Building a Diversity Strategy in Churches – Nu Leadership Series

“If you consider me a friend because of Christ, then welcome Onesimus as you welcome me.”
Philemon 1:17

Leading a culturally diverse organization doesn’t assure a perfect environment. The Apostle Paul would probably shout “Amen” in his heavenly pulpit. In the case of Philemon, Paul strategically navigated the touchy issue of a master-slave relationship. Paul used his relationship to bridge this uncertain path. Paul encouraged Onesimus to return to his master Philemon.

Paul’s friendship set the stage for this reunion. Paul outlines this point in Philemon 1:9, “…I would ask you to do it because I am a messenger in jail for Christ. So I beg you to help Onesimus…” In Philemon, Paul tries to intercede on behalf of Onesimus to Philemon. It is a delicate situation because Onesimus is Philemon’s runaway slave.

Clearly, Paul’s writing to Philemon demonstrated a close relationship between the two individuals. Paul put his friendship on the line. Philemon 1:17 reads, “If you consider me a friend because of Christ, then welcome Onesimus as you welcome me.” He also put his integrity on the line. He vowed to pay back any money that Onesimus may have owed Philemon (Philemon 1:18). Paul was backing up his words with actions. Therefore, leaders should expect to be tested in an ever changing, cultural shift.

References:

McGee, J. (n.d.). Philemon: Notes & Outlines. The Bible Radio Network.

New Testament. (1991). Life Source: The Handbook for Life. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green