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Cultural Insights for Christian Leaders

New Directions for Organizations Serving God’s Mission

series: Mission in Global Community

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This volume helps leaders and leaders-in-training become students of culture who can then contextualize what they learn for their own organizational settings. Missiologist Douglas McConnell considers how new insights from cognitive studies in anthropology and psychology impact our understanding of the role of Christian organizations. He explores culture and human nature as the context underlying all the various worlds in which leaders serve. Cultural Insights for Christian Leaders enables readers to understand intercultural dynamics so they can shape their organizational cultures and lead their organizations in a missional direction.
This latest volume in an award-winning series that emphasizes mission as partnership with Christians around the globe will appeal to professors and students of leadership, mission, and intercultural studies; pastors and leaders of Christian organizations; and mission organizations and training institutions.

About the Series
The Mission in Global Community series reframes missiological themes and studies for students under the common rubric of mission as partnership with Christians throughout the global community. Series authors draw upon their own global experiences and those of their global colleagues to illumine present realities and chart a course into the future. Series editors are Scott W. Sunquist, president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and former dean of the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Amos Yong, director of the Center for Missiological Research and professor of theology and mission at Fuller Theological Seminary.


Series Preface
1. Thinking Missiologically: Implications for Leadership and Organizations
2. Culture and Human Nature: The Complex Unity of Human Organizations
3. Caring about Members and Others as People: Notions of Self and Others
4. Learning Culture Naturally: Imitation and Rituals
5. Authority and Culture: Whom Do You Trust?
6. Intercultural Realities: Four Worlds of Christian Organizations
7. Leading in Context: Cultural Influence and Intercultural Leadership
8. Responding Missionally: Learning into Practice


"In Cultural Insights for Christian Leaders, Doug McConnell firmly locates leadership not only within the lenses of culture, but also as a critical aspect of missiology. In doing so, he helps us see the vital importance of leading missionally as it relates to God's mission of reconciling the world. McConnell delivers a masterful book, overflowing with probing insights into the intercultural nature of leadership, practical case studies, and a wealth of personal experience in doing precisely what this book espouses. Cultural Insights for Christian Leaders is a first-rate leadership book, coming from a first-rate scholar-leader."

Gregg A. Okesson, E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Administration is one skill. Knowledge of culture is another. Doug McConnell has both. Drawing on what he has learned through administering an academic institution and an agency, as well as listening closely to Christian leaders from many countries, McConnell explores significant organizational issues. How do new insights in cognitive studies shed light on the formation of worldview? What are member care challenges for those ministering to children at risk? From Islam to intercultural leadership, McConnell weaves together insights. As he observes, 'Leading a Christian organization is a sacred duty. If you accept the position, you must shoulder the responsibility, and that includes being a learner.'"

Miriam Adeney, associate professor of world Christian studies, Seattle Pacific University; author of Kingdom without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity

"I sat down to review this book only to find a few hours had slipped by when I next looked at the clock. This book is taken from the pages of academia, experience, and the Scriptures. It is a rare combination of organizational theory and spiritual leadership, something that today's complex mission environment demands. I believe it will become standard reading for newly appointed mission leaders."

Ted Esler, president, Missio Nexus

"Missiology has long been concerned with the dynamic influence of culture on gospel witness; however, applying that insight to leadership practice is long overdue. McConnell bravely engages the complexity of human beings on mission with God, working in organizational cultures embedded, both locally and globally, in social and cultural realities. Cultural Insights for Christian Leaders is a text that is sure to aid leaders, organizations, and mission in substantive ways."

Susan Hayes Greener, associate professor of intercultural studies, Wheaton College Graduate School

"Cultural intelligence is fast becoming one of the most valued skills for leaders. Doug McConnell masterfully displays how this is helpful in organizations, but especially how essential it is to Christianity. The integration of these elements makes this volume so unique from other leadership books. The case studies are fantastic and the missiology is solid, making it feel like Harvard Business School meets the apostle Paul, with the best of both worlds. Every successful organization has a mission statement, and McConnell brilliantly unpacks both the goal and process of creating that mission statement in light of biblical principles."

Allen Yeh, associate professor of intercultural studies and missiology, Biola University

The Author

  1. Douglas McConnell
    Don Milici

    Douglas McConnell

    Douglas McConnell (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of leadership and intercultural studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He previously served as dean of the School of Intercultural Studies and as provost at Fuller....

    Continue reading about Douglas McConnell


Christianity Today 2019 Book Award Winner

"This volume is rich in theology, broad in its missional perspective, and practical in its recommendations. Clearly written as a text for cross-cultural workers with an interest in cognitive anthropology and incarnational mission, it is nonetheless littered with real-life examples and case studies. It should find a place on the reading lists for missiology classes around the world."

Michael Frost,

Christianity Today