Our current world is talking constantly about bias. You can be sure that you reveal your biases to others as they watch, listen, and learn from you. While it is essential that we are aware of our biases, we must be careful not to throw out all bias. We likely cannot and arguably should not avoid all types of bias.
Before you start throwing stones, or applauding, I want to be clear that discrimination or ill-treatment of others, whether conscious or unconscious regardless of reason such as gender, race, nationality, physical abilities, etc., is never appropriate or Christ-like.
So, I hooked you with potential controversy then disappointed you. But keep reading, because it is important to carefully consider your biases. As a ministry leader, whether you are preaching from a pulpit, counseling teenagers, or meeting as a small group in your home, your biases will influence others.
Bias is simply a preference for something, someone, or some way over another thing, person, or way. I get ill-treatment from my chocolate-loving wife because I am biased for vanilla ice cream. When bias is based in ethnocentrism or categorizes people into out-groups solely based on ethnicity or phenotype, the negative emotions associated (prejudice) and sinful behaviors applied (discrimination) turns bias from a healthy preference to racism, bigotry, or hostility.
4 Healthy Biases for Functional and Cohesive Ministry
As conversations inevitably turn to current events and the latest news headlines, your conversations will likely include issues involving such prejudice and discrimination. It is important to address negative, sinful biases while holding firmly to others. Here are 4 biases that are healthy for a ministry to function effectively and cohesively:
1. Proclivity for Diversity – Diversity brings greater potential for innovation, creativity, better decision-making, and high performance. Utilizing the diversity of talents, gifts, perspectives, and abilities increases ministry potential and success.
2. Predilection to Integrity – Leaders set the example of integrity for others, while also being responsible for the accountability of integrity. One should always “error” on what is right and above reproach.
3. Partiality to Truth – Regardless of the context, cultural changes, or current social pressures, one should never compromise a bias towards biblical truth. All matters should be interpreted through a biblical worldview.
4. Preference for Unity – Cohesion increases performance, success, satisfaction, and potential. Seek unity over division, cohesion over incoherence, and peace over conflict.
Self-reflection and self-awareness is necessary to better understand our biases. Only then can we address those that we must change and those that we should strengthen.