Cross-cultural studies

"We are the ones we've been waiting for" : a case study of the interfaith coalition building blocks for Wilmington

Douglas Dwight Gerdts
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the process of formation, employing the method of a single case study, of a non-profit interfaith organization in Wilmington, Delaware designed to reduce city violence and attempt to ameliorate its causes. It started with one citizen's outrage at increasing shootings and the perceived lack of city and state government cooperation and positive action. After three years that initiative has resulted in an organization that is beginning, for the first time, to unify the city's diverse faith communities and hopefully leverage their moral force to reduce crime and its contributing factors. Moreover, this action did spark the city government of Wilmington to form the Hope Commission, an officially sanctioned and funded board with similar objectives but broader representation.

This work documents the steps in formation (sometimes painful and chaotic), seeks the key factors that moved the process along, evaluates ICBBW's effectiveness, and hopefully provides some lessons for similar initiatives which might include such things as: (1) One main factor that kept the project alive in the face of divisions and frustrations was that the desired goal was never in question. (2) A key group member and founder was a bridge between the "street" and the organizing group. He is known and respected by both. (3) The services of an organizational expert were enlisted at a crucial developmental moment. (4) The need to assemble the story and get it understood and credible with outside groups, i.e. funding organizations, proved to be a galvanizing factor forcing both clarity, simplicity, and urgency. (5) This organization has established a good foundation for positive impact, and has started to make real accomplishments including being the first to begin unifying diverse faith communities in Wilmington. ...

Non-Ethnic Incorporation and Cross-cultural Ministry of Migrant Churches: The case of The Ethiopian Churches in Los Angeles

Fitsum Kebede Tsige D.Min.
Migration has increasingly shifting the social demography of global and gateway cities into a complex and diversified places. Simultaneously, there is a great call for a new model of church ministry and urban missions. It is an absolute obscurity to think migrants are living in a vacuum, isolated and without having any attachment in the places of their settlements. Some research projects that focused on migrant communities in the past took ethnic group as a unit of analysis; some migrant church leaders also ignore the fact that the basic principle of Christianity prioritizes our identity in Christ over any ethnic distinctiveness. Contrary to the previous approaches this study inquired the non-ethnic interaction of a migrant community.

As much as there are numerous causes that drive people away from their homelands, a number of drawing reasons to settle to their new places. Similarly, alterity and prejudice on one side and the ‘search for national identity’ on the other are ‘push-pull factors’ in shifting Christian migrants from the mainstream churches to the establishment migrant churches. The question which is often asked, ‘‘why so many African Christians broke their ties with traditional missionary societies and joined the newly emerging churches?’’ remained to be a subject for discussion. Migration should not be seen as a negative social scenario but it is an opportunity to enrich diversity both in a social and in the body of Christ. It is also a prospect for urban missions which migrants’ churches are increasingly taking the lions share...

Dialogues to foster interreligious understanding

Dorothy Yoder Nyce
This project provides a dozen dialogues created to assist North American Christian readers to better understand effective exchange between people of diverse living faiths. While proximity of religions provides natural occasions for and urgency of open dialogue, partners anywhere benefit from increased respect and understanding achieved through knowledge, convictions, and attitudes expressed. Since religion and culture directly overlap, interreligious conversation is a cross-cultural exposure of faith issues.

The geographical focus of the dialogues centers in India, with aspects of the dominant Hindu religion intersecting with the small, minority Christian presence. While attention to the Mennonite denomination reflects the writer's Protestant connection, principles apply to any Christian engagement with other religions. Assumptions that undergird discussion include: religious plurality is a given; active interreligious exchange is inherent to being religious; Christian commitment is to God through Jesus Christ; to love the neighbor is a privilege.

