Posted by: Craig | 26 October, 2010

God’s grace in cross cultural ministry

“All the normal things from which we gain a sense of worth, success, achievement, competence are stripped away when you move to another culture.

You will be unable to communicate because of your lack of language ability
You will be unable to relate because of your lack of cultural understanding.
You will be unable to do ministry or contribute to church life.
You will not achieve much because your work life is on hold for language learning.
You will feel incompetent to manage ordinary life. (Where do you buy glue? What do you say at a road block? How do you get your washing machine mended?)
Your self-justification framework is taken away. Your behaviour will be weird and your productivity will be low.”

“Look at Luke 10:17-20. We are not to rejoice in success or in ministry. Nor need we be downcast by the lack of success and our inabilities in ministry. We rejoice that our names are written in heaven.

Look at Luke 10:21-24. We rejoice in God’s grace. We rejoice that we are God’s children.

Look at Luke 10:25-37. Why does Jesus tell this story? See verse 29. The lawyer wanted to justify himself. He wanted a checklist that he could tick off so he knew he had proved himself. But we cannot justify ourselves for the task is without limit.

Look at Luke 10:38-42. Martha wants to justify herself through her service. But the necessary thing is to sit at the feet of Jesus and to listen to his teaching – to hear his word of grace.

Expect less productivity. Expect cultural mistakes. Expect your sinful heart to be exposed. But when this happens find refuge in God.”

These two quote are taken from a recent article on Tim Chester’s blog which I found very helpful, the full article can be found here.

I have put it up because I am sure it will be helpful for others in the mission field or heading to it, but also because a year in I see that I experienced a lot of these things in coming here, and it gives people an insight into some of the struggles and experiences we have in other cultures.



  1. Craig, I love the picture, but I think you are refuging in your sleeping bag.

  2. Amen!..thanks for sharing! what is beautiful about our service for Christ is that we simply act out of obedience to Him; He is always responsible for the results (luke 17:10, Isaiah 55:11)…i think that there is freedom in taking delight in waiting on Him and worshipping Him as you pointed out, and therein is always your fruit – john 15:5…

    praying for you as you reenter life in another country, and minister in Jesus’ name…praying that God, who is able, will “make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…:)p

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