I was just asked to write up some thoughts on how to use “The Five Majority Culture Postures Towards Ethnic Minority Ministry” article in coaching settings to be used on Gilbert Kingsley’s blog and resource email hosted here: http://gilbertscoachingtips.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/majority-culture-postures/
All this is there, but thought I’d post what I wrote up here for those who don’t track Gilbert’s blog/email regularly. But it’s a great resource that you should check out related to movement launching. This coaching tip just went up today at Gilbert’s blog.
Crossing cultures is hard work and it often reveals so much under the surface in life and relationships that sometimes we take for granted if we live life in communities that think and look like us. Launching and building movements across cultures requires intentional personal and ministry development because there is always so much learning that must continually take place. As white staff working in ethnic minority ministry, some of us came together to document some of our own learning and insights to assist others who are starting out in that same journey. We called this article, “Five Majority Culture Postures Towards Ethnic Minority Ministry.”
If you are an individual going through this article, our first suggestion is that you take the initiative to do it with a group. It’s in community where some of the insights and connections in this article can be best made and applied. So while it might be fine to read it yourself and journal your thoughts, try mobilizing a group or small group to go through it together!
As a coaching tool, this has individual and group possibilities for cross-cultural and ministry development. Here are some thoughts on how to best use this article to coach people and groups based on our experience with it thus far.
Before the Conversation
Before a coaching call, meeting, or group discussion, it’s important for the coach or facilitator to have gone through it first themselves so that there is some readiness to lead through some of the paradigm challenging perspectives in the article. One of the postures speaks to an approach to culture and ethnic difference in which the goal is to always have everyone together as an expression of unity. This thinking is so ingrained in many places and for many reasons, that it’s a really challenging idea to see unity and ethnicity from a different lens. This is the hardest concept in general to lead majority culture ministers through, so it’s worth taking some time to get coaching yourself first or just making sure you are prepared to handle the inevitable questions.
During the Conversation(s)
When discussing the “Five Postures” article or some of the themes within it, continue asking questions that surface peoples’ views about culture – especially even about their own! There are questions on the last page that can be used to this end, but part of the value of this is to help majority culture ministers, who often have not had much need to think about the role of culture, begin to recognize their own assumptions and that they actually have a culture themselves. The article speaks to dynamics that can impact evangelism, pioneering a new movement in a new context, partnering with ethnic movements or churches, and leadership development for both ethnic majority and ethnic minority staff. You can ask questions that fit the specific ministry situation being faced. But in general, the greatest value of this tool is facilitating honest engagement with our assumptions and heart condition related to crossing cultures and being willing to adapt and learn for the sake of others. So safety and grace are vital elements to any conversations about crossing cultures.
After the Conversation
Schedule another conversation! Make sure you keep coming back to these questions and make them normal parts of your coaching discussions. These themes and dynamics never go away to where we can stop learning and paying attention to our own heart. Make discussions about culture and power as normal as any other ministry discussion.
We wrote this because we felt there was such a great need to help people talk through these things and provide a way of seeing our own hearts and assumptions that influence what we do and why. But one of the powerful things God has shown us is that every culture has beauty and things Christ wants to redeem. In our society today, we’re praying that white ministers would begin to embrace a vision of how God could use them as redemptive figures (not Messiahs) to bring healing and reconciliation between communities, as well as see new movements raised up that proclaim Christ to a broken world. Many white staff don’t cross cultures out of fear of offending and making things worse. It’s important to help people connect with the truth that God can do great things with those who are humbly willing to follow Him and build learning relationships across ethnic lines.
The Five Postures is hosted on the Destino Yearbook or you can download the pdf of “Five Majority Culture Postures Towards Ethnic Minority Ministry”. There is a sister article Six Postures of Ethnic Minority Culture written to help ethnic minorities assess their postures towards the majority culture.