New book on cross-cultural partnership focuses on money and missions

Mary Lederleitner has provided a valuable service to the Church. Her book, Cross-Cultural Partnership: Navigating the Complexities of Money and Mission, has much from which we can learn.

In my blog, I intend to highlight several things from the book which liked or which I found particularly helpful. I’ll begin with this quote from chapter 2:

A core concept in many collectivistic societies is “face.” Many people in individualistic cultures make the mistake of assuming it is the same thing as reputation. However, its meaning and role in society is far greater. Individualistic cultures navigate life by utilizing a currency of money, but collectivistic cultures navigate life by using a currency of face.[1]

For those of us in the West, the idea that “face” has its own “currency” is for most a new idea. But when you apply this understanding to cross-cultural partnerships, it can bring insight to financial and accountability misunderstandings. In her book, Mary frequently connects a principle to a real-life story and makes the principle come alive.

Individualistic societies like those in America and many Western nations have very different ways of thinking about money in comparison to the more group-oriented peoples of the Majority World. So in a cross-cultural partnership, handling money and accountability in a healthy way requires an extra measure of wisdom and cultural intelligence on all sides.

Considering all the “complexities of money and mission,” it is no wonder that so much can go wrong and often does. Cross-cultural partnerships are challenging, but when done in a healthy way—informed by both Scripture and cultural intelligence—Mary believes they can be a powerful kingdom-building strategy. Needless to say, I agree with her.

Mary writes from her many years of experience working as a CPA with Wycliffe International; this afforded her many opportunities to serve as a bridge between a predominantly Western agency and indigenous Christian mission organizations. She tells many stories “from the trenches.” Thus, Mary has a strong grasp of both the peril and value of cross-cultural partnerships. Add to that Mary’s high regard for biblical guidance and wisdom … this all combines for a compelling vantage point from which to write and serve others who are engaged in the world Christian movement.

I highly recommend Mary Lederleitner’s book, Cross-Cultural Partnership: Navigating the Complexities of Money and Mission.

1. Mary Lederleitner: Cross-Cultural Partnership: Navigating the Complexities of Money and Mission (Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 2010) p. 45.


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