Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Is The World Still Big?

Written by: on January 31, 2019

The common thought is, we live a big world that has become small, through the progression of humanity on the tidal wave technology. Polanyi walks us through the history and progression towards a “free market” world that in turn connects humanity via the financial aspect.[1] Bebbington in his work, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain[2], shows not only the beginning and rise of Evangelicalism in Britain but how this movement spread to the U.S. and beyond. He also shows how American Christian leaders influenced the Charismatic expression in Britain.[3] Again, Bebbington helps us see how to world although big is also small. In recent years social media has furthered this big to the small trend which can cause many too fell as though I truly know this person because I follow them on social media, but this is false sensing of knowing at best. In her book, The Culture Map, Erin Meyer, brings clarity to the diversity still present in human beings.

In this easy to read but insightful book, Meyers looks at eight aspects of business culture: communications, performance feedback, persuasion, leadership and hierarchy, decision-making, trust, disagreement, and finally perceptions of time.[4] She then takes this eight aspects and through personal research, the help of leading psychologists, and anthropologists, she places them on a scale to show how different cultures compare to others and how these cultural differences might play out. Karen Penny writes, “Meyer offers leaders a way to analyze how their own culture works with colleagues, finding the relative gaps between them. It is only by doing this that the similarities and differences will become apparent and any breakdown in communication or trust can be addressed”.[5] It’s the similarities and difference, which I view as diversity, that remind us that the world is still big and that is ok. We still need to learn from one another and not assume we know. The aspect of communication and the scale of high/low context culture is what fascinated me the most.


In speaking of low-context cultures (the United States is the lowest) and its communication style she writes, “In low-context cultures, effective communication must be simple, clear, and explicit in order to effectively pass the message, and most communicators will obey this requirement, usually without being fully conscious of it”.[6] I completely agree with this statement and saw no issues with it until I understood the high-context culture, in which you must “read the air” to understand the full breadth of the conversation.[7] My next immediate thought was, did Jesus teach/lead in a low-context culture or high, and by looking at the scale it would seem to fit into high-context cultures. If this is true, then as Spirit-lead leaders we might look to change the way in which we lead even those of us in low-context cultures.

Again Meyers writes, “the traditional American rule for successfully transferring a powerful message to an audience: ‘Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them’ this is the philosophy of low-context communication in a nutshell.”[8] To me, this philosophy does not lead to learning or the renewing of the mind, only regurgitation. Jesus is the model for Spirit-led leadership, and he says, “Come follow me”[9] not repeat after me. I think far too often we only speak (which is natural to us in the West) in low-context style, but it seems the Spirit communicates in a high-context style, leaving us to learn how to “read the air” as we develop into leaders that still follow after Jesus.




[1] Karl Polanyi, Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, (Boston: Beacon Press, 2001), Accessed January 22, 2019, ProQuest Ebook Central.

[2] David W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s, (London: Routledge, 2005).

[3] Ibid., 416-451.

[4] Meyer, Erin, The Culture Map (INTL ED), PublicAffairs, Kindle Edition, 15-16.

[5]Penney, Karen. “The Culture Map by Erin Meyer Reviewed.” Director Magazine, 6 Jan. 2016, www.director.co.uk/14493-2-the-culture-map-by-erin-meyer-reviewed/.

[6] Meyer, The Culture Map, (INTL ED), 34-35.

[7] Ibid., 32-34.

[8] Meyers, The Culture Map, 35.

[9] Matthew 4:9, NASB

About the Author

Mario Hood

Most importantly, I am married to the love of my life, Misty Hood, and I'm kept on my toes all day every day, by my son Dalen and daughter Cola Hood. I also serve as the Next Generation Pastor at Church On The Living Edge in Orlando, Florida, under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. Mark Chironna as well as being a Youth and Family Life coach.

7 responses to “Is The World Still Big?”

  1. Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    The Hebrew word for ‘air’ (ruah) can also be translated as ‘breath’ or ‘spirit.’ Maybe we need to not just “read the air,” but to also “read the spirit” to be better followers of Jesus.

    Thanks Mario!

  2. Andrea Lathrop says:

    Mario, I am with you on this. I love clarity and have done well in orgs that have needed me to provide this. It is not a bad thing – we just need to develop other ways and means of communicating and listening to each other. Narrowly defining leadership communication will not serve us well, especially in Gospel-centric vocations.
    You are so right to include the ‘Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them’ quote. This is the challenge for us in the US. Appreciate you!

  3. Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Excellent, Mario! I think you are on to something here. Keep a “big world” perspective will tend to keep us humble, open to learning and wonder. Taking a “small world” perspective can lead to presumption and arrogance and an attitude of assumed uniformity.

    I will be reflecting on your high context thoughts and fully agree. You will find some interesting correlations in this next week’s reading (I read ahead because of travel).

  4. Nancy VanderRoest says:

    Hi Mario. I really enjoyed your blog. I especially liked your insight regarding Meyer’s focus on building trust. You noted that “it’s the similarities and differences that remind us that the world is still big and that is ok.” I agree with you that this is what diversity is all about. I also appreciated your comment about “reading the air” to understand the full breadth of the conversation. I believe that truly listening is the ultimate key to understanding. Thanks for sharing, Mario.

  5. Digby Wilkinson says:

    Top post, Mario. Good reflections and reference back to previous reading. Much better than my paltry attempt after a week of dramatics.
    I too was thinking about Bebbington, because the evangelical movement in England was a cultural nightmare in lots of ways. Wales, Scotland and Ireland had little love for England despite the close proximity. Language, culture, traditions and an appaling class structure made communication among evangelicals problematic. Their cultural collisions were historic and often violent, so despite the common evangelical quadrilateral, there was still significant miscommunication. recent years have offered global travel with ease. The internet has provided Skype and Zoom, and the monetary system is digital. Holding a big picture is a lot easier now than ever before, in essence, codependent and educated westernised continents like Europe, UK, Australia, and New Zealand become a lot more high-context. Isolation tends to equal low-context communication, which perhaps explains in part some of the US political situations at present. Low-context south and mid-west with high-context coastal areas. Just a thought.

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