Understanding Culture…


“Culture is simply the things people do and the reasons they do them.” (Stephen Neill)

Most books on cross cultural mission put a big emphasis on knowing the host culture. The goal being cultural intelligence.

This is pivitol to the effectiveness of cross cultural ministers, but is it also pivitol for the effectiveness of one within his or her context as well?

The Bible is clear, all Christians are called to be ministers (1 Peter 2:9) and share the truth of Jesus with those around them. Therefore cultural intelligence is not just for cross cultural ministers but all Christians.

But how much do we know of our own Australian culture?

Knowing something of the following areas will grow your cultural intelligence:

  • Geography: basic geography, climate, etc
  • Culture and language: dress, customs, manners, age, holidays and celebrations, art, music, dialects
  • General statistics and information: population size and density, people groups, major industry, standard of living, average income
  • History: the country or people’s story
  • Sport
  • Food
  • Religion: religious beliefs, attitude towards Christianity
  • Church history: When did Christianity come to Australia? How large/small is the church? What are the major traditions? What kind of impact does Christianity have on society?
  • Pop culture: what is in, what isn’t. Who are the popular singers? Who are the celebrities? What kind of movies are popular?
  • Basic Language and phrases
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One comment on “Understanding Culture…
  1. James Ritchie says:

    Thanks Mark for the great article. A good reminder for me to be thinking as a missionary in my own culture.

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