DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Finding Who They Are

Written by: on May 10, 2018

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.

About the Author

Shawn Hart

6 responses to “Finding Who They Are”

  1. mm M Webb says:

    Good introduction and I am excited to see how you apply your past semester reading-non-reading training to this post. I agree with you, I wish Livermore would have started with a scripture comparison to Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the well.
    I see you related Livermore to your research and closed by describing the cultural differences you see in the 1st Century Biblical cast that began the Great Commission. I am a firm believer that the differences make the difference in mission-ministry. What I mean, like you are implying, is that God created and called each of us for His specific plans and good works.
    Our job, assuming all our salvation issues are solved in Christ, is to “get over” ourselves and let the Holy Spirit connect us with whomever He chooses. They may be multicultural, they may be least reached, they may be widows, orphans, and prisoners. They may be at our work, play, social outreaches, or they may be in faraway places or in our own neighborhoods. We might even find some in our churches! I am proud of you and your “vision” to search for and see the beauty in people.
    Stand firm,
    M. Webb

  2. mm Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Shawn,

    Your last paragraph might raise some eyebrows in our Cohort. Were you referring to “focussing only on equality in our churches” as far as egalitarian roles? Perhaps the diversity you were addressing was something else. I would be interested in you expounding further on what you see the problem may be…

    • Shawn Hart says:

      Ahh…the delicacy of my pursuit. I have already realized that if I word things incorrectly in my paper, I risk people seeing it as a sexist or racist message; that it is not what I am pursuing. The point of my paper is to demonstrate that while the world is arguing racism and sexism, the value that we all hold as individuals, based upon our race, sex, education, life experiences, etc., all hold to the purpose of why God has called us as an individual to His gospel. I fear that there are so many issues like these being publicly and aggressively pushed, people are forgetting that it is not the group mentality by which God calls us, but rather as individuals with special and unique qualities. How do we achieve our own true calling if I am caught up in who the world is telling me I should be rather than who God has called me to be.

      Will the paper deal with gender roles, racial issues, politics, education, and cultural values? Absolutely! That is the point. All of those make us up to be who we have been called to be. I was not called to be Jay or Mike or Jason…I was called to be Shawn. Furthermore, as Shawn, God has laid out a plan for me; the challenge is…will I allow God to show me that plan, or get so caught up in a dominant world-view that I stray?

  3. Greg says:


    Having a book that is supposed to be the foundation of ministry not have a Biblical foundation is like tying your shoes without strings. Since this book in suppose to a business book I didn’t take it as a book to be the “foundation” of what we are supposed to be doing as much as how to process the cultural interactions that make up our lives. (Like the good rice in my chili 🙂 I appreciated the way you did bring in Solomon’s wisdom as a comparison. Jason called it common sense, and I think it is if we are open to hear God’s leading.

    Btw I know writing a paper on roles might not fit everyone in our cohort but that is exactly where you should write it. Hopefully in discussion and collaboration you have begin to understand many sides to this issue and thus speak intelligently without coming across negatively. I am still not letting you near my chili.

  4. Chris Pritchett says:

    Well done Shawn, you pulled off a thoughtful post after a computer crash! Your critique was right on, in my assessment, and still I appreciated how you were able to fairly find the good in the book while also offering criticism.

  5. mm Jason Turbeville says:

    I like the way you integrated the books thoughts with how you see a need for ministry to change. I too was a minister to youth for many years and how I started is certainly not how I finished in that endeavor. The technological issues facing their culture makes what we do much harder but if you are able to move within the culture, you can be effective indeed. I have always seen youth ministry as a microcosm of the church and how it should be moving to reach those who do not know Christ, what do you think?


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