With over a quarter of Australia’s population coming from approximately 200 different overseas countries, no one could doubt that we’re now a very multi-ethnic country. Several million of these people have made Australia home, but they often have very little contact with Christians, and minimal understanding of the gospel. This book is about helping Christians and churches to understand the WHY, WHAT, HOW and WHEN of vibrant cross-cultural ministries, and to get involved.
“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.
How to obtain your copy: –
From Interserve Australia at interserve.org.au/learn/resources/books, or call 1800 067 100. Price: $18.00 plus postage (discounts are available for bulk orders) or from Koorong Books
“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.”
Darrell Jackson – Senior Lecturer in Missiology, Morling College, Sydney
“There is much help available to those who grab their passport and head to another country on cross-cultural mission. However, there is much less help available for another cross-cultural field that is right under our noses. 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 (1-2), possible barriers (3) and methods (4-6). 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.
When I returned from an overseas ministry stint it struck me how multicultural Australia now is. It also struck me that many monocultural Anglo churches were withering. It’s not hard to see why – they were often stuck in a maintenance mode of ministry and disconnected from the local community’s shape. The churches that were doing well all had a missional approach to ministry and a multicultural shape. It was a short jump from those observations to the realisation that the cross-cultural techniques that I had seen in SE Asia were needed here. 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.”
David Burke of Christ College in Sydney