Back when I was a mechanical engineer, I received lots of calls from headhunters because I was a woman. I thought this was because of some quota system, but this was not the case. Apparently, some of the more progressive companies realized that they needed to have a a wide range of experiences and ways of looking at things if they were going to develop creative engineering solutions.
There are certain teams or committees in our congregations–governing board, strategic planning, committee on ministry–where you want to have a diversity of members. I like to think of these kinds of teams as “balcony view” teams…ones that try to look at the big picture of what is happening. The more points of view you have, the closer you will get to the big picture.
Diversity is also important in determining how the congregation should respond. Jonah Lehrer, the author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, describes in this video how seemingly intractable problems are often solved by people who are outside of a discipline.
In the “Foundations of Leadership” model that I am currently using, there are four “sensibilities” that I suggest leaders need to develop, which are meant to help leaders appreciate how we need many lenses to help expand our “balcony view.”