I receive puzzled looks when I ask this question. In most cases, people who serve congregational leadership groups are not serving tenured or lifetime appointment, as in a college or university, the House of Lords, or the Supreme Court. Therefore the congregation regularly discerns who will serve in leadership positions. They end up falling in a desperate trap because they don't have enough people to fill positions, and they rush to hopefully find a diverse group of folks to serve in a leadership role.
I find congregations have set up some default criteria for setting up their leadership groups.
1. Represent different as many different ministry areas, demographic groups, theological perspectives, worship style perspectives as possible.
2. Enlist as many people to serve with the leadership group as people are willing.
Over the past few years I learned that some congregations are basing leadership ranks based on agreed marks of discipleship. The most common I've seen in ELCA congregations include:
- Bible Reading
- Service to God and To Others
- Giving - Time, Talent, and Treasure
- Encouraging Others to Grow
Back to the congregational bromide. I think representation of particular demographic groups and ministry areas for leadership is overrated. I did not say unnecessary, but that it tends to be the only stated (albeit loosely) criterion. Though this single standard could work (why not cast lots instead), I think the odds are low that a group based merely on representation will work. Without criteria and expectations for a leadership roster, it's more likely to have a group with members entrenched in their own perspective and "getting what's coming to them (or what they deserve)" rather than following through on the tasks of leadership. Representing what is important to you or your constituents as the only criterion for leadership moves toward divisiveness, cutoff and resentment over compromises.
Representation in congregation is important, but is overrated.