Top 10 Leadership Qualities of Ethnic Minorities

During the 1980s and 90s, I was team leader at the University of Rhode Island. One year, I led a Bible study that I called my Chris and Jimmy study. The regulars were Chris M., Chris C., Chris J., and Jimmy. Chris B. and Chris P. were sporadic. I tried to get another Chris to come but he never did. That was my Chris and Jimmy study.

One Chris was an African American. We talked a lot about reaching out to others that he knew, but nothing ever materialized. I made a bunch of mistakes. Back in those days, ministering cross-culturally was baffling to me. It wasn’t until years later that I began to understand cultural differences and the value of contextualized ministry.

Our CFM National Team met recently and one focus was on launching ethnic movements. Part of our discussion revolved around how leadership looks different in various ethnic Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 8.32.46 PMcultures.

Several staff, Renee Begay, Stuart Dodds, Shawn Faulkner, Marc Henkel, David Marshall, and Tony Wee, did some really good work in a Senior Leadership Institute working group on diversity. Their work is summarized in a paper, “Tapestry, The Cru Mission on Diversity.” But I want to call attention to the section “Top 10 Leadership Qualities of Ethnic Minorities.”

It would be a mistake to think that what looks like leadership in one culture will necessarily be leadership in another ethnic culture. And a greater mistake would be to miss what that ethnic community values as leadership.

For example, Christina Magdalenda and Lucas Lopez in Destino listed these 10 leadership qualities:

  1. Not self seeking but sacrificial for the benefit of those being led.
  2. Listener.
  3. Proactive.
  4. Invites and considers the concerns of the familia and includes them in the decision making process.
  5. Perseverance in face of adversity.
  6. Celebrate the success of our familia/people, encouraging them to greatness.
  7. Teachable (able to learn from those who have gone before them in leadership).
  8. Transparency (able to open up once trust is established).
  9. Forgiving (Not easily offended).
  10. Learner – Values process over results and efficiency.

As you make plans to reach out to other ethnic communities on your campuses, why not download this helpful 4-page resource, “Top 10 Leadership Qualities of Ethnic Minorities.” It will give you an awareness of the different leadership qualities. Plus there are some great resources on developing cultural competency, contextualization, and more.


I’ve been writing about the five areas of strategic focus of the US Campus Ministry.

  1. WBS Movements
  2. Multiethnic Organization
  3. Stakeholders & Partnerships
  4. Movement Accelerators
  5. Prayer Catalysts

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