In times past, foreign mission agencies made the acquisition of cross-cultural skills an absolute requirement for their missionary candidates to possess before sending them out to the ends of the earth. In today’s modernized and highly urbanized world where 54% of the 7 billion people on earth live in cities, the importance for an urban Christian mission worker to have a cross-cultural mindset can’t be overemphasized. The multilingual, multicultural harvest field is right here in the cities! This is why it is imperative for urban Christian workers to acquire the necessary cross-cultural traits.
In North America and Western Europe, for instance, immigrants from more than 100 countries and speaking more than a hundred languages settle in the huge cities of these hemispheres. The harvest field is just right next door. For the followers of Christ to effectively obey the Great Commission to preach the gospel into all the world and make disciples of all the nations, it is indispensable, indeed, for an urban Christian mission agent to have a cross-cultural, multilingual mindset.
Here are four habits of the mind that cross-cultural urban Christian mission agents should develop to be effective and fruitful in the ministry that God has called them to do:
- A passionate love for the Triune God and a strong love for people should be the urban Christian mission agent’s most compelling motivation for engaging in the tasks of evangelizing the nations and discipling and equipping the saints. (See: Matthew 22:36-40; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21)
- The urban Christian mission agent should be growing in his love for the Triune God – enjoying the practice of the presence of the Father, immersed in the sacrificial love of the Son and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Without this compelling love divine in one’s heart, loving people can truly be an uphill climb. Urbanites, in particular, who are stressed out and emotionally strained due to city living, can sometimes be really annoying and irritating. This requires a high level of tolerance for any cross-cultural worker to have.
- Related with the first trait, a healthy self-love and self-esteem in Christ is an essential habit of the mind that urban Christian missional agents should hold.
- An accurate valuation and acceptance of one’s person enables the urban Christian workers to be free from harmful attitudes of ethnocentrism. It liberates them from criticizing the idiosyncrasies of other ethnic groups or lambasting and judging other cultures according to their own cultural ethos.
- A healthy self-love and self-acceptance empowers the urban Christian trainers and disciplemakers to pursue authentic relationships with those who are not culturally or linguistically like them. This mindset helps them raise their own intercultural awareness and cultural sensitivity as they interact and serve these international immigrants.
For a fruitful life and ministry in their sphere of influence and outreach, it is imperative for the urban Christian workers, disciplers and lay leaders to be growing strong and deep in their love for God, for people and for themselves.