Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

Category: Mission Leadership Page 1 of 2

a challenging climb

Both invitation and challenge needed

A disciple-making culture?

In the past few years, we have talked a lot about changing our organizational culture. Back when SEND U (our training department) was being launched, we wanted to establish a coaching culture in our organization, meaning coaching will become a pervasive method of supervision, leadership development, and membership development. I think we have made a lot of progress in establishing that culture. In more recent years, we have talked about creating a culture of collaboration, intentionality, and accountability. Many missionaries long to break away from a highly individualistic orientation and work on stronger teams. But we are an organization that describes itself as a global movement of Jesus followers making disciples among the unreached.1https://send.org/about. If this is to be true, then we need to have a disciple-making culture within the organization. What does it take to create a disciple-making culture?

Book Review: Discipling in a Multicultural World

Ajith Fernando is the kind of person I want to listen to concerning Discipling in a Multicultural World. He is a thoughtful practitioner. The back cover describes the book:

Rooted in over four decades of multicultural discipleship experience, Ajith Fernando offers biblical principles for discipling and presents examples showing how they apply to daily life and ministry. He addresses key cultural challenges, such as the value of honor and shame, honoring family commitments, and dealing with persecution, and helps us think realistically about the cost and commitment required for productive cross-cultural ministry. This practical guide to discipleship will help us help others grow into mature and godly followers of Christ.

Book Review: Women in God’s Mission: Accepting the Invitation to Serve and Lead

Women in God’s Mission: Accepting the Invitation to Serve and Lead by Mary  T. Leiderleitner. Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2018.

Women in God's Mission: Accepting the Invitation to Serve and Lead by [Lederleitner, Mary T.]This book is a summary of Dr. Mary Leiderleitner’s research into how women are serving and leading in God’s mission around the world. Her research was framed by two questions: 1) “What are diverse women experiencing as they lead in God’s mission? and 2) “What do they believe they need in order to do their best work as leaders in God’s mission?”  These questions were answered by 95 women from 28 countries through interviews, written surveys, and focus groups. She includes a lengthy explanation in the appendix of her research methodology.

Multi-tasking is a cultural trait

Over the past few weeks, I have been listening to a fascinating series of lectures by Dr. David Livermore of the Cultural Intelligence Center.  I purchased the lectures on Audible as part of one of “The Great Courses” that they offer. This course is 12 hours long and is entitled “Customs of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are.” I would highly recommend the course in learning more about other cultures and as part of learning to work in other cultures and on multicultural teams.

In one of the lectures, Dr. Livermore talked about how different cultures view time. Besides contrasting a value on punctuality with a value on relationships, he talked about monochronic and polychronic cultures.

Wearing multiple hats

Today, one of my students wrote a note on their assignment about job descriptions, “I think I have too many jobs.”

I can identify. I have two mission job descriptions. Both of them are leadership roles. One of them is supposed to take up about 60% of my time and the other the remaining 40%. I have wondered at times whether they are not in actuality two full-time positions that have somehow both found their way on to my plate. Following that analogy, pieces of both do fall off the edge and slop on to the floor every once in a while.  Maybe more often that I admit.

Shepherding or herding?

The Shepherd-leader

I have often heard the remark that leading missionaries is like herding cats. Yet are we in the herding business? As followers of the Good Shepherd we are to shepherd, not herd those in our care. Even if we shift the imagery from herding to shepherding, we can still go astray because of our cultural perception of shepherding.

Last year, my pastor was preaching on the Good Shepherd from John 10. He told a story of watching a sheep dog demonstration at the state fair. The dogs would circle the sheep barking and nipping at their heels to get them to go in the desired direction. If we look at shepherding from this cultural perspective, we lead by threatening and scolding (barking and biting). This is not the model of shepherding from a Middle Eastern perspective in biblical times or today and not at all what Christ was suggesting. The Middle Eeastern shepherd goes before the sheep and leads them by voice. “

Leading multicultural teams

Just a few years ago, we could find very little that had been written about multicultural mission teams.  The subject has been of great interest in our mission organization, since our membership is becoming increasingly international, and many, if not the majority of our teams, already include members from countries other than the USA or Canada.   But very few resources for guiding the team leaders of such teams were readily available.

A few would know of Lianne Roembke’s work, Building Credible Multicultural Teams.. Unfortunately, Roembke’s book has still not been released in digital form, and I cannot seem to find anyone who has written a review of it.  Then in 2011, Sheryl Silzer of SIL published her book, Biblical Multicultural Teams: Applying Biblical Truth to Cultural Differences. Silzer’s work focused on the formative nature of one’s childhood home and how that experience has impacted one’s view of what is right and wrong.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: