Equipping pastors for a narrative approach to ministry in a cross-cultural context
Serwalo, P. S.
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Pastors in cross-cultural congregations are facing challenges in uniting members of their congregations, especially so when positioned/deployed in previously single-cultural churches. Members finding it difficult to adjust being ministered to by a pastor whom are not of their race or culture often leave that Church. It was found that the pastors in such a church does not always know how to prevent this from happening, neither how to convince the cross-cultural members of the congregation to accept each others as equals and brothers and sisters in Christ. This causes emotional issues, not for the pastor only, but also for elders and leaders in the Church and the pastor often feels inadequate and unsupported by the elders and group leaders in the Church. Having the previous pastor as an active member in the Church, often also becomes a problem if he does not support the new pastor and assist him in encouraging the group leaders and members of the congregation to embrace their new pastor, as their spiritual leader. The most prominent challenges faced by cross-cultural pastors that seem to be affecting their sense of competence in ministering in cross-cultural Churches are that members of the Church leave when a cross-cultural minister is appointed in a previously single-cultural Church and members goes as far as withholding funds. Many additional challenges faced by cross-cultural pastors were discovered in the research. In an effort to establish why the cross-cultural pastors’ experience such challenges it came to light that there does not seem to have been a transitional approach to cross-cultural pastors’ appointments in previously single-cultural Methodist Churches in Southern Africa. With cross-cultural pastors not being phased (integrated) in, or adequately introduced, to the Church members often cause mistrust and animosity towards the newly appointed cross-cultural pastors. Pastors and congregations were therefore unprepared and uninformed of this transition and it is assumed that pastors and congregations should know how to handle this sudden transition (cross-cultural shock) effectively. In an effort to find a solution to the problems/challenges cross-cultural pastors face: ● The background of the cross-cultural ministry in South African Churches in particular the Methodist Church of Southern Africa was looked at; ● It was determined what problems and challenges pastors within cross-cultural congregations are faced by; ● Various existing narrative-approach models for counselling and psychology as a means to enhance ministry in cross-cultural congregations were looked at and evaluated: especially with the emphasis on story-telling (expression of oneself) as a narrative approach to ministry, whereby a pastor may be able to give hope or attempt to bring about an positive change of mind-sets, traditions and misconceptions, leaning on scriptures and Biblical messages. ● It was determined whether there are Biblical principles, based on Paul’s ministry to the Ephesians, which can be applied for equipping pastors for the ministry in cross-cultural Churches. Through a literature study, the researcher found that the Methodist Churches in Southern Africa are not the only Church wherein cross-cultural pastors face such challenges. Through an empirical and the 1st phase of Tesch’ eight steps qualitative study, the commonalities between the challenges that pastors in cross-cultural Churches face was established. The study concludes by proposing a model how a narrative approach to ministry in a cross-cultural congregation can be introduced and applied.
- Theology