Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures
Equipping Christians and churches for ministry in a culturally diverse society
By Andrew Schachtel, Choon-Hwa Lim and Michael K Wilson
“Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures. Equipping Christians and churches for ministry in a culturally diverse society” is a very practical guide to cross-cultural ministry. Its three authors are all cross-cultural practitioners in Australia. Andrew Schachtel worked overseas with Interserve for more than 20 years, and now serves as a team member of Interserve’s CultureConnect program engaging migrants, refugees and international students. Choon-Hwa Lim has a psychology private practice, lectures in Intercultural Communications, and has experience in developing international ministry in churches. Mike Wilson has for over two decades been helping churches to reach out to people across cultures, and has lectured on ministering across cultures at a number of Bible Colleges. He also has overseas experience.
Why “Changing Lanes”? As Christians and churches in Australia face the cultural changes taking place in our cities and towns, there’s a need to learn appropriate and effective new skills, and change approaches and directions in how we do ministry. This book will aid Christians and churches as they undertake the crucial, challenging but very rewarding process of changing lanes in an increasingly multicultural environment.
Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures includes an examination of the biblical motivation for cross-cultural ministry, steps to overcome obstacles, practical information on how to get involved and many helpful anecdotes and case studies. Each section contains thought-provoking questions for reflection and discussion. It’s written so that any person can pick it up and read it, or small-groups can study it over six sessions.
Lecturer in Ministry and Practice at Christ College, Sydney
“All major Australian cities (metropolitan and regional) are now profoundly multicultural and many rural communities have their pockets of new Australians. We Christians feel that we should to reach across our local cultures but are clueless about how to start. This book is written to help Australian churches change lanes and reach the cultures next door. The three writers bring a variety of global and local cross-cultural experiences and this enriches the book. The book is designed to help local Australian churches understand the cultures around them and make connections for the sake of Jesus. It has a workbook format and is designed for use by groups. The six modules cover motivations, possible barriers and methods. A glossary and appendices including tables, diagnostic instruments and a list of resources support these modules. Individual modules typically call readers to prayer, give a Biblical reflection, provide input material for reading and end with a summary and questions to work on. The modules are not so much a ‘how-to’ textbook, but rather a guide to help local churches figure out what is going on in their community and make the connections. That’s the strength of this book – it is a tool not a blueprint. Local church cultural mission is not easy and the book is frank about such challenges as motivations, practical hindrances and just getting to the first step of knowing and engaging with our neighbours. The book will push churches to look at themselves, their communities and ask the hard questions about how to connect. This book is a timely and useful tool to help Australian churches transfer ministry wisdom from overseas mission to the local scene. It will be on my course lists.”
“Becoming a church that is intentional about and effective in reaching a multicultural neighbourhood is a great but worthy challenge. As a pastor trying to do that for my church, I found this book very helpful. It will help you discern the issues of why you should or shouldn’t do it and provides you and your leaders with guidance on how to begin this journey with the church and navigate them through the challenges that come with it. I highly recommend this book to you if you are considering taking your church down this path.”
“A great resource for both raising awareness of the need for multi-cultural ministry and for equipping workers, both professional and lay. A ‘why’ and ‘how’ manual useful for both individuals and church groups.”
“I think this is the best resource out there to help pastors and churches reach this multi-ethnic city. It’s based firmly in Scripture, theologically sharp. It also demonstrates not just breadth of research but depth in analysis, which serves to confront us with the challenges before us. It is clear, thorough and extremely practical. Every pastor and church would do well to work through this.”
“Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures demystifies the cultural change taking place in our churches with guidance that is soundly biblical in its approach, helpfully practical in its structure and certainly relevant.”
“This book is a helpful resource and tool for churches to be challenged into effective ways of doing cross-cultural ministry. It provides a realistic insight into the many challenges faced by churches when embarking on this ministry as well as providing useful suggestions to help overcome them.”
“Three experienced practitioners have compiled an outstanding resource. This insightful book is eminently practical, empowering its readers to confidently negotiate the complex world of cross-cultural relationships. If applied carefully and prayerfully, the concepts found here will be a powerful catalyst for future change in the multi-ethnic Australian church. I recommend it wholeheartedly.”
“This is a timely and important book. Valuable because the authors are all highly experienced in the areas of cross-cultural ministry they write about. Accessible, Biblical, and thoughtful, Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures is written for churches trying to understand the culturally diverse cities and towns of Australia and looking for practical suggestions about how best to respond in ministry and mission. I pray that its prayerful and biblical approach to cross-cultural practice and theory will generate innovative approaches to cross-cultural ministry here in Australia.”
“Changing Lanes, Crossing Cultures is a book for Australian churches who have a concern for their multi-cultural neighbours, but aren’t sure what to do about it. The authors provide both biblical grounding and pragmatic instruction for building churches that better reflect the multi-cultural nature of our country, and the marvellous ‘every tribe, language, nation and people group’ nature of our heavenly home.”