Cross-Cultural Servanthood – Duane Elmer

The main focus of this book was to determine how a Christian would be able to minister cross-culturally in the most effective and biblical way possible.  The author brought his own personal experience, the biblical teaching, the personal experience of others, and also the analysis of other experts.  The book really walked through a process of how a Christian would attempt to ensure that he would communicate in a Christ-like way, instead of just a Western version of Christ-likeness. 

            The strengths of the book are numerous.  The author provides many personal experiences where he did not communicate or serve in the most effective way.  This made the book very personal and helped to re-enforce the statements that the author made about how the steps to effective cross-cultural communicate were attainable over time (a process that would take time and effort).  He also provided great examples of effective cross-cultural communication.  There was a wealth of Scriptural evidence given to affirm what the author was teaching about servanthood.  The section on leadership at the end of the book was really refreshing.  I believe that a strength of this book is its relevance to every form of Christian ministry in this world!  I think this would be a great book for every Christian to read that is involved in any form of ministry.

            If there were any weakness at all I would say that it would be in the area that discussed leadership.  I do agree with the majority of what the author wrote, very biblical.  Any time a person exerts leadership in an overbearing or ungodly way it is wrong/sin.  I do believe that it is important not to go too far in the other direction and not be willing to be a person of conviction.  I am cautious of a totally non-committal form of leadership.  The tribal-chief example sounds nice, but I am not ready to jump to that position yet.  It sounds too similar to seeking out the most popular opinion and then going with it.  I am very cautious of the majority wins way of doing church.  Every true believer is a priest, is able to hear from God, and God is able to speak through them.  I do believe this needs to be approached with caution, not every person that claims to speak for God is really doing so (leader or churchman).  I do in my heart believe that if every person is in close relation with God and seeking His will that we should come to the right/best answer, but that is at times a very mysterious thing.  It is difficult to tell who is hearing the right message, if God is speaking at all through any of the sides.

            There were so many great ideas that I will take away from this book.  The whole process of becoming a cross-cultural servant will be something that I will ask God to help me implement in my service for Him.  The principles that the author presented are useful and necessary in any ministry, in any part of the world.  God has used the author to truly give us a gift for more effective ministry.  This is the best book that I have read this year.     


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