Ministering in Patronage Cultures
IVP Academic

Biblical Studies > Biblical Theology—Topics & Issues
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Missions, Intercultural Studies, & Global Christianity > Topics & Issues
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Ministering in Patronage Cultures
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Published: November 12, 2019
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-5247-5
  • Item Code: 5247

Patronage governs many relationships in Majority World cultures. But regrettably, Western theologians and missionaries rarely notice this prominent cultural reality. Patronage—a reciprocal relationship between social unequals—is a central part of global cultures and the biblical story of God's mission.

Misunderstanding patronage creates problems not only for Westerners ministering in other cultures, but also for contemporary people reading the Bible. If we ignore the concepts of patronage in biblical cultures, we will misinterpret Yahweh's relationship with Israel and miss some of the meaning in Jesus' parables and Paul's letters. Understanding patronage will illumine theological concepts such as faith, grace, and salvation.

Jayson Georges, coauthor of Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures, now brings his ministry experience and biblical insights to bear on the topic of patronage. With sections on cultural issues, biblical models, theological concepts, and missional implications, this resource will not only serve ministry practitioners but anyone who studies Scripture and worships God.

"Gaining a better understanding of patronage is reason enough to read this book. But it offers so much more than tips on how to better navigate patron-client relationships. Jayson Georges uses cultural insights to illuminate biblical texts and enrich theological understandings. Then, looking at patron-client relationships through a biblical lens Georges challenges us to practice transformed patronage. Read it and grow in knowledge of God and gain tools for God's mission."

Mark D. Baker, professor of mission and theology, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary

"Few subjects are as significant yet overlooked as patronage is. Many Westerners are suspicious of patronage, assuming it leads only to corruption. In Ministering in Patronage Cultures, Jayson Georges removes the cloud of confusion that surrounds the topic. With characteristic clarity, Georges sheds light on the ways that patronage influences culture, shapes biblical theology, and should transform our ministries. I highly recommend Ministering in Patronage Cultures. No book like this one exists."

Jackson W., author of Reading Romans with Eastern Eyes

"In crosscultural ministry, patronage is often the elephant in the room. If you are ministering to people who are not Caucasian Euro-Americans, then it is highly likely you are working with collectivists; yet, many of us are individualists. For collectivists, patronage is the air they breathe, the water they swim in. It is what goes without being said. Abandon any foolish notion of avoiding patronage. As individualists, we often don't even see patronage networks around us. Worse, our cultural prejudices can cause us to view patronage with contempt, as something to be ignored or dismissed as sin. Yet when we do, we are neglecting a wonderful cultural tool, one that Jesus and Paul often used. As Georges notes, patronage is biblical. Come along with Jayson Georges as he teaches us how patronage, like all aspects of culture, may be warped by sin but can and should be redeemed for kingdom work. I enthusiastically commend this book to anyone wanting to serve those who come from the Majority World. While we may be blind to the patronage elephant in the room, it seems painfully evident to them. We overlook it at our own peril. Georges is an experienced and skilled guide, patiently tutoring us individualists on how to minister in a collectivist world."

E. Randolph Richards, Palm Beach Atlantic University, coauthor of Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes


Introduction: The Problems of Patronage
Part I: Cultural Issues
Chapter 1: The Meaning of Patronage
Chapter 2: Expressions of Patronage
Chapter 3: Misperceptions of Patronage
Part II: Biblical Models
Chapter 4: Yahweh and Israel
Chapter 5: Jesus and the Kingdom
Chapter 6: Paul and the Church
Part III: Theological Truths
Chapter 7: God as Patron
Chapter 8: Sin as Ingratitude
Chapter 9: Salvation as Patronage
Part IV: Missional Implications
Chapter 10: Engaging Patronage
Chapter 11: Transforming Relationships
Chapter 12: The Christian Life
Appendix 1: Further Resources
Scripture Index


Jayson Georges (MDiv, Talbot) has served crossculturally for over fifteen years in Central Asia, a refugee community in the United States, and now in the Middle East. He is the coauthor of Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures and the author of The 3D Gospel and The Honor-Shame Paraphrase series. Georges has taught about honor-shame and patronage around the world and is the founding editor of

For security reasons after living in Muslim countries, Jayson has asked not to be identified in photos.

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