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Cultural Sensitivity

  1. Take the initiative to make contact with the "international", the "foreigner", even if language is a problem at first.
  2. Show respect for their culture and language. They may be in culture shock and grieving over the "loss" of their culture or at least the fear of losing their cultural identity. Ask, "How would I feel if I were in their shoes?"
  3. Learn how to pronounce names correctly. Their name is as important to them as yours is to you. Practice saying it until you get close to how it should be pronounced.
  4. Be sensitive to their feelings about their homeland. Developing nations are not as poor, backward or uneducated as North Americans tend to think.
  5. When speaking English, do so slowly and clearly. Remember, raising your voice does not make English more understandable.

  6. Be yourself. Show that you care about them as people and that you honestly want to help.
  7. Take time to listen. If you don't understand, or you are not understood, take time to find out why. Explain or ask questions. A key question might be, "Would you help me understand?"
  8. Be careful about promises. In English we express the subjunctive (possibility, probability or contingency) in a way that is sometimes misunderstood by internationals.
  9. The key ingredient to developing and maintaining a long-term relationship with internationals is old-fashioned friendship built of mutual respect and a desire for understanding.
  10. Don't allow cultural differences (preferences) to become the basis for criticism and judgments. Differences are neither good nor bad. What we do with them is the key.

Learn More:
These books will help you learn more about how Christians of other cultures experience life in America and suggest ideas for multicultural ministry outreach. The stars are readers' ratings from Amazon.com.
( A portion of your purchases from Amazon help cover expenses of our ministry. Thank you!)

Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World
by David A. Livermore
Baker Academic

Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church
By Soong-Chan Rah
Moody Publishers

Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility
By Duane Elmer
Published by IVP Books

The Color of Church: A Biblical and Practical Paradigm for Multiracial Churches
By Rodney Woo
B&H Academic

Multicultural Ministry: Finding Your Church's Unique Rhythm
By David Anderson

ARTICLE: Coaching and Culture by Dr. Keith E. Webb, can help you improve your communication skills.

ARTICLE: Friendship Evangelism has practical advice from The World at Your Door, a book by Dr. Tom Phillips and Bob Norsworthy.

ARTICLE: Cross-Cultural Ideas for Churches offers ideas and activities to help internationals feel welcome.

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