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Ministering Cross-Culturally, 3rd Edition

A Model for Effective Personal Relationships

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This model for effective personal relationships in a multicultural and multiethnic world has proven successful for many. On the occasion of its thirtieth anniversary, this contemporary classic has been thoroughly updated to reflect Sherwood Lingenfelter's mature thinking on the topic and to communicate with modern readers, helping them minister more effectively to people of different cultural and social backgrounds.

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1. God's Metaphor for Ministry: Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God
2. A Model of Basic Values
3. Tensions about Time
4. Tensions regarding Judgment
5. Tensions Associated with Handling Crises
6. Tensions over Goals
7. Tensions about Self-Worth
8. Tensions regarding Vulnerability
9. Ministering Cross-Culturally
Appendix: Basic Values Questionnaire


Praise for the Previous Edition

"With vivid insight, lively narrative, and down-to-earth practicality, this book, by leading Christian anthropologists, is essential reading for anyone interested in ministering cross-culturally."

Robert Priest, associate professor of mission and intercultural studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"The model of basic values outlined in Ministering Cross-Culturally is one of the clearest and most helpful anthropological tools ever created for Christian workers. I have used this text for years in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate students for cross-cultural service, and it remains a student favorite. The model is simple and straightforward yet profoundly helpful in assisting cross-cultural sojourners to recognize value differences, assess and modify their behavior, and build trust in cross-cultural relationships."

Murray Decker, chair, department of anthropology and intercultural studies, School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University

"This book's focus, becoming incarnational ministers, is vital in the study of missions. No book more incisively and creatively invites learners to evaluate themselves as they analyze other cultures. This new edition reveals Lingenfelter's enhanced theology of culture: Cultures are not neutral but 'prisons of disobedience' that incarnational ministers must enter and submit to for the sake of the gospel."

Gailyn Van Rheenen, professor of missions, Abilene Christian University

The Authors

  1. Sherwood G. Lingenfelter

    Sherwood G. Lingenfelter

    Sherwood G. Lingenfelter (PhD, University of Pittsburgh), a senior statesman among evangelical anthropologists, is provost emeritus and senior professor of anthropology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He has written numerous books,...

    Continue reading about Sherwood G. Lingenfelter

  2. Marvin K. Mayers

    Marvin K. Mayers

    Marvin K. Mayers (1927-2015; PhD, University of Chicago) founded the Cook School of Intercultural Studies at Biola University, where he taught for many years. A faculty chair of Applied Anthropology was named in his honor at the Graduate Institute of Applied...

    Continue reading about Marvin K. Mayers


Praise for the Previous Edition

"This volume is a very helpful book that provides guiding principles for cross cultural life. . . . The second edition integrates additional theological insights that affects one's judgment related to the superiority of one culture over another and provides guidance to Christians who encounter persons of other cultures living in their communities. . . . [Lingenfelter's] missionary/anthropological reflections are pertinent and useful. . . . The book can be used as a text for an introductory course at the college and seminary level. It can also provide basic evangelical anthropological insights to lay persons, pastoral leaders, and missionaries interested in ministering to persons of other cultures, [whether] at home or abroad."

David F. D'Amico,

Review and Expositor

"This book superbly accomplishes its objective, which is to help readers gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the people around them in order to communicate the gospel and its ramifications. Ministering Cross-Culturally is a helpful resource for all who minister."

Octavio J. Esqueda,

Southwestern Journal of Theology

"Christians who minister cross-culturally or hope to do so in the future should read this book. Leading Christian anthropologists Mayers and Lingenfelter share their ideas based on years of cross-cultural missions. . . . Ministering Cross-Culturally will help many missionaries on the foreign mission fields to navigate through the tensions they face as they try to adapt to a host culture. However, this book will also be beneficial for students of missions because it will prepare them for cross-cultural relationships."

Josef Solc,

Faith and Mission

"This book is of value to every Christian living in a multi-cultural world and should be required reading for those involved in cross-cultural ministry. . . . Lingenfelter brings many examples and applications from his missionary experience that make the narrative vivid, insightful, and practical. . . . This book will help readers to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and of the people with whom they interact, which can help to ease the tensions inherent in communicating across cultures."

John P. Hartwig,

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

"These authors capture spiritual insights borne out of personal experiences in living in a foreign culture. Lingenfelter, the primary author, shares insights that can transform not only how we can become more effective in ministering to people from other cultures but understand more clearly how we must become like Jesus. . . . The authors present a powerful picture of how Christian missionaries and others who work and serve in different cultures need an understanding of the culture in which they choose to serve. . . . This book represents an excellent resource for anyone considering ministry in any culture different from the one in which a person was raised. . . . The same concept can apply within our own churches. . . . Lingenfelter and Mayers will challenge you to understand yourself as you try to understand those with whom God may place you to minister."

Richard E. Dodge,