Drawing unsustainable, and that the efforts of the

Drawing parallels between youth
ministry and cross-cultural work, Borthwich explained how cross-cultural
principles for missionaries were applicable to youth ministry, with Incarnational
Ministry as a biblical foundation. Borthwich argued that reaching out to the
youth was akin to reaching out to a tribe with a unique sub-culture. Areas of
cross-cultural missions applicable to youth ministry work identified include cultural
adaptation (the ability to identify with the ‘youth culture’ without losing one’s
‘adult culture’), learning of the youth language, the ability to apply biblical
principles to real-life issues (sits-im-leben),
understanding the thought process behind decision making, knowing the music
that appealed to the youth (ethnomusicology), the willingness to equip
indigenous leadership, the ability to bridge cultural differences, and the
contextualisation of the gospel in the youth culture by identifying aspects of
their culture that can be preserved and that which should be challenged or discarded.

            Based on personal experience, Hill
presented a critical evaluation of the Incarnational Ministry model. Referencing
Jacob Loewen’s writing, Hill argued that the Incarnational Ministry model was
inadequate as it was unrealistic, hypocritical, unsustainable, and that the efforts
of the missionary could be misunderstood and not appreciated. In place of the
Incarnational Ministry model, Hill proposed a less extreme approach by choosing
to be a friend to the community, to love them, to try and understand them and
to care about them, without trying to be one of them. She advocated the
importance of honesty in missions – knowing one’s identity as missionary, and not
pretending to be someone else. In this way, she submited that missionaries could
use their God-given abilities and knowledge to best serve the community.

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Following her earlier critique on the Incarnation Ministry, Hill
identified 3 different models of Incarnation Ministry and discussed each model
to arrive at a practical and effective model for missionaries. Quoting
Lingenfelter’s definition of Incarnation Ministry as the first model, Hill
argued that this model was an “unattainable ideal” as it required total
external physical identification. The second model, as proposed by Luzbetak,
required two levels of identification – identification-empathy which was the understanding
the people and, secondly, lifestyle-adoption, in which he proposed selective
adoption of lifestyle on a case-by-case basis. The third model, Hill submitted,
was the most useful as it called for deep empathy to understand the people and
the choosing of the most appropriate lifestyle. Hill concluded by emphasising
the need to develop incarnational empathy through cross-cultural friendship as a
model, and presented seven different aspects of cross-cultural friendships that
should be addressed.

In addressing interpersonal tensions and challenges
faced by Christians when they work with people from different cultural and
social backgrounds, Sherwood proposed the use of the Basic Values Model
developed by Marvin Mayers to help and equip Christians with the ability to
relate to others. Christians were encouraged to expand their personal cultural
repertoire. Given that humans are confined by limitations of the mind, personal
experiences and abilities, and thus, could never fully imitate the divine act
of incarnation, Sherwood argued that the Incarnational Ministry approach should
shift to ‘radical discipleship’, which presented the incarnation of Christ as a
metaphor for cross-cultural ministry.  This required Christians to be Christ-like in
whatever context that they are in, and to let go of personal cultural biasness
by learning and adapting to other cultures, without the loss of moral

To provide a process with learnable
skillsets for missionaries in cross-cultural settings, Stallter introduced a model
of Cultural Intelligence (CQ Model) for Problem Solving by combining Sternberg’s
reflective intelligence model with appropriate cross-cultural resources. The
required resources or skillsets for missionaries were the understanding of
general and specific culture; cultural and personal self-awareness; the ability
to adapt to different cultures, and the skills of flexibility, tolerance for
ambiguity, emotional resilience, amongst others, to increase one’s aptitude for
cultural adjustments. Building on these resources, the model would guide the
missionary through the cognitive, volitional and behavioural processes for
problem solving. The Cognitive process required mastery of the cultural
awareness resources for recognition, definition, and evaluation of strategy for
problems. The Volitional process then called for commitment of time and both
physical and emotional energy to work through the problem. Finally, the
Behavioural process entailed practising culturally appropriate behaviours aligned
to biblical principles, and the continued monitoring and evaluation of progress
and outcomes of the problem solving.

Recognising incarnation as one of the 4 formative
theology of missions, Incarnational
Ministry was defined as “identification that extends the redemptive purpose
of God”. Comparing the process of identification
to the extraction approach in mission
work, the author argued that Christian missionaries must strive beyond identification to incarnation – to go beyond outer, physical conformity to practising
heartfelt empathy in the relationships with the community. In imitating the
characteristics of God that defines the Incarnational Ministry, missionaries must
adopt compassionate love, build interpersonal rapport through authenticity, and
practise reciprocity in their approach. The book also discussed the relevance
of anthropology and the process of acculturation, and advocated that to be
effective incarnations of Christ, missionaries must first become learners of
culture and overcome ethnocentrism or
cultural pride.

Whiteman stresses incarnation as the
model for contextualisation. He presented 3 functions of contextualisation –
first, to communicate the gospel in a way that meets people’s needs and
allowing them to be Christian in their own culture. Secondly, to expose any
cultural patterns of sin to transform lives. Thirdly, to expand the understanding
of the diversity in the kingdom of God, and that Christianity is not exclusive
to any culture.  However, Whiteman
acknowledged that there was a gap between the practice and the preaching of
contextualisation as a result of the history of non-contextualised Christianity
passed down from previous generations of missionary teachers. He concluded that
contextualisation presented a prophetic challenge in the need for transformation
of context, a hermeneutic challenge in the understanding of the gospel through
different cultural perspectives, and lastly, a personal challenge to become a part
of the diverse body of Christ.

            Whiteman traced the history of the
relationship between mission and anthropology and found the early development
of anthropology heavily reliant on ethnographic data from missionaries. The
adoption of anthropology in mission in the beginning focused mainly on the translation
of scriptures into indigenous languages. Whiteman argued that anthropology in
mission was not only practical and efficient, but was theologically sound as
the incarnation model demonstrated God’s seriousness about humanity and
culture. Anthropology provide insights and knowledge to mission, without which
missionaries would revert to ethnocentricity. He quoted Revelation 7:9 to
depict the culture diversity of the kingdom of God. Whiteman asserted that
Incarnation Ministry required missionaries to give up their own cultural
biasness and preferences to meet the people where they are.



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