What is Culturally Intelligent Ministry? Is it just a clever way to say culturally sensitive ministry? Or is it more? Does it have to do with recognizing cultural issues within our church? Or does it discuss the importance of learning about cultures in your community?
Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is described as a person’s capability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity. Typically, this sort of idea would reflect an understanding of doing “missions” in the traditional sense, the concept of going into another culture to share our faith with others. While CQ is a relatively new science that is critical to traditional missions, globalization has caused the global church, including the North American church, to change drastically. The Western church is no longer the same. We no longer have only one culture represented.
With globalization, we have seen the local church become multicultural, or multiethnic. While this was initially viewed as a glimpse of heaven, with all the nations of the world coming together to worship, there seems to be the sense that all of those nations represented must chose to worship within the dominant culture. This causes the multiple ethnicities to sacrifice their own culture to submit to our western culture to worship. This clearly is not acceptable. We must all be able to worship in the cultural expressions that God created us with.
Cultural Intelligence is a tool that can aid our local churches to grow past multicultural survival, to creating a culture reflecting all cultures. This is the goal. We desire not to simply tolerate the cultures that are different than ours, but to thrive in relationship and ministry with those that God has created with a different set of cultural tools for His glory.
Culturally Intelligent ministry is not about cultural sensitivity, but cross-cultural success in ministry. In further posts, we will discuss the science of CQ, and how it fits perfectly into some of the existing functions within the local church.