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Cultural Intelligence

Cultural Intelligence

Jay Hostetler, January 11, 2016

Over a decade ago, I made a transition from the West Coast to serve in a church in the Midwest. The cultural differences were dramatic but not overwhelming.

There were many things about the “Midwest” culture that I enjoyed. The congregants loved their church and the pastors. The culture had significant family bonds. In that my new culture had a strong Dutch influence, stewarding the church’s resources was a high value. I really enjoyed this particular emphasis as I like to get a good deal. Building relationships in this culture took focused effort; but my relational drive led to the benefit of great committed ministry partners.

In my coaching practice, I often find myself focusing my clients on the elements of team strategy and innovative practices. I do ponder occasionally if I need to spend as much time on the cultural context of the church body.

I know a multitude of material is available on how to build the best workplace cultures. I am questioning if as church ministry leaders we could elevate our understanding of the congregant culture. It’s important to recognize and respect it. Knowing our attendees cultural learning should help with the following:

  • Leading them in spiritual formation
  • Knowing how to recruit them
  • Knowing how to empower them
  • Helping to create a culture of innovation

If you haven’t already, take some time to get to know your church family’s culture. It may be different than where you grew up or previously served. This expressed interest in understanding as you connect with attendees, hear their stories, and appreciate their values will give you knowledge to help you lead more effectively.

 

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