We are called to go and make disciples. For some of you that means going to cultures different than your own. The series of courses in this area of study will help equip you to engage in this kind of gospel-centered, transformational ministry in an intercultural context. You will become acquainted with the basic ideas, skills, and attitudes needed for healthy relationships and culturally appropriate ministry.
These courses are best experienced together, in sequence. They are all taught by Dr. Mark Hedinger, the Executive Director of CultureBound. Dr. Hedinger has been involved in missions, mission leadership, and intercultural training for many years.
OUR HUMAN CONDITION
An introductory session that looks at the twin themes of unity and diversity in human culture.
THE PERSON AND THE GROUP
All people have expectations of how the individual and the group relate to one another. This session looks at the continuum that is called, “Individualism/collectivism.”
GUILT, SHAME AND FEAR
The whole world recognizes that life is not what it ought to be. Some cultures look at the difference between what should be and what is through the lens of guilt/innocence. Others see shame/honor. Still others live in fear of other beings (often spirits) and seek power to overcome those fears.
THE GROUP AND ITS LEADERS
Cultures differ in their expectations for the relationship between a leader and the people. The technical name for this cultural dynamic is “Power Distance.”
RESPONDING TO SOMETHING NEW
Innovation is not welcome in some cultures, and is highly prized in others. That continuum is called, “uncertainty avoidance.”
Another cultural variation considers the prioritization of resources. Is progress best understood as taking care of all people (nurture) or is the development of physical infrastructure a higher goal? The technical name for this topic is “masculine/feminine.”
THERE'S MORE TO THINKING THAN YOU THOUGHT
This is the first of two sessions on thought patterns across cultures. This session considers linear, sequential patterns on one hand, and “high context” patterns on the other.
UNIVERSAL & PARTICULAR
This trait also touches issues of thought patterns, discussing variations between cultures along a continuum from focus on universal truths on one hand to focus on multitudes of particular details on the other hand.
Multiple perspectives on time vary between cultures, including whether a group is oriented towards future vs past, and also including whether time is seen as flexible or sequential.
Social interaction is key to developing trust among some people, while performance in formal situations is the key to trust in other cultures.
Six suggestions on how to think creatively to understand a new culture are presented in this concluding session.
The author of this course is Dr. Mark Hedinger, Executive Director of CultureBound, a ministry that prepares people for life and work in an unfamiliar language and culture. The goal for this CLD course is to offer practical help for those whose ministry includes crossing culture and language boundaries. Whether you serve as a traditional missionary, part of a multicultural church, or in a professional marketplace role, these concepts will help you to better understand and disciple the people you have been sent to serve. Mark’s experiences and training include 12 years of traditional mission service followed by six years in mission leadership. In 2008 he moved into full time training work that over the years has prepared men and women from the US, Peru, Egypt, Argentina, Uganda, Mexico, Panama and many other nations for intercultural ministry. Mark ministers routinely in English and in Spanish. For more information, you can reach Dr. Hedinger at mark.hedinger@CultureBound.org, or visit the ministry website:CultureBound.org.