Being equipped over Summer
Lifelong learning is a core dimension for Global Interaction staff. ‘
January is the time of the year where Global Interaction staff, candidates and cross-cultural workers on home assignment forgo some of their summer break to assemble in Melbourne for training. Training which includes public Whitley College connected courses like Strategic Mission Week, and Culture and Language, and in-house programs like Partnership Week. These programs aim to equip for contextual community engagement, for learning language and culture, and for building teams of supporters. At least five from South Australia participated in at least one of the courses, including myself, and not all were Global Interaction staff or candidates.
Training for cross-cultural engagement can be undervalued. In reflecting with the South Australian contingent on this training, several key features emerge that have a wider relevance for believers in the Australian context.
First, the connection between intercultural engagement overseas and locally. Ross shared that “the work and theology of overseas” intercultural engagement “and local mission, overlap” and that “many of the conversations and principles found in overseas” related “training contexts are far more similar to those in local mission contexts than many people believe.” The way forward for Ross, then is to “see more collaboration of resources on this front.”
Second, the recognition that “God is at work in our world” and that our “call is to identify these places and get on board with Him.”
Third, the value of storytelling in communicating the Christian values and beliefs becomes significant. Susie shared about the importance of story and how (when crafted well) stories can be used to introduce others to Jesus. She is looking to explore and practice the art of storytelling. One of the outcomes for Ross is to tell more contextualised stories when speaking with people about Jesus.
Fourth, context becomes the focus in determining response and strategy. Ross stated that “take the text out of context, you are left with a ‘con.’ We need to understand our context as witnesses to Christ as much as we need to understand the context of those we are witnessing to. Context creates clearer communication pathways and greater understanding.”
Several of these courses are not confined to agency staff. If you are interested in exploring training, then contact David Turnbull in the State Office to discuss the options. Information and dates for 2019/2020 can be found here.
Also, don’t forget the Global Inspire event on Saturday 16 March.