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Intercultural Discipleship

Learning from Global Approaches to Spiritual Formation

series: Encountering Mission

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This addition to an acclaimed series brings cutting-edge research to bear on a topic of perennial interest: making disciples. While much has been written about disciple-making methods and materials in Western contexts, very little has been written to incorporate disciple-making methods from other cultures. This book by an expert in oral learning looks at disciple-making from multiple cultures to help readers discover contextual approaches that are culturally relevant and biblically faithful. It emphasizes methods that are especially effective with contemporary converts and includes practical examples from around the world. Each chapter includes sidebars, discussion questions, an activity for discipling, and a case study. An appendix contains further suggestions and exercises for instructors.

1. How Did We Get in This Spiritual Rut?
2. Issues That Get Us Stuck
3. What Is Intercultural Discipleship?
4. Symbols Speak When Words Can't
5. Rituals Drive Meaning Deep into the Bone
6. Contextualization Process--Tailored Pants Fit Just Right
7. Stories Portray It, Not Just Say It
8. Proverbs Are Worth a Thousand Words
9. Music, Dance, and Drama--We Become What We Hum
10. Holistic Discipleship Connects Word and Deed
11. Discipleship for Postmoderns
Appendix A: Ceremony for the Installation of a Teacher
Appendix B: Activities for Teaching
Reference List


"Jay Moon's book Intercultural Discipleship offers a treasure trove of perceptive insights and practical suggestions for effective discipling across cultures. Jay writes for the practitioner, but does so in a way that is anchored in a solid theoretical framework. The book is deep, enlightening, and even playful as it engages various mediums such as symbol, proverbs, drama, and dance. The reader will be entranced. Rather than offering quick fixes or simplistic solutions, Jay welcomes the reader into a communal process for the purpose of contextualizing discipleship. No cross-cultural worker should be without this book!"

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

"The cry for better discipleship methods is heard around the globe, but most methods take a fill-in-the-blank approach, focused on acquiring more information, not the deep penetrating formation of disciples of Jesus that promotes personal and community transformation. Now Jay Moon in Intercultural Discipleship has charted a comprehensive and creative way forward like no other book in the field. Missiologically informed, cross-culturally relevant, and biblically faithful, this book draws on genres such as proverbs, drama, music, dance, rituals and ceremonies, and oral arts, together with riveting case studies to open the right side of our brains for disciple-makers around the world. I believe Intercultural Discipleship will soon become a classic text in the discipleship literature."

Darrell Whiteman, publisher, American Society of Missiology

"Passionate, penetrating, participatory, and persuasive. Intercultural discipleship at its best."

Tom Steffen, emeritus professor, Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University

"This is a rare treasure of a book. Effective disciple-making is full of artistry, discipline, and relational time; Jay Moon has spooled together a rich global landscape of why discipleship works, and includes the practices of symbols, rituals, proverbs, stories, music, and drama. A timeless book for this young century. With joy, I highly recommend your attention to Intercultural Discipleship."

Samuel E. Chiang, president and CEO, Seed Company

"Drawing on his extensive experience living cross-culturally, Jay Moon has produced a very readable and resourceful guide to making disciples. Enhanced by a global perspective, Intercultural Discipleship not only provides a valuable primer on understanding the relationship between faith and culture but also offers practical ways to utilize this knowledge for the sake of growing faithful and discerning disciples. Moon makes creative use of provocative stories, lively illustrations, and case studies gleaned from years spent on the mission field, in the classroom, and among those of diverse cultures, learning preferences, and contexts. This is a delightful and welcome addition to the Encountering Mission series that will give students of contextual mission foundational information and hands-on activities for wise discipleship in any culture."

Bonnie Sue Lewis, professor of mission and world Christianity, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

"What could discipleship look, feel, smell, and sound like in this era of global cultural complexity? Immensely helpful in its integration of theory and practical know-how, Intercultural Discipleship is a resourceful pathway for deep learning and transformative growth for all teachers and students of culture, change agents, and hermeneutical communities interested in creative discipleship approaches that foster radical inclusion and participation in mission."

Uday Mark Balasundaram, founder, Estuary Cultures and Order of Bezalel

"Where was this book when I needed it as an upstart cross-cultural novice forty-five years ago? Jay Moon truly brings it all together in this remarkable volume chock-full of keen insights, case studies, and practical applications from fields as far ranging as cultural anthropology, mission research, orality, symbolism and ritual studies, and ethnodoxology. This book is where you should start if you are a mission thinker or practitioner wanting to deepen your understanding of and effectiveness in intercultural Christian discipling. I could have and would have made good use of it a long time ago!"

James R. Krabill, senior mission advocate, Mennonite Mission Network; general editor of Worship and Mission for the Global Church: An Ethnodoxology Handbook

"If this book gets the reading it deserves, we are at the dawning of a great new day for making disciples, and not just overseas. Skillfully drawing on several works that were ahead of their time (e.g., Symbol and Ceremony by A. H. Mathias Zahniser), Moon tells fascinating, instructive stories of those who practice what they preach. I had to keep putting the book down to add ideas to my to-do list."

Stan Nussbaum, developer of SYNC Discipleship Program

The Author

  1. W. Jay Moon
    © Chad Phillips

    W. Jay Moon

    W. Jay Moon (PhD, Asbury Theological Seminary) is professor of church planting and evangelism and codirector of the Office of Faith, Work, and Economics at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He previously taught at Sioux Falls Seminary and also...

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