You may not immediately think of your Crossroads ministry as “cross-cultural.” But the reality is that kids in your club and their families most certainly come from a variety of backgrounds, traditions, religions, races and ethnicities. In our diverse modern culture, virtually all ministry is “cross-cultural” and effective connections and relationship building will depend up your cross-cultural understanding and communication skills. In our last online leader workshop, we discussed how to approach cross-cultural ministry and develop a deeper cultural competency. Here are a few takeaways from the workshop:
Seek understanding. Look, listen and learn.
Start with observing and asking questions. One simple thing to do is ask your students more about their own family traditions or values. For example, the question “What are your family values?” can spark a revealing conversation and highlight differences between our upbringings.
Develop a deeper awareness of your own culture. You have one!
Even if you come from a majority culture, you have a culture! Try to understand and recognize your own culture and how your own culture may be helping you and hindering you in your own cross-cultural awareness. You will be your own biggest barrier in developing cultural competency!
Be willing to be uncomfortable.
It takes intentionality to move from tolerance of another’s culture towards appreciation. An application step can be simply going to a place where you might be the minority – getting outside your comfort zone! For example, try attending a church service of a different denomination, or where you will be a racial minority. Look, listen and observe. You can learn a lot about the culture of the people you are serving simply by immersing yourself in it with a humble learner’s attitude.
Lastly, recognize that culture is like an iceberg. 10% you can see (dress, language, food, art, etc.) and 90% you can’t see (life experience, worldview, values, etc.). This means that we have to be really intentional to understand and effectively reach the people we are serving.
If you missed this workshop, but want to connect with other leaders and learn together, join us next time! Check out events page for details: crossroadskidsclub.com/events.