To Catch the Wind: A New Metaphor for Cross-Cultural Partnership

The article referenced by the title of this blog is downloadable by clicking on this link. The article grew out of a dialog I shared with Alex Araujo and Mary Lederleitner in 2008 when we were discussing the possibility of The Beauty of Partnership curriculum. Turns out it was the basis for Alex’s outstanding presentation at 
the 2008 COSIM conference, and is now an important part of The Beauty of Partnership learning journey. This article is written principally by Alex Araujo, Senior Partnership Consultant, Partners International.


The main idea of this article is that we can have healthier cross-cultural partnerships by understanding the paradigm through which we see ourselves, our world, and our ministry partners in the majority world. Alex Araujo offers the metaphor of the powerboat and the sailboat to help us see contrasting paradigms—the “powerboat mindset” versus the “sailboat mindset.” Since this article was presented in June 2008, Alex Araujo has further developed and refined the material. Alex has presented this material in several missions consultations and executive leadership gatherings. This question was often raised: If the powerboat represents the western mindset, does the sailboat represent the non-western mindset? Alex’s answer is No, the sailboat represents the biblical mindset. What then represents the non-western or “majority-world” mindset? Answer: The rowboat. The chart below clarifies the distinctions. See the full article here.

What do you think of this metaphor for cross-cultural partnership ministry? Is it helpful? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this metaphor?

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