Churches, Cultures & Leadership


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 and expressions of faith. These are good examples of the types of complexities that accompany adaptive challenges. → On p 104, Martinez notes that there are emotional dimensions of a culture’s worldview, which is one factor concerning how a church thinks about the worship experience. On p 222, Branson writes that “an adaptive challenge is one that will require the church to move forward in a direction it can not see, become something different, learn things it does not know and innovate beyond the current imagination.” Every time a church moves from a homogeneous population to a heterogeneous population, they face serious adaptive changes. On pp 227-230, Branson gives practical tips for leaders facilitating this work. All four of the Carson videos work together to demonstrate many of the specific adaptive challenges Carson’s church faced. Watch the other videos and discuss the adaptive challenges you see present. (This is the fourth video from the interview with Pastor Carson, New Life in Christ Church, Los Angeles.)

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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.


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