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Thoughts on cross-cultural ministry

Coming from England to Texas, I’m very familiar with sayings such as the British “have a stiff upper lip” or “are very reserved in their nature”. I have to admit that at an earlier time in my life I said I never wanted to go to America as I knew exactly how it was: “crime-ridden cities in New York and LA, and Lucille Balls in between!” We all have preconceived ideas of the national character of a country’s inhabitants – often gained from the news, movies or individuals we have met. However as Christians, we must be especially careful to leave those ideas aside if we are to get to know and minister to people from other cultures! Sometimes it takes a real effort to do so, and we must also remember that people have to overcome preconceived ideas about us too!

Waiting to cross a river in Togo
Waiting to cross a river in Togo

As we have sought to understand many different experiences and come to know and love other Christians who live in very different cultures, we have developed a whole new appreciation for many scripture passages especially with reference to the Body of Christ. We realize that people and problems are the same the world over, although it is fascinating how each nation and culture has distinctive strengths and weaknesses. We are truly all different parts of the same body, and we all need each other as we work together under our head, our Lord Jesus Christ. Here are some further thoughts:

Thoughts 1 – Patience

Thoughts 2 – Principle

Thoughts 3 – Lack of preparation

Thoughts 4 – Jealousy

Thoughts 5 – Trophies

Thoughts 6 – Great white missionary syndrome

Thoughts 7 – Encouragement