Summary: Pastor David’s problem comes from the difference of world view assumption he has on leadership from most western style management books. First, let us examine some of the critical differences between Western and non-western assumptions about administratio
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY MANAGE YOUR CROSS -CULTURAL MINISTRIES
Introduction - Imagine Pastor David who loves his youth, successfully leads many young people to Christ, but struggles to know how to administrate his ministry. He knows his Biblical imperatives for youth ministry. He has successfully understood most of the felt, perceived, and real needs of his youth. He has even come up with several excellent goal statements for each level of youth in his ministry. He has read just about everything he can get his hands on about methods for youth ministry.
Pastor David’s gifts lie in the areas of teaching, evangelism, and counseling. Whenever, he tries to plan an activity something always seems to go wrong. He has tried reading books on administration, but he just can’t seem to keep everything organized. Part of Pastor David’s problem comes from the difference of world view assumption he has on leadership from most western style management books. First, let us examine some of the critical differences between Western and non-western assumptions about administration.
Non-WESTERN ASSUMPTIONS - WESTERN ASSUMPTIONS
1. Consensus Collectivism contrasted with Individualism
a. This leader tries to find out the consensus of opinion of those significant voices in leadership and goes with the power brokers. He is at the same time sensitive to the wishes of the masses, but just enough so as not to fuel any rebellions.
b. This leader makes decisions based on the rights of the individual. He is very sensitive to the fact that each person has different gifts, strengths, and weaknesses that should be taken into account. He also recognizes that unity does not have to mean unanimity of every decision. He works through decisions on their individual merits. He however, is often insensitive to the consensus opinion if he believes in something strongly.
2. Large Power Distance contrasted with Small Power Distance
a. This leader believes in large distances between him and his superiors. Likewise, he expects his staff to respond immediately to his orders. Any attempt to bridge this gap is considered a breech of respect, honor, and subject to discipline.
b. This leader is very approachable by all of his staff. He is open to suggestions from everyone, not just his superiors or peers. He feels that staff should address him by his first name and feel free to interact with him on a warm, personal and open basis. He does not feel threatened by superiors or his employees.
3. Toleration for Uncertainty contrasts with one who Avoids Uncertainty
a. This leader deals with problems as they arise. He recognizes that many problems cannot be planned for. He manages his people by walking around, dealing with issues as they arise. He is not bothered that much of his leadership revolves around crisis management style of leadership. He is flattered by how much the organization depends on his decision for everything from purchasing stationery to buildings.
b. This leader plans as far as it is possible in advance. He is very annoyed when his people do not plan ahead. He is concerned that prior planning can prevent poor performance in all of his organization.
4. Synthesis, Spiritual, Cultural, Financial, and Political Factors contrasted with one who Distinguishes between Spiritual, Cultural, and Political factors.
a. This leader is more wholistic in his outlook of management. He cannot always see the sharp distinctions between financial, cultural, or spiritual factors in making a decision about staff selection and training for example.
b. This leader prides himself on his objective analysis of each situation. He is apt to make a decision based upon the Spiritual objectives set for the group. He spurns those decisions that are made for "cultural reasons only."
5. Puts Little Trust in Admin Theory.Prefers to Learn by Experience contrasted with one who Puts Much Trust in Admin.
a. Likes to say that he learned leadership by doing it rather than reading it from a book.
b. Likes to see how the different theories will best apply to his situation. Often he is eager to study different leadership styles to see which ones will work best
6. Stresses Power and Force Leadership contrasted with one who Stresses Representative leadership
a. Likes to reserve his big guns of power and forcefor important confrontations. However, he is not hesitant to use power if he senses that the position of authority is called into question.
b. Insists that he was elected to appointed to the office. By the power and authority entrusted to his office, he exercises control. He stresses the policies that guide the execution of his responsibilities given through his job description.
7. Emphasizes Relationships contrasted with one Emphasizes the end goal
a. This leader recotgnizes the old proverb that says,"It is not what you know that matters as much as who you know."
b. This leader recognizes people as essentially means to an end. He often fails to have staff development as an enough of a priority.