Friday, July 2, 2010

Servanthood: The Process

Becoming a servant can be compared to a journey or a pilgrimage...while the steps described in Duane Elmer's book Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility aren't very complicated, the author points out that they do take a considerable amount of effort and discipline to carry out simply because we're used to servant practices in our own culture.  Merely calling ourselves a 'servant', doesn't mean that we will necessarily be perceived as such by others, especially if they are from another culture. 

I love how this book points out that I need to intentionally, every day, ask what I have learned about how a servant looks and acts in the local culture where I live.  I think that all too often, I tend to slip back into my usual, comfortable daily routine that is based in my own cultural experience and forget to stay on top of what it means to serve in another culture.  And the danger there is that I might become guilty once again of acting  like a "monkey". 

The cross-cultural servant model presented in this book is very practical and can actually be used as a guide in any relationship, whether it is cross-cultural or not. 

So here you go, a model of the steps towards becoming a cross-cultural servant.  The author lists the steps backwards since he feels they make more sense that way when first presented:

  1. Serving.  You can't serve someone you do not understand; at best you will serve like the monkey.
  2. Understanding.  You can't understand others until you have learned about, from and with them.
  3. Learning.  You can't learn important information from someone until there is trust in the relationship.
  4. Trust.  To build trust others must know that you accept and value them as people.
  5. Acceptance.  Before you can communicate acceptance, people must experience your openness - your ability to welcome them into your presence.
  6. Openness.  Openness with people different from yourself requires that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone to initiate and sustain relationships in a world of cultural differences. 

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