Action Steps for Theological Educators

The following action steps for faculty and administrators and resources for further learning are designed to help theological educators who would like to grow in kingdom diversity.

For Faculty

  • Introduce your students to the biblical vision of God’s global kingdom through class prayer and Scripture reading.
  • Highlight the racial diversity within the biblical text (such as the presence of Africans in the OT).
  • Encourage all students to consider how their ecclesiological, racial, and cultural background influences how they read the biblical text. As a professor, foster and model humility in the faithful interpretation of Scripture.
  • Employ diverse readings and consider which authors are given greater weight. Utilize authors of color in research and writing projects, which can push students to think deeper.
  • Consider addressing topics that may be of concern to students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Cultivate a healthy community in the classroom for students to share vulnerably and authentically. Validate students’ voices—especially those of students of color—by acknowledging, engaging with, and actively listening to them. This may also involve addressing any culturally insensitive, or otherwise harmful, remarks.
  • Be honest about how Scripture has been misused as a tool of oppression.
  • Embrace matters of true justice without qualification. Model for your students how Scripture forms people that pursue God’s justice.
  • Develop more inclusive pedagogies.
  • Look out for students of color who may flourish in further education and/or an academic career and mentor them.
  • Give serious consideration to minority candidates on search committees, even if they do not fit the standard mold of a professor at your institution.

For Administrators

  • Consider gathering a formal or informal group of advisors to promote healthy and Christ-honoring kingdom diversity on campus.
  • Survey current students and alumni of color about their experiences.
  • Reach out to leaders in local ethnic churches to learn more about the dominant concerns in their congregations and how your school can partner with them.
  • Do some research on where pastors of ethnic churches in the area are doing their training and then recruit students from those places for graduate programs.
  • Evaluate the curriculum to see how well it connects with the needs of ethnic churches and consider revising it where there is opportunity.
  • Advertise how programs can help pastors and leaders in ethnic churches.
  • Develop programs to provide mentoring and funding for further education for students of color.
  • Actively work towards raising up and hiring minority faculty.
  • Consider how to better listen to and support minority faculty. 

Further Learning

Bradley, Anthony B. Aliens in the Promised Land: Why Minority Leadership Is Overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2013. (See especially Harold Dean Trulear, “Blacks and Latinos in Theological Education as Professors and Administrators,” 85–102; Orlando Rivera, “Blacks and Latinos in Theological Education as Students,” 103–14.)

Jennings, Willie. After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging. Theological Education Between the Times. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020.

Williams, Jarvis J. Redemptive Kingdom Diversity: A Biblical Theology of the People of God. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2021.