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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; 2.6.2006 edition (March 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830833781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830833788
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Duane Elmer has created a gem! This latest of his creations reminds us that Duane writes stories rather than documents. The reader will discover in Cross-Cultural Servanthood a delightful encounter with people, places and situations. The examples and reflections that come through these pages shine with the warmth and reality of letters from a close friend. But this is no ordinary friend--Dr. Elmer sheds light on cultural mysteries. His experiences as a missionary, teacher, consultant, school administrator and quite surely a researcher who 'gets to the bottom' of the curious events that pepper these stories reveal a depth of understanding that makes this book shine.

The choice of servanthood reveals the fundamental difference in Dr. Elmer's understanding of the cross-cultural situation. Others have written of the information-flow task from one culture toward another, the management dimensions of intercultural affairs and the quest for excellence in intercultural experiences. Note that each of these assumes that the intercultural encounter calls for a series of top-down skills moving from foreignness toward control. Not Duane Elmer. Choosing Christian styles and biblical sources, he develops applications of principles that ring true, reflecting the warmth and wholeness of sound interpersonal affiliation. This is the strong stuff that overcomes the differences, tensions and conflicts that otherwise will plague the intercultural environment. The key is adopting the posture, manner and style of a loyal servant." (Ted Ward, Professor Emeritus of Education and Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Michigan State University)

"Elmer provides a fresh and provocative look at learning and ministering cross-culturally through the scriptural mandate to be servants of the master engaged in kingdom work. Noting that the practice of servanthood must vary in every culture, the book provides powerful and practical insights into how to become an effective servant in another culture. This is an excellent resource for practical mission training, and for those already in ministry, the book enables willing servants to sharpen their emotional and behavioral practices to more appropriate contextualized servanthood." (Sherwood Lingenfelter, Provost, Senior Vice President and Professor of Anthropology, Fuller Theological Seminary, and coauthor of Ministering Cross-Culturally)

"As the Son of God entered first-century Jewish culture and discerned and used its expressions of servanthood--a basin and a towel--to communicate the nature of his Heavenly Father, Duane Elmer draws helpfully from Scripture and his broad experience to help us enter another culture today and discern and use its expressions of servanthood to communicate the nature of our Heavenly Father as well." (J. Dudley Woodberry, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Islamic Studies, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"My library is filled with books, tapes and materials all on servanthood in which I see and hear the oft-repeated phrase 'servant-leader.' But how do we live as servants or 'slaves' in a cross-cultural context? Duane Elmer has provided a much-needed cultural guide for any of us involved in intercultural ministry. His writing gives us a biblical foundation along with living anecdotes from across the world in real-life situations. Duane helps us understand the lifelong process and guides us through the matrix of personality, cultural and generational differences. I believe his comments on the mantra 'servant-leader' were especially needed." (John H. Orme, Executive Director, IFMA)

"Cross-Cultural Servanthood is needed more today than ever in the history of missions. In today's mission context, millions of short-term missionaries travel cross-culturally every year. Tens of thousands of non-Western missionaries serve in almost every country of the world. Many churches from the West are forming partnerships with churches from other countries. In all these scenarios, there is a tendency toward an attitude of superiority. The danger of ethnocentric arrogance is exploding. Dr. Elmer provides crucial principles of servanthood illustrated with timely examples. Short- and long-term missionaries from the West as well as the non-Western world need to read and practice the principles of this book. God's glory in the nations is at stake!" (James E. Plueddemann, former International Director of SIM, and professor of intercultural studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

"Cross-Cultural Servanthood offers short-termers and career missionaries a wise and practical guide on how to serve God and others. Duane Elmer is a master at cross-cultural relationships and nearly every page of the book shows it. It's a must-read for SIS staff and volunteers.

The relationship between task effectiveness and relational effectiveness is a crucial issue for missionaries and Christian workers of all kinds. Duane Elmer has pinpointed the essential linchpin--servanthood. He ably shows how Jesus' example of servanthood enables one to honor others while honoring God." (Michele Rickett, founder and president, Sisters In Service, and coauthor, Daughters of Hope)

"With effective illustrations and ready-to-implement practical applications, Duane Elmer reminds us that Jesus-style servanthood must be biblically understood and culturally applied--in ways that the recipients interpret as servanthood. This book should be required reading for every Christian seeking to serve cross-culturally, whether in a long-term or short-term capacity." (Paul Borthwick, author of How to Be a World-Class Christian and A Mind for Missions)

