The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations


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The One New Man. Explorations in Ecclesiology and Ethnography.

A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations

When God Builds a Church. Sociology Through the Eyes of Faith. The Fall of the Evangelical Nation. The Abuse of Power. The Care of Men. Violent Trauma, Culture, and Power.

Starting a House Church. The Revelation of the Mystery. Being Black, Teaching Black. Embodying refers to the ability of leaders to personally live out the values and practices that they espouse. Embracing is understood in the manner articulated by Miroslav Volf and expanded upon by Charles Foster, as that movement of different peoples who desire "to be close to others without losing the integrity of their own identities" Foster , 1. The first leadership model is that of Edgar Schein, as presented in Organizational Culture and Leadership He outlines the processes by which culture is initiated and developed, and the role of leaders in embedding, or fixing culture, and managing culture-change.

On the basis of extensive research into American and multi-national business organizations, Schein discusses the role of the leader, first, in starting companies, and subsequently in embedding values and practices into the operative culture of an organization by means of various mechanisms. Some of these embedding mechanisms are conscious, deliberate actions, while others are unconscious and may be unintended Schein, , On the basis of his research, Schein outlines five "culture-embedding" mechanisms that shape an organization:.


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In summarizing his thoughts on culture-embedding, Schein notes that "a dynamic analysis of organizational culture makes it clear that leadership is intertwined with culture formation, evolution, transformation, and destruction" Schein , Second, in discussing the management of culture-change, Schein suggests that "the unique and essential function of leadership is the manipulation of culture" Schein , By manipulation Schein understands the means, both direct and indirect, by which a leader embeds particular values and practices in an organization.

Leaders need to be able to externalize their own assumptions and values in a clear manner and "to embed them gradually and consistently into the mission, goals, structures and working procedures of the group" Schein , With regard to managing change in organizational culture, Schein speaks of "cognitive redefinition" Schein , It is not just the formal leadership, however, that will take change forward.

Schein draws upon his own research in process consultation and group dynamics to conclude that leaders "must recognize that in the end, cognitive redefinition must occur inside the heads of many members of the organization and that will happen only if they are actively involved in the process" Schein , If leadership is culture management, do we develop in our leaders the emotional strength, depth of vision and capacity for self-insight and objectivity that are necessary for culture to be managed?

The vision of a multi-cultural faith community goes against the conventional wisdom of many evangelical denominations. The "church-growth," homogeneous model has been accepted for so long that other ways of conceiving the church have become almost heretical.

Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D.

Managing culture-change , as Schein has outlined, is a significant skill since many leaders are faced with the need to move toward the multi-cultural model just to survive. As urban areas learn to deal with the reality of changing population demographics, so existing mono-cultural congregations inevitably become multi-ethnic or must eventually close their doors.

Existing congregations have to go through a redefinition of their identity, vision, and goals to begin to function multi-culturally. Wise leader will manage this "culture-change" through a group consultation process so as to bring as many people into the new configuration as possible.

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Are we developing leaders with emotional and spiritual strength who have a clearly articulated theology and vision, the capacity for reflection and a willingness to work communally? These are the necessary attributes of leaders who want to develop multi-cultural faith communities. Gardner identifies three kinds of leaders who function within the parameters of these constants: Each of these leadership types has a place in the ongoing development of a community or organization.

Visionary leaders are rare, only occasionally making their mark on a community. They are distinguished by their capacity to envision bold new possibilities for communities.


  1. The Politics of Eloquence: David Humes Polite Rhetoric.
  2. Multicultural Ministry Handbook - InterVarsity Press.
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  6. Humoresque No. 5 in A Minor - from Humoresques - Op. 101 - B187.
  7. More common, however, are the ordinary leaders who simply relate the traditional story of their group as effectively as possible. These leaders do not really challenge the status quo of their community, but empower members through communicating the identity, values, and institutional goals in such a way that forward movement continues. Innovative leaders, in contrast to ordinary leaders, take a story that has been latent in the community and give it new attention or a fresh twist.

    With specific regard to the role of story-telling, Gardner notes the difference between addressing a story to a circumscribed, homogeneous group bound by common knowledge and values, and addressing a diverse, heterogeneous group such as a multi-cultural community. The heterogeneous group requires a rather simple not simplistic story defining sharp contrasts with which all participants can identify.

    Over time, as the story begins to be established, the leaders can flesh out a more sophisticated, multi-dimensional version Gardner b, Leaders of multi-cultural faith communities will draw from all three leadership patterns that Gardner describes. Leaders maintain the validity of the life of Jesus Christ as the foundation for the community called the church.

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    There must be a recognition that modern leaders are only building on the visionary work of Christ. For the most part, Christian leaders are ordinary , in the sense that the stories of the Christian tradition are regularly communicated as a means of maintaining the vision, values, and goals of the founder. Standard ticket fees and taxes may apply.

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    The Power Of Stories A Guide For Leading Multi Racial

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    The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations
    The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations
    The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations
    The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations
    The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations

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