Global and Contextual Studies

Our opportunities are greater than ever for equipping church planters around the world with a vision to disciple leaders from every people, language, and nation. We recognize the growing importance of emerging leaders from the many cultures of American cities and from around the world. We are called to disciple people in the context of their home cultures.

Objectives for students

  • Come to terms with the biblical mandate to disciple people of every nation and to lead them into maturity in Jesus Christ as our Lord requires;
  • Grow in awareness of the current movements of people to Christ around the world with an appreciation of the diversity of God’s ways among us;
  • Appreciate and critically evaluate the effectiveness of various strategies in starting and growing healthy, prevailing churches in suburban and urban contexts;
  • Grow in our ability to make use of the enormous potential for global discipleship of our growing communities of culturally diverse peoples in North America;
  • Develop leadership skills and gifts required for the ministry of reconciliation in changing cultural contexts; and
  • Develop skills in discipleship evangelism for ministry at home and around the world.

GC 512 • Global, Cultural and Contextual Ministry 3 Credits

Examination of culture through a biblical lens as the context of all ministry. Development and application of one’s understanding of cultures to the missional mandate of the local and global church. Exploration of structural impediments to the church’s mission, including racism, sexism, power differentials, and the reconciling power of the gospel to transform churches and their communities.
$100 IDI Assessment Fee.

GC 610 • Cross-Cultural Communication 1.5,3 Credits

This course examines the dynamics of the communication process and the ways in which various cultures, audience segments, or value orientations condition the interpretation of different symbol systems. Each student selects a culture or subculture to evaluate its most dominant worldview components and the approaches to church work that are most likely to be effective in that setting.

GC 611 • Christianity in Culture 1.5,3 Credits

Culture is studied to help those serving in various ministry contexts to identify the distinctives of culture and Christian heritage; to distinguish the secular aspects of heritage from the distinctly Christian elements; and to know when to hold firm or to be flexible when providing pastoral care for people of other generations or cultures.

GC 612 • Cross Cultural Leadership 1.5,3 Credits

This course examines the biblical purposes and function of leadership through a cross-cultural understanding of how to first serve and then lead. Aspects of vision casting, influencing change, and becoming missional leaders are discussed as to cultural leadership characteristics. The emphasis for the student is on how to encourage and develop leaders more than how to function as a leader in a host culture.

GC 615 • Communications and Culture 1.5,3 Credits

This course seeks to explore various ways in which culture affects the effective communication of the Christian message. It is largely a study of issues and practices related to effective cross-cultural or intercultural communication, with attention to understanding cultural contexts and barriers and applications to effective Christian witness across, and within, cultures. The course examines the dynamics of the communication process and the ways in which various cultures, audience segments, or value orientations condition the interpretation and communication of the Bible and other messages. Areas of focus include the nature of cultural contexts and their impact upon perceptions, values, beliefs, and social structures. Each student selects a culture or sub-culture, evaluating the dominant worldview components and developing a strategy for effectively communicating the Christian faith to persons within such cultures.

GC 632 • World Religions 1.5,3 Credits

This couse is a study of the world religions that provide structures of belief and meaning for vast numbers of people in America and globally. A primary goal is to develop the understanding and sensitivities necessary to represent Christ attractively, and communicate His Gospel intelligibly, to adherents of these faiths. It is also an opportunity to develop an informed Christian theology of religions.
Prerequisites: TS 512 (recommended). Special Notes: Crosslisted with TS 632.

GC 660 • Change Agency 1.5,3 Credits

This is a course in applied anthropology and cultural dynamics with special attention given to how culture change occurs, the dynamics and variables that effect change, and appropriate strategies for the effective change agent, whether an individual or an organization. The course will also focus on contemporary areas of social responsibility for Christian advocates and agents of change. This course will assist church leaders (in the U.S. or overseas), missionaries, anthropologists, development agencies, social ministries, and others in understanding how change occurs, how to effectively introduce change into organizations and communities, how to evaluate when we should and should not introduce change, and what the biblical and theological foundation is for our personal involvement as advocates for and agents of change.

GC 670 • Directed Study in Global and Contextual Ministries 1-9 Credits

Research and study by arrangement with the professor.
Special Notes: Permission is required.

GC 673 • Cross-Cultural Experience 1.5,3 Credits

Shaped as an independent study around a cross-cultural experience of the student, usually as part of a global mission project or as a local ethnic ministry. This is arranged with the ML professor to create an in-depth study in which the experience will occur.

GC 700 • Understanding Islam 1.5,3 Credits

The study of Islam as both a system of beliefs and as a culture, how Islam is growing and accomplishing its own 'evangelism,' and ways in which the Gospel can engage Muslim followers within their particular culture and sect of Islam.

GC 704 • Religion in Anthropology 1.5,3 Credits

The study of basic roles of religion in society, including its role as explanation system and means of social regulation; how worldviews influence cultures, how to use ethnography and to analyze culture to describe religion, worldview values, tradition, and structures of faith.

GC 708 • History of World Missions 1.5,3 Credits

A survey of the missionary movements on the major continents with special emphasis on biographies, types of mission field, and missionary strategy. Special Notes: May be taken in substitute for HS 510.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with HS 708.

GC 711 • Spiritism and Folk Beliefs 1.5,3 Credits

A study of how folk beliefs become the practice in major religions (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Hispanic Catholicism), the importance of recognizing the 'excluded middle' in cultural beliefs, and issues of spiritual warfare and syncretism to be considered in communicating the Gospel.

GC 739 • Theology in a Global Context 1.5,3 Credits

This course addresses key intersections between theology and culture and explores questions and issues related to contextuality in theologizing. It does so by close readings, discussions, and analysis of contemporary theologies coming from beyond the traditional Euro-American context, including African, Asian, Latin American, and other non-Western contexts. Themes of focus include Christology, anthropology, and the doctrine of salvation.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with TS 739.

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