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Abstract

This article explores the issue of ethnic diversity in leadership, especially in the context of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Guatemala. Different conceptualizations regarding the contributions that ethnic diversity in leadership positions can bring into an organization will be analyzed. The analysis will be combined with my personal observations made from a fieldwork visit to Guatemala during the months of October and November in 2017. Moreover, it will be argued that based on observations made during that fieldwork, the Adventist Church in Guatemala has an issue with a lack of diversity among its leadership since its membership in some locations is almost entirely composed of people from different Maya ethnic backgrounds.

Apart from the contributions made by leadership scholars to the issue at hand, I will seek to explore what the biblical text contributes and what lessons could be learned from Scripture regarding ethnicity and the people of God, especially regarding minorities in leadership positions. More specifically, I will consider examples from the Old and New Testaments that I believe are crucial in understanding how God is accepting of all, regardless of ethnic backgrounds, and how God uses minorities to fulfill his purposes. From the biblical findings, I will seek to argue that it is not only imperative to treat people equally and without regard to their ethnic backgrounds, but that doing so and by placing them in leadership positions, the missional reach of the church can be furthered.

Finally, I will consider the missional challenges and implications this issue has over the mission work of the church by applying a conceptual framework, developed by Janice L. Dreachslin, which aids in the understanding of how organizations can improve their equality in leadership positions. Along with the aforementioned conceptual framework, I will include my own missiological reflections of how the issue that affects the church in Guatemala can be possibly ameliorated and ethnic minorities in the region provided with the necessary tools that will enable them to occupy leadership positions in the Guatemalan Adventist Church.

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