I apologize in advance for the lacking quality of this posts…tragically, my laptop has breathed its last and gone on to that computer graveyard in cyberspace.I am now forced to use the borrowed laptop of my college son, as well as try to scramble to get this delivered in time.
Now to the point; “Leading with Cultural Intelligence,” and what I see as the real secret to success. First, I know I may sound like a scratched record here, but I still struggle with a book that is intended to give foundations for ministry and yet lacks a biblical foundation to stand upon. I fear that though there are some tantalizing thoughts presented by Livermore, there should always be a starting point grounded in Scripture when instructing others on how to guide or build their ministries.
With the objection now placed, I would like to note on the variables of inclusion that are presented by Livermore that I feel do warrant consideration in the ministry process:
First, in the beginning of Proverbs, Solomon instructs his son on the importance of getting to know Wisdom. In this new relationship, he demonstrates through many hyperbole, the fact that wisdom should be developed in order for knowledge to be of value. With a similar respect, Livermore is using his four areas of Cultural Intelligence to establish that wisdom still precedes knowledge, in as much as one must understand the variables of culture before one can truly expect to have an impact upon it. Very often the desire and eagerness of ministry minded individuals causes them to act before planning properly. The value that should be placed on realizing that cultures vary is crucial in regard to understanding that success in ministry can only be achieved through reaching them where they are.
Second, Livermore draws on the importance of understanding human behavior itself. Recently we discussed in bible class the changes that have taken place in the behavior of our youth compared to youth from 25 years ago when I first started in Youth Ministry. We discussed that the very ‘pruning’ my generation endured from our parents was completely different than modern day teens raised in the technological age. As a result of the various and numerous upbringing methods, it would not seem sensible to believe that we could expect them to react to situations similarly. Though Livermore seems to be more focused on the business world, the concept of understanding human behavior cannot be ignored when trying to win someone to Christianity.
Lastly, in regard to my own dissertation, the most valuable contribution Livermore brought to my future work is the value that seems to be placed on the diversity of culture. In my research, I am looking at the damaging effects that focusing only on equality can make in regards to the need of diversity in the church. I believe God calls each of us not only for a purpose, but for a purpose based upon who we are and what we are capable of. The apostle Peter was impetuous and eager, and yet, he was devoted to the cause of Christ. However, that was not all Peter was that made him special; he was also a fisherman, a Jew, a passionate man, and who knows what other features Christ saw in him. Matthew was a tax-collector, Judas was a lover of money, Saul (Paul) was a Roman, Jew, tent-maker, and incredible public speaker. The point being, diversity was what made each of them special and gave Christianity the ability to spread so quickly. I believe Livermore is trying to point out that success is not only based upon the leader, but also upon that leader’s ability to see the beauty of each person they can reach.