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Ministering Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships Paperback – October 1, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Sherwood G. Lingenfelter (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is provost and senior vice-president at Fuller Theological Seminary. Marvin K. Mayers (Ph.D., University of Chicago) has taught for many years in the intercultural studies department of Biola University.

About the Author

Sherwood G. Lingenfelter (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is provost and senior vice-president at Fuller Theological Seminary. Marvin K. Mayers (Ph.D., University of Chicago) has taught for many years in the intercultural studies department of Biola University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 2 edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801026474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801026478
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
This text is one of the better guides for cross-cultural ministry that I have found. In its relatively few pages (only 120 pages), it contains a wealth of information based on some easily-remembered and applied principles.
Increasingly in the world today, no matter what profession one chooses, there will be people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures -- even in the smallest of towns, people from different social strata will interact and come together in certain venues, and church and chaplaincy settings are among those. Cross-cultural ministry is not something reserved to those going off in foreign mission fields, but has an impact right here at home, wherever home may be.
One of the key concepts here is the dealing with conversation and conflict. The way people interact differently can lead to conflict -- not necessarily open violence (although sometimes that can happen), but rather the kind of tension that is caused when people don't understand each other. What we sometimes fail to forget is that people attribute importance and moral force to their actions and those of others, and will react not only to what is being said and done, but to their own interpretations of the meanings of those words and actions. This is derived from cultural influences -- shared culture as well as personal and family culture.
Lingenfelter and Mayer look at key concepts -- differences in the way we look at time, judgement, crisis management, goals, self-valuation, and vulnerabilities. For example, in urban cultures, people tend to lead fast-paced lives more frequently than those in small-town cultures; a person moving from one setting to another may find it irritating to be in such a setting, and perhaps not even know why.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this before my a short-term (6 weeks) summer trip to an east asian country, and although I am of asian descent, it definitely prepared me for things that I would have otherwise been caught by surprise.
For those preparing to go cross-cultural, even for short-term trips, this is a must-read. it isn't long, but its full of great stuff to pray, meditate, think about, and discuss. It does a great job of equipping and working on your mindset to be ready to face many of the things that will be guaranteed to culture shock you.
even for those who have already done/been doing cross-cultural work, I think this book is always a fresh reminder of the Biblical example we have in Christ, and that, as with all things, should be our singular focus. Who is Jesus the Christ, and how does that change the way I live my life for His glory?
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Review This book invites you to examine yourself from the viewpoint of being an alien in a new culture. The subject of the books the tensioning conflicts people experience when they try to work with people from a different cultural and social backgrounds. While the intended audience of this book is for those doing Christian missionary work in foreign countries, the principles discussed can be universally applied by anyone assigned to work abroad. The authors Lingenfelter and Mayers use a model of basic values that explores and points to personal and cross cultural roots of tension in interpersonal relationships and helps the person master and resolve those tensions by gaining personal insight into their behavior. There are 48 statements that are used to develop a personal profile. Then elements of that profile are chartered. The rest of the book explores those profiles for someone doing business in a far east asian cultural context. The chapters follow a pattern. The chapter discusses the cultural tension regarding time. The contrasting views are highlighted, followed by how those tensions manifest themselves in a real world issue.Then a proposed biblical response to that situation is examined.Finally the cultural implications of that solution is dissected. I found this systematic approach helpful . I gained insights into my own behaviors that both encouraged and challenged me. This is a book I would recommend for anyone traveling abroad for either secular or religious work purposes
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Format: Paperback
"Ministering Cross-Culturally" is a practical book useful for all Christians, bur intended specifically for those who minister among people of another culture. Cultural differences often lead to misunderstandings and conflict as a person of one culture does not behave as a person from another culture expects. To avoid prolonged conflict, Sherwood Lingenfelter, provost and senior vice president of Fuller Theological Seminary, presents the anthropological work of Marvin Mayers and applies it to cross cultural ministry.

Marvin Mayers work analyzes cultural values and divides them into twelve dimensions. Each of these dimensions has a contrasting value, making six competing value pairs that can be plotted on a grid. Lingenfelter provides a simple test so that the reader might plot himself on a each of the six grids, and determine his personal/cultural values. These pairs of values are as follows:

Time (time conscious and punctual versus event-oriented)
Judgment (seeing the world in "black & white" versus "shades of grey)
Handling Crises (focus on preparation versus comfort thinking on your feet)
Goals (task orientation versus relationship orientation)
Individual Worth (is honor achieved by works or bestowed at birth)
Vulnerability (is it OK to show weakness?)

Lingenfelter then analyzes the six pairs of values to illustrate the similarities and differences between Western values, Yapese (from the Island of Yap, where Lingenfelter did most of his doctoral/mission work), and the values displayed by Jesus. This knowledge of our own Western values and the often-contrasting values of others is necessary to achieve the purpose Lingenftelter advances for the reader.
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