Three categories of competence for cross-cultural partnerships

Inter-related competencies for cross-cultural partnershipGodly character, cultural intelligence, and organizational competence are the three inter-related categories of competence for people and ministries to have healthy cross-cultural partnerships. Growth in one arena usually impacts growth in the others. Likewise, deficits in one arena can also affect the others.

Here’s how we define these three categories or arenas:

1. GODLY CHARACTER means … following humbly our Lord Jesus Christ for the glory of God. At its core, godly character is—humility.

2. CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE (CQ) means … understanding deeply our diversity and unity 
for the glory of God. At its core, cultural intelligence is—deep understanding.

3. ORGANIZATIONAL COMPETENCE means … practicing wisely the art and science of 
partnership for the glory of God. At its core, organizational competence iswise practice.

You can evaluate the health of a cross-cultural partnership by considering the three-legged stool. You need strength in all three “legs”—godly character, cultural intelligence, and organizational competence—for a healthy partnership. If the partnership is wobbly, at least one of the legs of the stool is weak or broken.

Evaluations are often made by asking questions; here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

  • GODLY CHARACTER: Does a lack of humility—a lack of Christlike servanthood—characterize the relationship or the key leaders on either side of the partnership? How much time are you devoting to slow, deliberate, empathic listening inside of the partnership? Note: Pride can be easy to recognize in others; it is harder to see in yourself.
  • CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE: Is there a lack of cultural intelligence—a deficit in awareness of the worldview or cultural values of the other party, or of the key leaders on either side of the partnership? Does this contribute to a lack of trust—or an unwillingness to make necessary adjustments in expectations or behavior? Note: Without training in cultural intelligence, this is very difficult to answer.
  • ORGANIZATIONAL COMPETENCE: Is there a vision for this partnership? Is there an alliance champion or ambassador with true collaboration skills? Is there a clear understanding of what is expected regarding reports, accountability, and protocol—from all sides of the partnership? Note: As with godly character and cultural intelligence, the wise practices that comprise organizational competence are, ideally, an ever-evolving process of growth on all sides of the partnership.

At Mission ONE, we have developed The Beauty of Partnership to equip Christian entrepreneurial leaders for a learning journey by which they not only gain much new knowledge, but also gain the skills and attitudes that are simply vital for healthy cross-cultural partnership. A weekend seminar will not give you the deep understanding and behavioral change necessary. That’s why it is a twelve-week missional learning journey.

At Mission ONE, we have a passion for equipping Christian entrepreneurial leaders for cross-cultural partnership. That is the main reason why this site exists. Would you like to join the journey? Write to me, Werner Mischke, at

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