Friday, March 26, 2010

course planning: what skills to work across cultures?

We are in the midst of reworking the Bachelor for Ministry here at Uniting College. Our goal is to

Develop effective leaders for a healthy, missional church.

So yesterday I was meeting with some leaders from a cross-cultural mission organisation. Together we were reflecting on migration patterns, and the influx of world to Australian shores. Take Sydney, which would be a city in decline if it wasn’t for overseas migration.

So, having just emerged from a planning meeting in regard to changes in the B.Min (which are pretty exciting IMHO) I decided to do some market research. I asked them:

what skills are needed in order to work across cultures here in Australia?

What would you say if I asked you that question?

Posted by steve at 11:22 AM


  1. “All you need is love”

    Comment by John Lennon — March 26, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

  2. You need to be willing to listen.
    To realise your own culture doesn’t do things “the right way”. You need to be able to try new things. For example I think it’s in Dave Gibbons book “The Monkey and the Fish” where he says you have to be able to eat things like kimchi and chicken feet without looking like you’re going to throw up.
    You need to be willing to humble yourself and allow others to take the lead.
    If you’re a person who likes to be on time, you need to be flexible and acknowledge that others don’t always have the same dependency on time.
    The ability to think about what you say before you say it.
    Be willing to persevere and work on relationships
    Spend time learning about other cultures and respect their traditions.
    Acknowledge we’re a racist country
    Love is a great start but love is shown in many different ways

    Comment by Naomi — March 27, 2010 @ 7:30 am

  3. thanks Naomi. excellent insights, esp given the cross-cultural boundaries you have migrated.


    Comment by steve — March 29, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

  4. John,

    nice to have you back from the dead. or is this a new form of automatic handwriting?


    Comment by steve — March 29, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

  5. Born again, yes, but it’s only me……..By the way, I spent today guided by the angel on your d.e.l.i.c.o.u.s…..He brought me to U2 UNKNOWN CALLER and a very good interpretation of it…With Passover greetings from good old Opawa.

    Comment by Ingrid — March 29, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  6. the angel picture sits above my doorhandle at work, a prayer that through each caller at my door (including me when I arrive), God’s presence may be revealed more clearly,


    Comment by steve — March 29, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

  7. Maybe he is the Passover Angel? Well, for me anyway!

    Comment by Ingrid — March 29, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

  8. Just asking a question – why ask about mission across cultures?

    One thing that strikes me about Australia is that the dominant ethnic group, the WASP, is essentially godless and unchurched. Rather than conforming ourselves and embracing other cultures (no bad thing by the way), shouldn’t we also be thinking about our own sub-cultures and why it is that they’re largely disengaged from the Kingdom?

    I’ve heard Australia is receiving an influx of “missionaries” from the Pacific Islands and even China, and at the same time most churches here support “missions” to other overseas destinations. That seems a tad inefficient to me – to be investing huge amounts in language and cultural studies for cross-cultural mission, when in WASP Asutralia we’re not touching the surface in some respects.

    Comment by Andrew — March 30, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

  9. Hi Andrew,
    I asked cos the person I was speaking to had made their life’s work to skip across cultures.

    Certainly the focus on the dominant ethnic group is a major focus as a College and most of our teaching is in that area.

    Thanks for dropping by


    Comment by steve — March 30, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

  10. Andrew,
    I would have thought working across cultures would mean anything outside our own experience of culture whether that’s across countries, states or streets. The same principles apply anytime when we’re with people in a setting different from our own experience. We can all start off with the basics of how do we bring love or peace to the people we are interacting with.

    Comment by Naomi — March 30, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

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