An Evaluation of a Hermeneutics Course to Help Asian Seminarians Identify the Theological Thrust of a Biblical Narrative Passage for Expository Preaching

Patrick Chi Leung Wong D.Min.
Hermeneutics of biblical narratives for preaching has its unique challenge for preachers and seminary students. Biblical narratives are stories often without explicit statements of teaching. A review of literature shows that there are deficiencies in various traditional approaches in identifying the author-intended thrust of a biblical narrative such as looking for good or bad models, arbitrarily creating principles for applications, and presuming linkage to redemptive-history. On the other hand, a literary approach and the notion of authorial doing with saying in linguistics are promising to help the interpreters identify the author-intended pericopal theology for preaching.

It was hypothesized that by incorporating elements from the literary approach and notion of authorial doing in a hermeneutics course, the Asian seminary students might better identify the pericopal theology of a biblical narrative for preaching. The effectiveness of this approach was assessed in this research which was about program development and evaluation. Specifically, major changes were made to an existing basic hermeneutics course so that the students were introduced to key concepts and elements in the literary approach and notion of authorial doing with saying.

An instrument was developed to collect both quantitative and qualitative data to assess the effectiveness of the final modified course. The instrument includes a pre-test and a post-test to generate quantitative data, and an open-ended question to gather qualitative data. The instrument was administered to a group of participating Asian seminarians. The data collected was analyzed to validate the hypotheses of the research project. The data verified all three hypotheses and affirmed that attending this course is associated with higher ability and confidence of the students in identifying the theological thrust of a biblical narrative for preaching. The dissertation suggests that such training approach may prove beneficial to seminary students in preaching in other contexts.

Cross-racial and cross-cultural ministry in the Latino context : learning to listen to our stories : intercultural competency 101 for Latino communities

Arroyo Giovanni
"This project argues that Latino ministries in the United States are built on a cross-racial and cross-cultural DNA because of the cultural complexities and ethnic realities present in the Latino population. The author suggests a Wesleyan ecclesiology (orthodoxy, orthopraxis, and orthopathy) and an intercultural competence framework for the design of an introductory curriculum for pastors and lay leaders. The data obtain through survey, face-to-face consultation and pilot testing has resulted in the creation of a intercultural competency 101 curriculum that provides specific skills in a cross-racial and cross-cultural ministry in the Latino context. The author affirms the curriculum provides a way of preparing leaders to flourish in the multicultural, multinational, and multiethnic reality of Latino ministries." -- Leaf [2].


Michael Urton D.Min.
This project examined how local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area are engaging local Muslim communities. It asked a main research question along with two additional questions to frame the study. The main research question was how are specific local evangelical churches in the Chicago Metro area engaging local Muslim communities? The two additional questions were used to answer the main research question in a more precise manner. The first one was what are some of the challenges that these local churches encountered when engaging Muslims? The second was what lessons can be learned from the experiences of these congregations when mobilizing churches to engage Muslims?

This study began by stating the problem of attitudes towards Muslims in the West with special focus on evangelical Christians in the United States. It then discussed the important role that evangelical churches in the United States have in engaging the Muslim community.

A theological/biblical basis along with a philosophical foundation from a review of precedent literature supported this project. This foundation can assist evangelical Christians in knowing the lengths they can go in their engagement with Muslims, as well as realizing the distinctives that they must maintain.

Data collections were conducted for this study to explore the research questions. These included twenty-one semi-structured qualitative interviews with people at seven different churches, participant observations of events that these churches did with Muslims, and a collection of documentary evidence. The data from this study was organized into findings and suggestions were made for how they can be implemented by churches in their interactions with Muslim communities.


Teresa Gianakakos D.Min.
This Doctor of Ministry project explored potential issues related to the transmission of faith to the second generation in a small suburban Cantonese Chinese church. It was initiated when the first generation at the church began to age, and the second generation who grew up in the church became disconnected and some even left the faith entirely.

Three qualitative research methodologies were employed to investigate the possible factors of second-generation exodus. Ethnographic observation, in-depth interview, and survey questionnaire were implemented. The first two methodologies extended to both the first and second generations at the church to explore their faith status, past experiences and perception of influences by Chinese and Western culture. The third methodology surveyed Chinese churches outside of this church to compare and contrast resulting data.

