As the US becomes more culturally diverse, cross-cultural ministry is no longer solely a concern for missionaries but also for nearly all pastors and church leaders. Of particular concern is the important issue of leadership—a difficult task made even more challenging in multicultural settings. Sherwood Lingenfelter now turns his attention and considerable experience to this crucial topic.
Cross-cultural leadership is made especially difficult by the fact that each of us brings the culture we inhabit to the role, often unknowingly. This creates blind spots and insensitivity to how others are culturally conditioned to exercise and receive leadership. Lingenfelter helps the reader understand their own leadership culture, examine it critically in light of Scripture, and become an effective learner of other cultural perspectives on leadership. He also confronts the issues of power inherent in any leadership situation. After carefully defining cross-cultural leadership, Lingenfelter unpacks and explores that definition throughout the book, with an emphasis on building communities of vision, trust, and empowerment through leadership based on biblical principles. In the end, he argues that leaders must inhabit the Gospel story to be effective cross-culturally.
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“The lunch presented the opportunity to ask four basic questions:” (Page 63)
“The first characteristic of leading is building trust within a relational community.” (Page 16)
“A third characteristic of leading is stepping out ahead” (Page 17)
“Leading, then, is inspiring people who participate with you in a community of trust to follow you—a leader or a leadership team—and be empowered by you to achieve a compelling vision of faith.” (Page 19)
“The second characteristic of leading in the life of Christ is the defining of a compelling vision for life” (Page 17)
No one is better qualified to tackle the thorny challenges of cross-cultural leadership than Sherwood Lingenfelter. Forged out of Dr. Lingenfelter’s lifetime of experience in the field, in the classroom and educational administration, and in global consulting, Leading Cross-Culturally brings together a rare blend of anthropology, leadership theory, and theology that calls cross-cultural team members into covenant relationships centered on Christ and the cross. This is practical missiology at its best.
—Tom Steffen, professor of intercultural studies, School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University