Drawing parallels between youthministry and cross-cultural work, Borthwich explained how cross-culturalprinciples for missionaries were applicable to youth ministry, with IncarnationalMinistry as a biblical foundation. Borthwich argued that reaching out to theyouth was akin to reaching out to a tribe with a unique sub-culture. Areas ofcross-cultural missions applicable to youth ministry work identified include culturaladaptation (the ability to identify with the ‘youth culture’ without losing one’s’adult culture’), learning of the youth language, the ability to apply biblicalprinciples to real-life issues (sits-im-leben),understanding the thought process behind decision making, knowing the musicthat appealed to the youth (ethnomusicology), the willingness to equipindigenous leadership, the ability to bridge cultural differences, and thecontextualisation of the gospel in the youth culture by identifying aspects oftheir culture that can be preserved and that which should be challenged or discarded. Based on personal experience, Hillpresented a critical evaluation of the Incarnational Ministry model. ReferencingJacob Loewen’s writing, Hill argued that the Incarnational Ministry model wasinadequate as it was unrealistic, hypocritical, unsustainable, and that the effortsof the missionary could be misunderstood and not appreciated. In place of theIncarnational Ministry model, Hill proposed a less extreme approach by choosingto be a friend to the community, to love them, to try and understand them andto care about them, without trying to be one of them.
She advocated theimportance of honesty in missions – knowing one’s identity as missionary, and notpretending to be someone else. In this way, she submited that missionaries coulduse their God-given abilities and knowledge to best serve the community. Following her earlier critique on the Incarnation Ministry, Hillidentified 3 different models of Incarnation Ministry and discussed each modelto arrive at a practical and effective model for missionaries. QuotingLingenfelter’s definition of Incarnation Ministry as the first model, Hillargued that this model was an “unattainable ideal” as it required totalexternal physical identification. The second model, as proposed by Luzbetak,required two levels of identification – identification-empathy which was the understandingthe people and, secondly, lifestyle-adoption, in which he proposed selectiveadoption 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 andthe choosing of the most appropriate lifestyle. Hill concluded by emphasisingthe need to develop incarnational empathy through cross-cultural friendship as amodel, and presented seven different aspects of cross-cultural friendships thatshould be addressed.In addressing interpersonal tensions and challengesfaced by Christians when they work with people from different cultural andsocial backgrounds, Sherwood proposed the use of the Basic Values Modeldeveloped by Marvin Mayers to help and equip Christians with the ability torelate to others.
Christians were encouraged to expand their personal culturalrepertoire. Given that humans are confined by limitations of the mind, personalexperiences and abilities, and thus, could never fully imitate the divine actof incarnation, Sherwood argued that the Incarnational Ministry approach shouldshift to ‘radical discipleship’, which presented the incarnation of Christ as ametaphor for cross-cultural ministry. This required Christians to be Christ-like inwhatever context that they are in, and to let go of personal cultural biasnessby learning and adapting to other cultures, without the loss of moralintegrity. To provide a process with learnableskillsets for missionaries in cross-cultural settings, Stallter introduced a modelof Cultural Intelligence (CQ Model) for Problem Solving by combining Sternberg’sreflective intelligence model with appropriate cross-cultural resources. Therequired resources or skillsets for missionaries were the understanding ofgeneral and specific culture; cultural and personal self-awareness; the abilityto adapt to different cultures, and the skills of flexibility, tolerance forambiguity, emotional resilience, amongst others, to increase one’s aptitude forcultural adjustments.
Building on these resources, the model would guide themissionary through the cognitive, volitional and behavioural processes forproblem solving. The Cognitive process required mastery of the culturalawareness resources for recognition, definition, and evaluation of strategy forproblems. The Volitional process then called for commitment of time and bothphysical and emotional energy to work through the problem. Finally, theBehavioural process entailed practising culturally appropriate behaviours alignedto biblical principles, and the continued monitoring and evaluation of progressand outcomes of the problem solving.
Recognising incarnation as one of the 4 formativetheology of missions, IncarnationalMinistry was defined as “identification that extends the redemptive purposeof God”. Comparing the process of identificationto the extraction approach in missionwork, the author argued that Christian missionaries must strive beyond identification to incarnation – to go beyond outer, physical conformity to practisingheartfelt empathy in the relationships with the community. In imitating thecharacteristics of God that defines the Incarnational Ministry, missionaries mustadopt compassionate love, build interpersonal rapport through authenticity, andpractise reciprocity in their approach.
The book also discussed the relevanceof anthropology and the process of acculturation, and advocated that to beeffective incarnations of Christ, missionaries must first become learners ofculture and overcome ethnocentrism orcultural pride. Whiteman stresses incarnation as themodel for contextualisation. He presented 3 functions of contextualisation –first, to communicate the gospel in a way that meets people’s needs andallowing them to be Christian in their own culture. Secondly, to expose anycultural patterns of sin to transform lives.
Thirdly, to expand the understandingof the diversity in the kingdom of God, and that Christianity is not exclusiveto any culture. However, Whitemanacknowledged that there was a gap between the practice and the preaching ofcontextualisation as a result of the history of non-contextualised Christianitypassed down from previous generations of missionary teachers. He concluded thatcontextualisation presented a prophetic challenge in the need for transformationof context, a hermeneutic challenge in the understanding of the gospel throughdifferent cultural perspectives, and lastly, a personal challenge to become a partof the diverse body of Christ. Whiteman traced the history of therelationship between mission and anthropology and found the early developmentof anthropology heavily reliant on ethnographic data from missionaries. Theadoption of anthropology in mission in the beginning focused mainly on the translationof scriptures into indigenous languages. Whiteman argued that anthropology inmission was not only practical and efficient, but was theologically sound asthe incarnation model demonstrated God’s seriousness about humanity andculture. Anthropology provide insights and knowledge to mission, without whichmissionaries would revert to ethnocentricity. He quoted Revelation 7:9 todepict the culture diversity of the kingdom of God.
Whiteman asserted thatIncarnation Ministry required missionaries to give up their own culturalbiasness and preferences to meet the people where they are.