You don’t have to travel to do cross-cultural ministry

By March 16, 2023

USA (MNN) — Have you ever traveled to a different country and people there acted… “weird?” Well, their behavior was normal. It only seemed odd because it wasn’t what you expected.

“Sometimes you don’t see your cultural blind spots, just like when you look at your body. You can see from shoulder to down [but] not your face unless you [look in] the mirror,” says Dr. Sunny Hong, Senior Anthropology Consultant and Wycliffe USA partner.

Culture affects everything from speech to behavior; cultural clashes can break relationships. Knowing how to navigate across different cultures helps you be an effective witness for Christ, whether on a foreign mission field or walking down the street to chat with your refugee neighbors.

Find three tips for cross-cultural ministry here.

For example, some cultures prefer indirect communication rather than direct. “They think that’s the most elegant way to communicate – if you can convey the meaning indirectly, not dishonoring the recipient,” Hong explains.

“You may have a hard time [understanding] why people don’t like you because you just tell the truth. The Bible says [to make] ‘yes, yes, and [your] no, no,’” she continues.

“[You think] you’re just being biblical, but in the (collectivist) culture, that was a very big [mistake].”

Sometimes, before people engage with Scripture, they encounter Christ through believers. Ask the Lord to give you opportunities to share Christ’s love with refugees or coworkers from a different country. Maybe they can tell you about their cross-cultural journey.

“Usually, refugees go through many different cultures before they come to the U.S.,” Hong says.

“People scattered and leaving their country don’t come to the U.S. immediately. Sometimes they walk for many months to travel to neighboring countries [before reaching] a refugee camp.”




Header image courtesy of Wycliffe USA.

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