Learning to Exegete Cultures

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What is Culture?

We’ve learned to exegete the Scriptures but we haven’t learned to exegete cultures. – Dr. Mark Young

I first heard the above quote while in a seminary class on cross cultural ministry dynamics. It is such a powerful way to describe the current imbalance that exists in ministry training in evangelicalism today. We’ve become very good at training people to study the Bible. We’ve done little to no training on helping people study the audience (culture) of the people they will be ministering among.

A report from the last COMIBAM congress (Latin Americans serving as missionaries around the world) listed cultural and missiological training as huge needs within their movement. They’ve invested 3 or 4 more times the effort into Biblical training as they have into cultural or missiological training. They see the need to increase the cross cultural training they are providing because that is what is keeping people from ministering long-term.

Over the coming weeks we hope to add more resources to DestinoYearbook.com that will help you launch and grow Destino movements. One of the biggest needs we have sensed for our students and staff is more cross cultural training. We want to help give people involved with Destino the tools they need to exegete cultures well. We want to see our staff and students giving the same kind of attention to culture learning as they do to learning the Scriptures.

One resource we are creating is a video series on Cross Cultural Training. They will be a set of videos focusing on different aspects of cross cultural ministry including “What is Culture?”, “How to Learn My Own Culture”, “Values Across Cultures”, “Multicultural Teams”, and more.

The first video is now available on DestinoYearbook.com. It is called “What is Culture?” and is a powerpoint presentation given by me, @destinoeric, during one of our recent staff meetings. In it you will hear a definition of culture, be exposed to the iceberg model of cultures, and be presented with a Biblical paradigm for cross cultural ministry: Peter walking on the water.

While the presentation and subsequent discussion may be helpful to watch in a team setting, you’ll probably get more out of the material if you spend time as a team discussing the different points and going through the Scripture passage together on your own. This video might be most helpful as a resource for the person on your team who will be leading discussions on cross cultural ministry dynamics.

Watch the video and let me know your feedback. We’ll be working in the future to make the presentations more interactive as well as geared more to the dynamics a multicultural team faces when ministering together.

What is Culture? from Destino Yearbook on Vimeo.

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Posted on September 21, 2011

About destinoeric

A white guy who believes Latinos will change the world, Destinoeric served with Destino from 2008-2013. You can read more of his posts here or on twitter.

3 Responses to Learning to Exegete Cultures

  1. Jan Beal says:

    An article that we gave to all Stint and ICS in the 90′s who were going to serve in Latin America came from the Evangelical Missions Quarterly.  Extremely helpful.  Title was:  Know your own culture: a neglected tool for cross-cultural ministry.  Reprints might still be available — EMQ Reprints, PO Box 794, Wheaton, IL 60189