When the church is spoken about in the New Testament, there are usually two themes.
Believers from all centuries and all cultures are joined together in Christ
Those same believers are diverse in things like background, manners, customs, and language
At CultureBound, that mixture of unity and diversity is our call to PEACE! CultureBound's training for local churches is aimed at helping local congregations develop a unity with Christians from other cultures and languages. But what does PEACE stand for?
P - Patterns
Culture is all about the patterns of a people. The tools that CultureBound uses to teach missionaries how to learn the patterns of a new culture are also useful for learning the patterns of people in your home town.
E - Engage
The best way to understand and be understood is through healthy relationships. By sharing activities, joining together for meals, playing sports, or worshipping together, we get to know more than just patterns of behavior. We grow to recognize the heart behind those behaviors!
A - Attitudes
There are many attitudes needed to build peace across cultures. There is a small but crucial pivot that happens when someone can say, "I know my people and our patterns, and I like them. I also see that other people have different patterns. They are not good or bad, just different!" This flexible attitude creates opportunity for engagement with people from other cultures.
C - Cross-Cultural Communication
Communication styles are a pattern that shifts from culture to culture. Learning what a nod, smile, silence, or a raised voice might mean to the people you are talking with is a big part of building peace. CultureBound training gives tools for learning to communicate in patterns that are different from what you are used to.
E - Enquire
One of the biggest tools for building peace is the simple act of asking. Ask God for his wisdom. Ask your new neighbors for insight into how they see life. Sometimes adults have to learn how to be learners again, and that means learning how to ask good questions.
The great majority of local churches in the United States are one single culture. This trend is rapidly changing. Interacting with one culture is not a problem, but when introduced to people from other cultures, we are called to find peace with them. Using the PEACE guidance will set you up for success with communicating cross-culturally.