unique creations of God. Some, however, feel that the idea of diversity is overused, to the extent that we are expected to accept anything different. The concepts of inclusiveness and equal opportunity—meant to combat racism, sexism, ageism in the workplace—are now sometimes used to campaign for other kinds of rights.

Diversity among people committed to similar passions can be helpful. As long as everyone remembers we want the same vision, members with diverse gifts and perspectives can help the Church engage in more robust and comprehensive debate. Certainly, there is a pull towards homogeneity, to find people of the same tongue, age group or personality type. We also plan activities around sameness such as age-related activities, ladies’ and men’s ministries, and different language worship services.

Yet, such segregation without opportunities for integration can retard mutual understanding and growth of love for others in the body. To borrow a leaf from Martin Luther King Jr, a church service could be the most segregated hour. Diversity that segregates is not strength – it is togetherness that will bring strength to our ideas, service and connectedness.

Dr Seow Bee Leng, a member of Toa Payoh Methodist Church, wrote in to share her thoughts

We are Many, We are One!

The many of us with different giftings have provided space for diverse ideas to serve the communities and great conversations for wholeness of initiatives. The “oneness” of us as the Body of Christ provides the convergence of all ideas, plans and initiatives for His purpose.

The concern comes in when it is “business as usual” i.e. conversations that do not challenge status quo. In a worst case scenario, such conversations can encourage “inbreeding” of ideas. Inbreeding is when efforts to serve are consistently led by the same group of people who have been serving within the same entity and efforts are contained within individual functions or geographies.

Leveraging on “We are Many” with the focus “We are One” can bring up breakthrough ideas where different areas and experiences brush up against each other for a common purpose. As we serve with warmth and authenticity, let’s diverge and converge to S.A.L.T.: Serve And Learn Together, for great conversation and bringing it to a deeper level of understanding and trust.

If you have a story to share how your church or ministry reaches out to work as one with other Methodists, please share with us through onemcs@methodist.org.sg.


By the Structural Review Task Force


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