LEADERSHIP AUTHORITY AND LOCAL CULTURES

MYW methods have been very good in more than 22 language-cultures that we know of.

That is because it always starts in nearly every exercise where people are at, if they will speak it.

It is essential that the leader must not talk too much or lead too little.

The processes of the workshop are not authoritarian, but empowering.

The leader is not the big expert, the participants are.

It really is good but it is not always that easy to do.

This has sometimes made a group feel some initial uncertainty. In those cultures where schooling has been authoritarian, perhaps East Asians, Singaporeans or Pacific Islanders, they may feel they must wait upon the words of the ‘teacher’. The facilitator of MYW will feel the strain of a long period of forcing themselves NOT to fill the gap with their own talk. However, once the group have become accustomed to it, they became very enthusiastic for it, and learned a lot.

Some of the specific questions in the exercises may need to be altered to suit local culture. Only two groups have told me that some of the Frameworks are unhelpful to them ( they preferred only to do “My Story”). The level of cross-cultural agreement is to me a little short of a miracle – either we have hit on something which is universally helpful or we have encountered people who are impossibly polite! I think and hope that it is because the categories are framed from biblical theology especially based on the Gospels, so even if people have differing interpretations of scripture, they can go along with the story.

IF you are uncertain, still, do a trial run with people from your culture who are bi-cultural. That is, they will grasp its original intent from my Australian English and be able to ‘translate’ ideas, values, processes and words. Then ask them to review it – ask for their adjustments in content and process. Ask questions like: What are the ways that people express this question in this culture? Who among our people do you hear these comments from? Age? Gender? Income level? Educational level? What in our culture and history has contributed to the gaps of communication we now have? With whom are we ministering well and who is not receiving us well? Are there patterns of obligation and respect in this culture which might prevent a Christian from asking another person to listen to them? How can we work with that? And so on. Please let me know what you discover. Your discoveries may very well be a great gift back into the Australian English version of MYW.

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