"Cross-cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility" - Duane Elmer
We would like to recommend a great book for ANYONE that wants to be intentional about reaching out to those around you. Here are some thoughts from Elmer's book:
Serving must be sensitive to the cultural landscape while remaining true to the scriptures. Your first priority is to serve God and those around you. We serve people by entering into a relationship of love and mutual commitment. We have to be willing to adjust to the local cultural patterns (or we digress into a ‘civilizing agenda’). We could more effectively minister the gospel if we didn’t think we were superior!
Whether you are working as a missionary in a completely different culture, or just working with people in a different sub-culture (i.e. a senior or middle-aged person working at a youth drop-in centre), or maybe you are upper middle class (and connecting with the poor), or maybe you are relating to a group of immigrants that have moved into your area, these principles still hold true and apply. IF you want to be a fruitful servant, reaching the world around you, this book will help you to think thru what it means to reach out to others that are different than you - in what ever way that difference expresses itself!
After reading this book I, Diane, felt convicted and challenged about my role as a missionary. Not only while living abroad but even while living in Canada. Why? Because Elmer points out some of our North American arrogance and how things might be viewed by those we are trying to reach. Do I come to others with the towel of servitude or the crown of arrogance? I know I could relate to the author as he pointed out areas where he had failed. Ernie and I know we have made mistakes and this book challenged us to look at our attitudes, check our judgement calls on the culture, and basically open ourselves to wanting to be continually learning from our host country. This applies to everyone, as the world is getting smaller, and you no longer need to travel to meet the world - it is right outside your front door. We encourage you to read the book and be challenged. Warning: You might feel convicted and uncomfortable as you read.