What is Cross-Cultural Ministry?

Do you love the word of God? Do you like to discover new places and cultures? Do you like to discuss the bible? If you said yes to all of the above then a career in cross-cultural ministry may be perfect for you. 



What Is Cross-Cultural Ministry?

One of Great Lakes' core competencies is "Cultural Humility," which emphasizes how we teach and prepare our students for cross-cultural ministry and experiences.
We intentionally teach that as Christians, we are strangers and exiles, and thus everywhere we go is foreign to us. Cross-Cultural Ministry here at Great Lakes teaches Christians skills for interacting with both your own cultures and others' cultures in light of God's kingdom. No matter where we go, we are kingdom ambassadors. Those skills are obviously useful internationally, but they really start right at home, as we wrestle with how our cultural backgrounds have shaped us and how those backgrounds need to be submitted to Christ, so that he can transform us as he sees fit. 
Naturally, God needs people to go forth into every nation and tribe and language to spread the gospel. So, cross-cultural ministry starts in your hometown, college town, or home country and expands to include environments that are foreign to you. 

Does this sound exciting or terrifying? If it excites you, keep reading. If it terrifies you, keep reading. 

Great Lakes Christian College students have many opportunities to go abroad while in college. For example, Our Outreach Team went to Guatemala in February 2019 with Pray America

Things to Consider in Cross-Cultural Ministry 

Even though it is exciting, cross-cultural ministry can be challenging, overwhelming and sometimes even disorienting.  There are many things to consider before embarking on this adventure. However, the most important thing to do is pray and be led by Christ. This is not for the feint of heart, but it is deeply and richly rewarding. 

1. Learn the Culture

Not only do you need to learn about the culture, but you need to embrace it. Find out as much about it as you can before going there. You will be living there, so learning the language, customs, style of dress, food, and holidays will be extremely important. Living it while you are there will be expected. 

2. Respect Teachers and Leaders

As a missionary, you will need to listen to, learn from, and be respectful toward native church leaders and other Christian workers. It will not serve you or the Lord to act condescending or as if you know more then they do. Humility and the ability to learn will allow you to be the servant leader you are meant to be. 

3. Be a Team Player

Most often, when conducting cross-cultural ministry, you will not be alone in your endeavors. You may travel with a team of people to a destination and then work with native people once you are there. Everyone is working toward the common goal of bringing the word of God to as many people as possible. Each team member has been given a unique set of gifts and talents. When each person uses their talents to meet the goals of the group, miraculous things can happen! 

4. Practice Patience

Patience is a life-long practice and something you will need when traveling around the world. Patience with yourself and others. If you remember that you are on a mission from God and ask for His guidance, He will grant it. Living in a difference culture can be full of surprises.  You will make mistakes and have to untangle the mistakes of others. Keeping a sense of humor and grace will also greatly help. 

Related: 5 Must Read Books On Cross Cultural Missions

Great Lakes Christian College is dedicated to prepare students for the ministry. Students in the Christian Ministries Major are provided the basic, specialized, and practical skills necessary for the work of the ministry. For more information on our ministry degrees, please click here

Are You Ready to Spread the Word? 

If you are even more excited about being a missionary or working in cross-cultural ministry we'd love to talk with you. Great Lakes has many opportunities to prepare you for a career serving the Lord and ministering to those abroad. Call 1-800-YES-GLCC or schedule a personal visit. Better yet, apply today!

Apply Today!


This article first appeared in 2019 and has been recently updated.