Prepare for culture change

Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures: Equipping Christians and churches for ministry in a culturally diverse society

by Andrew Schachtel, Choon-Hwa Lim and Michael K. Wilson Independent Books

Whether you have been thinking and working through cross-cultural ministry issues for a long time or just beginning, whether you are ministering with your church or working somewhat independently, this book will stimulate, challenge and equip you for cross-cultural ministry.

The authors – who each have local and overseas cross-cultural ministry experience – take us on a journey through the why, what, how and when of reaching Australia’s ethnic minorities and developing vibrant churches that are effective in ministering across cultures.

Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures may be read with benefit or studied with others. There are six modules with an outline of how to proceed in each, examples from various ministry situations and discussion questions at the end of each module.

The modules examine the biblical motivation for ministry across cultures. How does this inform our cross-cultural ministry convictions?

Module 2 notes that a large proportion of our population was born overseas, that millions routinely speak languages other than English at home and large numbers follow a religion quite different
from Christianity. What are the implications for Australian Christians? An appendix outlines these demographic realities.

Hindrances to ministry across cultures and possible solutions are dealt with in Module 3, while Module 4 looks at increasing our cultural intelligence and helps focus our attitude, thinking and skill development in ways that encourage us to behave sensitively and appropriately towards people of different backgrounds. It will also help us to acquire and practice relevant cross-cultural skills.

Module 5 looks at leadership in cross-cultural situations. The authors say that, “We are all leaders in one way or another, regardless of our cultural backgrounds. It is hoped that this module offers some practical approaches that everyone in the church, whatever their function... can take towards helping their church become more multiethnic and hence more relevant to... their community”.

In Module 6 the question “Where to from here?” is asked. If you decide that some changes are needed to make your church more multicultural and to foster cross-cultural ministry, what are the next steps? The authors give 11 implementation tips that apply to many areas of planning but have particular application to cross-cultural ministry.

This book is a very helpful and practical guide to individuals and churches to move forward in serving the new communities that God is bringing to our country (you can order it online).