Intercultural Ministry: Hope for a Changing World
Christian churches have faced enormous challenges regarding how to embrace intercultural ministry while dealing with conflicting issues caused by the increasing diversity of races, ethnicities, nationalities, cultures, traditions, and genders in North America. In Intercultural Ministry, the editors and contributors offer hope for a changing world, inviting pastors, theologians, and teachers to reflect on their experiences of intercultural churches and intercultural ministry. They pursue a form of diversity that allows “the interaction of people across races, ethnicities, and nationalities to learn to value and celebrate each group’s traditions” (v). With fifteen contributors’ voices from diverse ethnic groups, this book is composed of three parts: the doctrinal and theological foundations of intercultural churches and ministries; congregational and real-life strategies for building intercultural churches and ministries; and vision casting for intercultural churches and ministries. The goal of this book is to create intercultural ministry that seeks to build “just, mutual, respecting, equal, accepting, and diverse communities” (xii).
Both editors attempt to articulate the importance of intercultural ministry through their own experiences of discrimination in their different cultural contexts. Grace Ji-Sun Kim, as an ordained pastor and scholar who has a background in the Korean Presbyterian church in Canada, has encountered marginalization due to her ethnicity and gender in ecumenical circles as well as in society at large. Thus her difficulties growing up on the margins of both society and the church eventually led her to realize the importance of inclusivity (xi). For this, Kim recommends that American churches pursue more interracial and intercultural ministry because the church is bigger than any one ethnic group (xiii). Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s dedication to her intercultural ministries comes from her own experiences of sexism that she encountered as an ordained Baptist minister, even though she felt privileged as a white, straight, and middle-class woman. According to Kim and Aldredge-Clanton, intercultural ministry requires the willingness of leaders and congregants to leave the comfort zones of their own separate traditions.
About the Reviewer(s):
JungJa Joy Yu is a doctoral candidate in women’s studies in religion at Claremont Graduate University.