Churches, Cultures and Leadership
As the church continues to hear and heed Christ's call to reflect the multiethnic character of his people, pastors and lay leaders need to gain skills and competencies to serve in those contexts. The multicultural team of Juan Martinez and Mark Branson has written this book to equip such leaders to create environments that make God?s reconciling initiatives apparent in church life and in our missional engagement with neighborhoods and cities.
Generated by courses they teach at Fuller Theological Seminary, Branson and Martinez take an interdisciplinary approach that integrates biblical and theological study with the disciplines of sociology, cultural anthropology and communications. The result is a rich blend of astute analysis with guidance for practical implementation of a deeper intercultural life for the church.
Case studies, Bible studies and exercises for personal reflection and classroom use connect the real life and everyday challenges that inevitably arise in multi-ethnic contexts. Martinez and Branson offer not static model but a praxis of "paying attention," reflection and study that can lead to a genuine reconciliation and shared life empowered by the gospel that is personal, interpersonal, cultural and structural.
"This book provoked my mind theologically, historically, practically and spiritually. Branson and Martínez do a masterful job in communicating the complexities that conjoin church, cultures and leadership."
"A book on the intercultural formation of congregations that integrates theology and cultural anthropology. This book is not a 'how to' but a humble and profoundly informative presentation that facilitates coming to the transparency needed for moving toward intercultural relations and ministry. Culture, language, worldview, theology and the unconscious assumptions that shape these are defined and examined so that we can understand our habits of ethnicity, class and social status. Awareness exercises are provided for facilitating conversations and the doing of theology. Leadership issues are then discussed in light of all of these aspects. The vignettes provided keep it real, and resources are provided with every chapter for further reading and viewing (movies). Finally, a book that's 'real' about these complex matters. Read it, share it and you will be ushered into lasting change."
"Given the phenomenal demographic changes in our nation (e.g., cultural diversity of our communities and congregations), Churches, Cultures and Leadership is a very important and rich resource for engaging the multicultural challenges facing the church. Via an interdisciplinary approach (i.e., Scripture, practical theology, social anthropology, cultural studies, philosophical hermeneutics, leadership theory and communication) Branson and Martínez have gifted the church with an unique--the only one of its kind--work for practical and faithful intercultural life and for helping the church reflect the diversity of America."
"Part biblical study, part handbook on ministry, for use in the classroom or in small groups, Churches, Cultures and Leadership is a foundational text that meets the need for a broad, interdisciplinary and substantive perspective on intercultural ministry. From years of experience, Mark Lau Branson and Juan Martínez offer unique insights and a range of practical resources. May it help us toward a church in the power of the Spirit!"
"Branson and Martínez discuss the issues of culture and ethnicity in the life of the church, and of leadership within the context of these issues, in a more thorough and yet more accessible and practical way than any other book I know. This is a must-read book for any who are really concerned for the mission of the church in the future that now opens before us."
"If I were teaching today, this would be my basic and required text. If I were a pastor, this would be my chief source for leading my congregation into the future. Since I am a congregant, I will read this to better understand how to function in a changing urban society. This is a timely offering, crafted out of field experience, classroom disciplines and deep personal commitments. Great stuff!"
"Churches, Cultures Leadership is one of the most significant books on the work of racial and cultural reconciliation yet published. Branson and Martínez have written a comprehensive work that integrates biblical research and social science analysis with highly practical suggestions for application in congregations and communities facing intercultural realities. They make the complexities of diversity understandable, accessible and even exciting. This thoughtful, engaging and substantive book by two practitioner scholars is a must-read for anyone interested in creating intercultural community."
"This particular book is loaded with integrated wisdom and insight regarding dealing and understanding race, cultures, and intercultural relations within the body of Chris. This book is a must read by anyone engaging in a multicultural setting."
"As the American population continues to ring itself around metropolitan areas--with all of their growing diversity--, this book could become a welcome and most useful church resource, for many years to come."
"Branson and Martinez take and interdisciplinary approach that integrates biblical and theological study with the disciplines of sociology, cultural anthropology and communications. The result is a rich blend of astute analysis with guidance for practical implementation of a deeper intercultural life for the church. Based on years of experience, highly engaging, greatly needed, Churches, Cultures and Leadership will benefit professors, students and church leaders. It may also be of interest to others working in diversity education."
List of Bible Studies
List of Personal Reflections/Classroom Exercises
List of Figures and Tables
Part I: Theology and Context
1 Practical Theology and Multicultural Initiatives
2 Missional Ecclesiology and Church Context
3 Sociocultural Structures, Ethnicity and Churches
Part II: Sociocultural Perspectives
4 Worldviews, Reality and Assumptions
5 Language , Gestures and Power
6 Defining Social Relations
7 Self-Perception and Individuality
8 Perception and Thinking
Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change
9 Intercultural Communication
10 Leading Change
11 Practices for the Calling
Appendix A: Theological Resources
Appendix B: Annotated Bibliography