Churches, Cultures & Leadership

Continuing the Conversation

Ethnic diversity is evident in the media, at shopping malls and in many schools. Such diversity is less evident in our churches, but it is growing. We wish to promote more attentiveness, wisdom and faithfulness concerning intercultural life in and among churches, and between churches and their neighbors.

- Mark Lau Branson &
Juan F. Martínez

Churches, Cultures & Leadership Book

An Extension of the Book

Welcome to this extension of our book Churches, Cultures & Leadership. For a short orientation, watch this video. If you are a professor, see our brief post concerning how to connect the web site with the book. Please subscribe, comment, like, contribute, and link. You can purchase the book at your favorite local bookstore or at Amazon.

Branson & Martínez to speak at Fresno Pacific University

On Feb 9 & 10, Branson and Martinez will provide the Janzen Lectures at FPU. Lectures include “When God Messes with Assumptions: Power, Generations & Ethnicities” and “God, Gospel and the Central Valley.” More information is on the school website.

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Fong Video: Members Initiate & Leaders Create Space

When Japanese American members took the initiative to share their stories about relocation camps, Pastor Fong remembered how his own previous learning had shaped his cross-cultural empathy. His story created space in the congregation for a deeper appreciation for cultural … Read the Post

Posted in: Books, Part I: Theology and Context, Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change, Videos
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Fong Video: Cultural Differences – Stewardship

Pastor Fong tells a story in which a decision about cleaning the church’s carpets surfaced different cultural values. Even seemingly unimportant decisions are arrived at on the basis of deeply held beliefs. Fong shows how their conversation about theology and … Read the Post

Posted in: Part I: Theology and Context, Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change, Videos
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Carson Video: Willing to Change – Passion & Patience

Pastor Elwood Carson portrays the complexities associated with becoming a multi-ethnic congregation. He talks about having to adapt his African American preaching style as Latino neighbors join the congregation. Also, the congregation embodies differences between people and their various stages … Read the Post

Posted in: Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change, Videos
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Fong Video: Latino Neighbor Becomes Key Staff Person

As the church became willing to engage with the neighborhood and crosscultural experiments, Fong explains that Steve, a Latino neighbor, visited and left then returned and left…. Today, Steve is a crucial part of the church and its mission. Fong … Read the Post

Posted in: Part I: Theology and Context, Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change, Videos
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Carson Video: Friendships

Pastor Carson’s church is currently doing the work of building intercultural friendships, even with the challenges of a bi-lingual context. To do this, he stresses the importance of hospitality, time spent together, and the practice of sharing meals.  → On … Read the Post

Posted in: Part I: Theology and Context, Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change, Videos
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Fong Video: Transition Beyond Asian American

After participating in the vision of an Asian American church for an extended period of time, Ken Fong sensed the Spirit calling him in a new direction. The senior pastor noted that they voiced two different directions – so they … Read the Post

Posted in: Introduction, Part I: Theology and Context, Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change, Videos
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Carson Video: Prophecies, the Economy, and from Commuter to Local

Pastor Carson’s story shows how transformation is not a straight line. Turbulent economic times forced many commuters at Carson’s congregation to stop coming to church in an effort to save money on gas. This difficult loss led the church to … Read the Post

Posted in: Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change, Videos
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Carson Video: Learning Spanish and Connecting with Neighbors

Pastor Elwood Carson, of New Life in Christ Church (Los Angeles), shares about how evolving neighborhood demographics prompted him to learn Spanish. Over time, as church members engaged their neighbors, a series of events and experiences led this predominantly African … Read the Post

Posted in: Part I: Theology and Context, Part II: Sociocultural Perspectives, Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change, Videos
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Fong video: First Steps to Being an Asian American Church

Pastor Ken Fong discusses how Evergreen Baptist Church moved from being a Japanese American church to an Asian American church. He tells of how the Japanese Americans displayed an attitude of openness toward the Chinese American newcomers, but real intercultural … Read the Post

Posted in: Part II: Sociocultural Perspectives, Videos
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Site Overview

Introduction

By engaging ethnic histories and hearing personal autobiographies we are participating in God's creative work of shaping and reshaping church life and mission.

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Part I: Theology and Context

Using the frameworks of practical theology and missional ecclesiology, we provide an introduction to the work of leadership and to social theory, including matters of social contexts, cultural variables, and ethnic identity.

Part II: Sociocultural Perspectives

Cultural anthropology provides insights into social power and human dynamics that vary among cultures. Topics include worldviews, relationships, identity, language, and perception and thinking.

Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change

We need to develop the skills and capacities for communication and leadership in intercultural settings in order to engage the challenges of church life and mission in multicultural contexts.

Resources

We are assembling resources for pastors, professors, and students -- websites, cinema, documentaries, group exercises, books, and Bible studies.