"Elmer's wisdom in preparing people for cross-cultural service comes across clearly throughout this wonderful book. His humbly told stories interwoven with carefully explained truths invited me to revisit things I wish I had done differently in my cross-cultural work and to reflect on the areas in which God still has work to do in my life. Simply put, this marvelous book opens significant doors to more effective cross-cultural service. If all missionaries lived out the lessons Elmer presents, the effect on missionary service and outreach--not to mention the church--would be incalculable." (Scott Moreau, department chair and professor of intercultural studies, Wheaton College, and coauthor of Introducing World Missions)

"Dr. Duane Elmer is my good friend and mentor, and I have learned a lot from him: not only from his teachings and writings but also from our relationship. He lives every day what he believes. I highly recommend his book Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility to anyone who understands the importance of learning from Christ's example and principles; to those who live in the twenty-first century in the global village; to those who serve or desire to serve successfully among people from different ethnic, national or language groups; among people from different countries and cultures. I especially recommend this book to those who are interested in praying more specifically for missionaries; to those who train missionaries in universities or seminaries, colleges and institutions; and especially to everyone in Europe, where we face so many challenges. After his books Cross-Cultural Conflict, Cross-Cultural Connections and With an Eye on the Future: Development and Mission in the 21st Century, this book, in my opinion, is going to be God's instrument for blessing many people and a great help for people from every nation, every language and in every position. May God bless the book and its author!" (Nikolay Nedelchev, President, European Evangelical Alliance, and Executive Director, Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute)

"As Christians we all strongly affirm servant leadership, and leave it at that. Duane Elmer leads us on a pilgrimage on what this means in our everyday lives. This is not another book of quick and easy formulas to be applied in specific situations. It is a call to a new way of relating to one another and to those around us. It is not only for Christian ministers and missionaries, but for all of us as parents, teachers and colleagues. The danger is that if we read this carefully and embody its deep insights, it might make servanthood a part of our lives as Christians in this world." (Paul G. Hiebert, Distinguished Professor of Mission and Anthropology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and author of Incarnational Ministry)

About the Author

Duane H. Elmer (Ph.D., Michigan State U.) is director of the Ph.D. program in educational studies and is the G. W. Aldeen Chair of International Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. In addition to traveling and teaching in over 75 countries, he has provided cross-cultural training to Fortune 500 companies, relief and development agencies, mission organizations, churches and educational institutions. He has also conducted peace and reconciliation efforts in several countries. He is also the author of Cross-Cultural Conflict and Cross-Cultural Connections.

More About the Author

Duane H. Elmer (Ph.D., Michigan State U.) is director of the Ph.D. program in educational studies and is the G. W. Aldeen Chair of International Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. In addition to traveling and teaching in over 75 countries, he has provided cross-cultural training to Fortune 500 companies, relief and development agencies, mission organizations, churches and educational institutions. He has also conducted peace and reconciliation efforts in several countries. Recently, he led faculty development workshops at over 25 European and Middle Eastern schools on the theme of Teaching for Transformation. He has taught at Durban Bible College (Durban, South Africa), Michigan State University and Wheaton College and Graduate School.

His articles have been published in journals such as Moody Monthly, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Christian Education Journal, Discernment, and Christianity Today. His books include An Analysis of Hebrews: A Programmed Instruction, Building Relationships, With an Eye on the Future: Church and Development in the Twenty-First Century, Cross-Cultural Conflict and Cross-Cultural Connections.

Customer Reviews

This book is a must read for anyone who is going on a short term mission trip.
Jeffrey Rude
Christians are to be different--"If you love only those who love you, what good is that? If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?"
M Teresa Trascritti (book reviews) or Francis Trascritti (kindle links)
As a missionary, this book exposes the greatest missionary obstacle, ethnocentrism.
BP

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Beth Hutchings on January 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am using Cross-cultural Servanthood as a training tool for sending a surgical team to Mexico. It is excellent for preparing our hearts and minds to serve. It doesn't just tell you to be a servant but it tells you how to be one. I have read many book on short term missions but this book rises to the top as a 'must read' before going on the field. Last year we used Elmer's book Cross-cultural Connections and it too had fresh new insights that challenged our team to think more deeply about the impact we may have in another culture.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M Teresa Trascritti (book reviews) or Francis Trascritti (kindle links) on September 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the book is subdivided by several sections, there are really two concepts to this book: (1) See the image of God in others-- which encompasses the ideas of "welcoming others into our presence," "communicating respect for others, " "building confidence in relationships," and "seeking information that changes you;" and (2) Show Christ to others-- which involves "posture of the servant," "becoming like Christ to others," "biblical foundations for change" and "the servant and leadership/power."