The methodologies were effective in eliciting data useful in recommending some possible considerations of ministries at the church. To produce these recommendations was also a goal of this project. The key conclusion was the first generation must be firmly established as a disciple of Jesus Christ, and live a transformed, holy life. Such transformation will not only touch the second generation, but also impact the surrounding community.

An Analysis of the Cultural and Leadership Differences Among Leaders in the Chinese Immigrant Church in America

Ke-Chiang (Albert) Li D.Min.
The author Ke-Chiang (Albert) Li saw that in the 21st century, globalization is impacting all industries and almost all aspects of our lives. Chinese immigrant churches in America, like most organizations, are facing many challenges. One of the biggest challenges is how to deal with cultural differences inside the church. The differences are not only between ABC (American Born Chinese) and OBC (Overseas Born Chinese), but also among OBC who come from different parts of China and all over the world. Chinese immigrant churches losing young people and failing to reach ABC have been known problems for more than the past twenty-five years. Most books and papers use old Chinese culture to describe OBC culture and American culture to describe ABC culture to analyze the problems and try to help people to know themselves and to know each other. This approach has helped some of the churches, but it has also caused some confusion and issues when people use this to stereotype the OBC and ABC leaders in the church.

This project used a survey to investigate the cultural and leadership differences among leaders in the Chinese immigrant church in America. The result clearly shows that it is a mistake and will cause confusion when we stereotype ABC is American culture and OBC is Chinese culture. It is mixed up. Each individual have their own even in their same age group.

The author sincerely hopes that through Biblical truth and information from social science, the suggestions in this project report can contribute to finding successful ways to lead across cultures in the Chinese immigrant church in America and help develop Christian leaders capable of leading across cultures in the church and in the world.

"Hearing Habakkuk: Lessons on Accurately Applying the Text From the Turkana, Kenya Context"

Graham Robert Blaikie D.Min.
One of Jesus’ favorite sayings, “He who has ears, let him hear,” highlights the divine expectation that the message heard must be heeded—it has to be applied.

“Application” refers to the requirements of the biblical text, and our obedient response to those requirements. Accurate application, therefore, involves “hearing”/heeding what the text requires of us today—but only after we have heard what it required of the original recipients.

This project seeks to explore what constitutes accurate application from within the context of the book of Habakkuk, which a group of Turkana pastors were focusing on in their Bible Pathways training program held at Share International’s SEND Center in Lodwar, Kenya, in July 2017. Habakkuk was the eighth of nine Pathways preaching modules taught to the Turkana pastors over a three-year period by a team of six U.S.-based pastors, including the project writer.

While excellent in many ways, the Pathways curriculum is weak in application. And so, the book of Habakkuk and Turkana provided an excellent context in which to formulate and then test four principles of application.

The project includes a focus on the original applicational intent of the author—a topic that has received minimal treatment in the literature on application. It also explores the significance of what we have termed the “applicational trajectory” of the text (best seen in the distinct applications of Habakkuk 2:4 in its three appearances in the New Testament). It examines the current debate on deriving principles from the text. And it looks at how these principles might be contextualized to Turkana.

The project fieldwork includes observations as and discussions after the Turkana pastors preached, a quiz, presentation of a two-day a seminar titled “Principles of Application from Habakkuk,” a follow-up focus group, and personal interviews.

A Critical Analysis of the Transmission of the Gospel to Spaniards by the Evangelical Church in Madrid

Wilson Fernando Dantas Soaris D.Min.
Although the numbers show people responding positively to the Gospel in Spain, the Autochthonous People of Spain [APS] and congregations composed of Spaniards are not following the same pattern. The reason for considerable growth in the nation without necessarily reaching the APS is due to the number of immigrants living in Spain, especially from Latin America.
This dissertation investigates the EC in the Autonomous Community of Madrid [ACM] from its beginnings and its methods used to transmit the Gospel to unbelievers, especially among the APS. The analysis seeks to determine why the majority of the ECs in Madrid do not have many APS congregants.
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