I didn’t expect to learn anything new about “diversity” at our annual volunteer training at the FRIST CENTER FOR VISUAL ARTS here in Nashville this past Sunday. But Derrick Young offered a new message: it isn’t about DIVERSITY, it’s about INCLUSION.
Derrick explained: “We spend most of our life trying to be individuals, wanting to be different, to stand out from the crowd. So we look for things in others that are different from us like intelligence, race, socioeconomic status, birthplace, ancestors, home location, religion, etc. We judge people who aren’t like us out of fear, prejudice, bias, and sometimes a lack of desire to leave our “comfort zone.””
What if instead of looking for our differences, we concentrated on things we have in common? Do we both like sports, music, art, or maybe our children go to the same pre-school? When we take the time to really talk with someone, it is surprising to find how many things we have in common.
Derrick’s wisdom: “Diversity is an endpoint, inclusion is a behavior. Expand your comfort zone!”
Derrick didn’t talk about religion or faith, but I knew his message applied. No matter who we meet, what they look like, how much money they make, or where they live, WE ARE ALL GOD’S BELOVED CHILDREN IN WHOM HE IS WELL PLEASED.
Derrick outlined 6 stages of inclusion. I’m going to think about them with the next newcomer I meet at church:
1. consider you—you are a person I would consider learning more about
2. engage you---intentionally interact with you
3. select you—invite you to join me in an activity, maybe coffee, or Sunday School
4. support you—listen to you talk about you and your likes and desires!
5. advance you--- find things to involve you in
6. promote you---tell others about you
Derrick’s final message: “People can sense genuineness and they can sense when we aren’t genuine. If you aren’t willing to go to stage 3 of inclusion, don’t bother talking with me at all.”
Thanks to Derrick, I’m going to be more intentional about expanding my comfort zone and reaching out to people I don’t know to share my faith with them. We start with at least one thing in common: We are all Children of God.