The section entitled, "Acceptance," basically suggests that Christians ought to see the image of God in others. Acceptance is "The ability to communicate value, worth and esteem to another person" (58). To illustrate the meaning of "acceptance," the author shares 1 Corinthians 8:13--"An accepting Christian values the other person so highly that he or she would rather sacrifice a personal preference, even a right, than risk losing the relationship or being a stumbling block to that person" (61). If a Christian believes that people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), then there is "common grace" that is bestowed on all people.

The author explains it in this way, "Acceptance of others is to proactively communicate respect and dignity to each human being based on the fact that each is an image-bearer of God" (75). In a similar way, acceptance of others as image bearers of God is found in Galatians 3:28--"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female" (NIV). One does not need to be a Christian in order to bear the image of God as illustrated in this passage: "Yes, you must execute anyone who murders another person, for to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God's image" (Genesis 9:6).
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell L. Webb on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book for those of us that believe we have the whole world figured out. The chapter on Humility is alone worth the price of the book. Great for anyone desiring to serve skillfully in culturally unfamiliar settings, whether in the United States or abroad.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By George P. Wood TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Cross-Cultural Servanthood, Duane Elmer tells the parable of a monkey who sees a fish swimming against the current of a stream (pp. 27-28). Assuming the fish is struggling to survive, the monkey plucks the fish out of the stream and places it on dry ground. At first, the fish flops around--excited to have been saved, the monkey thinks. When the fish stops moving, the monkey feels satisfied, believing the fish is resting contentedly. Of course, the fish is dead.

In cross-cultural exchanges, we intend to serve others, but our efforts may be perceived as exercises of arrogant power. The remedy is Christlike humility. "Humility is mandated," Elmer writes, "but"--and this exception is crucial--"its expression is culturally defined" (p. 33). We must both intend to be humble, in other words, and act in ways that people from other cultures perceive as humble.

How do we do this? Cross-Cultural Servanthood examines "the process of becoming a cross-cultural servant" (p. 19). Elmer outlines this process with six steps:

1. Openness: "the ability to welcome people into your presence and make them feel safe" (p. 39, emphasis in original).

2. Acceptance: "the ability to communicate value, worth and esteem to another person" (p. 58)

3. Trust: "the ability to build confidence in a relationship so that both parties believe the other will not intentionally hurt them but will act in their best interest" (p. 77).

4. Learning: "the ability to glean relevant information about, from and with other people" (p. 93).

5. Understanding: "the ability to see patterns of behavior and values that reveal the integrity of a people" (p. 125).

6.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Doulos on October 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Because of the way I was raised, my ESL training, and my experiences in Africa, it may be that I am actually better at "other world cultures" than the subtle but shattering differences in what the author refers to as "home culture." For me, this book is as much about relationships as it is about serving other cultures.

The author's willingness to expose his own shortcomings on this subject creates a comfortable atmosphere of receptivity rather than one of exhortation. This did not dilute the intensity of my need to change some foundational thought processes. He provides some practical tools to do just that!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Meme on March 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
Book review - Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility - by Duane Elmer Downer's Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006

This book explores components of cross-cultural servanthood from the context of a renewed biblical examination of what a servant in service means. The author, using biblical and personal experiences, clearly seeks to reinvigorate discussions for the motives and methods of cross-cultural service. His foundational thesis is the forthright assertion that "serving people is not just doing what seems good in our own culture but seeking out the knowledge of the people, learning from them, knowing their cultural values and then acting in ways that support the fabric of the culture to the degree possible. After taking these steps, we will have served them." (p. 114). Prodding at this theme from different angles, he offers a compelling stance, that effective cross-cultural ministry has to be more than good intentions and superb presentation. It has to be based on understanding the will of God exemplified in Christ, as well as engender a sensitive to the realities and cultures of the people.

Using different metaphors, (e.g. the story of the well meaning monkey's rescue of an assumed struggling fish - chap. 3), and numerous personal and others' examples, the author expounds the need to both examine our motives for cross-cultural service, that they be not from disguised superiority and or well-intentioned but manipulative "virtues" (pg.17). He challenges the Christian to serve others, especially in a different culture, from the example of Jesus Christ, who forsakes all, and lives as a servant, weak, invisible, but connected with those he chose to give up everything for, in order to serve them.
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