What does effective cross-cultural ministry look like?

Review: Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures: Equipping Christians & Churches for Ministry in a Culturally Diverse Society

Authors: Andrew Schachtel, Choon-Hwa Lim and Michael K Wilson

The book was written by Australian authors for Australian Christians and churches to see the urgent need of reaching fruitfully across cultures.

This is the theological and biblical foundation of the book. It is expected that readers can learn from a particular perspective of cross-cultural ministry,  started by the very firm belief that all nations/ethnic groups/cultures need a redemptive action from Jesus Christ.

For me, this book offers a different model of cross-cultural ministry and a good conversation partner in theological and biblical understanding, because I believe that the foundation of cross-cultural ministry is the Cross of Christ. Each culture (regardless of whether they are a minority or majority group) needs to come before the Cross (of Christ) Culture, to be transformed into a new cultural identity.

Throughout the book, the three authors invite us to view cross-cultural ministry as a way to reach ethnic minorities in Australia.

How they structure each chapter/module is very helpful. Each module begins with a prayer, followed by an introduction, Biblical resources, ideas, summary and finally questions.

Module 2 is particularly helpful as it focuses on ministry in an ethnically diverse society. One illustrated example in the module presents a linear journey from a specific language and ethnic ministry into a majority Australian mainstream culture and, then, into an English language ministry.

Module 3 discusses the challenges that face churches when a minority group joins a majority Anglo European Church. It looks at the areas of language, finance and size of the church. This module demonstrates very helpful approaches to overcome hindrances in cross-cultural ministry.

Module 5 looks at the leadership in a multi-ethnic church and strongly encourages the inclusive leadership style, so that leaders from a minority group can be embraced.

This book is very helpful for those who understand or agree with the authors’ theological and biblical foundation, as well as their ministerial aim of cross-cultural ministry.

This book shows it is not a journey from a minority cultural group into a majority cultural group. The aim of cross cultural ministry is not about a majority group reaching a minority group, but majority and minority groups standing together equally and working cooperatively to share God’s peaceful kingdom.

‘Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures: Equipping Christians & Churches for Ministry in a Culturally Diverse Society’ was shortlisted for 2017 Australian Christian Book of Year. 

Rev. Dr Apwee Ting is one of the National Consultants to the Uniting Church in Australia’s Assembly Resourcing Unit.




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