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Liberty University
Submitted to: Professor Sarah Lunsford
GLST 290: Culture Anthropology
A Review of the book Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility
by Duane Elmer
Brandy Grigson
February 28, 2022
A Review of the book Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility
by Duane Elmer
Summary of the Book
Books are human beings' lifelong friends because they help sharpen memories, educate,
enlighten, inspire, and, most importantly, act as the storehouse of worldwide information. The
book Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility by Duane Elmer
aligns with the above definition as it plays an integral role in acknowledging the significance of
servanthood while preaching about Christian ideals. In the book, Elmer provides practical ways
that modern-day missionaries can serve humanity. In fact, Elmer asserts that serving as
missionaries and Christian servants across cultures, it is imperative to consider humility and
sensitivity as critical attributes of service. The author begins by arguing that servanthood can be
tiring, demanding, a burden, and sometimes challenging. He delves deeper into highlighting how
overwhelming servanthood can be when serving in other cultures. Elmer agrees that when
serving in cross geographical cultures, understanding the weight of the calling and engaging in a
relational and multi-dimensional approach can offer reprieve to missionaries. It is imperative to
highlight that the book advocates for relational focus in servanthood, stressing the need for
missionaries to concentrate on beings servants for Christ. Different methods of communication
and approaching people in foreign cultures are discussed, with examples derived from Jesus's
ways of servanthood given. In 14 chapters divided into three groups, Elmer tells the audience
that the first role model for servants is Jesus Chris, stressing the importance of humility,
dedication, and the desire to win more people for Christ.
Most importantly, Elmer argues that in servanthood, missionaries have to follow the example of
Christ in His humble servant role and not in his life as Lord and as Christ, which is a basic
1 Elmer, Duane. Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility. Pp. 23, 178
perspective towards servanthood. The basic perspectives of cultural sensitivity and faithfulness
to the scriptures are discussed. The second part talks about "The Process," where skills that
enhance servanthood are discussed in detail. In the third and the final part, chapters discussing
the challenges servants face are provided with more emphasis on how speech, mentality, and
behavior can be used to navigate through the challenges by modern-day ministers. It is an ideal
book that educates, enlightens, and informs missionaries as well as other Christian servants who
serve people in different cultures.
Analysis of the Book
An in-depth analysis of Elmer's book confines to a reader the significance of following in
the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who remains the ideal role model for those who want to change the
world positively through Christianity and the entirety of its structures. The most important
attribute of the book is that it provides an avenue for missionaries and other ministers of the
Word to understand the mechanisms of working as cross-cultural servants. From a personal point
of view, human beings live in a world where caring and helping each other is indispensable. In
fact, Elmer provides relational and adjustment competency skills to practicing and aspiring
Christian ministers and missionaries on the importance of embracing humility while serving. The
fact that Elmer recognizes the existence of different cultures and discusses the importance of
understanding the needs of those cultures as ministers seek to empower people with the Word
makes the book interesting and worth reading. Elmer's book discusses the reason as to why
ministers and missionaries should follow the example of Jesus and his humble and humane
By following the deeds of Christ, chances are high that they will be able to thrive in
foreign and diverse cultures to the advantage of the entire world and the church as a whole. It is
2 Ibid 56
3 Elmer, Duane. Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility. Pp.23
apparent that ministers have to prophesy the importance of being faithful to the scriptures. This
attribute resonates well with Christian ideals that enhance the contextualization of Christianity
across different cultural spheres. Some of the relevant facts that are identifiable in the book that
Christians, leaders across cultures and across religions, and ministers of the Word of God can
relate with include; openness, the ability to accept others, trust, forgiveness, avoiding negative
stereotypes and prejudice, understanding and being of service to humanity. All the above skills
and concepts coined in individual ability to navigate challenges promote servanthood in mission
works and all ministering processes.
After reading the book, I have created a relational picture reflecting on how the book can
effectively influence missionary works and ministerial responsibilities in Christianity and
beyond. I find the book inspiring and educative. It stresses the significance of relational and
adjustment competency necessary as ministers, missionaries, and Christian workers seek to reach
people from diverse cultures. I have learned that working with people from different cultures
requires a humble approach that should be defined by openness, trust, forgiveness, and the desire
to serve humanity irrespective of the challenges. I have learned that stereotypes and prejudice
can hinder the success of missionaries besides understanding the importance of following the
humble was of Jesus, the servant. It is an important book in Christian cross-cultural work and an
important resource for leaders from all spheres of life.
4 Ibid pp. 32
5 Ibid pp. 39-146
Although different concepts can be applied to Christian ministerial works, service and its
value to leadership are paramount. By combining service and leadership, cross-cultural
servanthood is developed, allowing missionaries to succeed in their work. The concept of service
also enables missionaries to effectively navigate through challenges by adhering to the ideals of
honesty, forgiveness, openness, and desire to serve humanity. Since cross-cultural servant
requires practice, it is imperative to highlight that God has a purpose and a significant role for
every missionary or minister. Applying the service concept unlocks the potential to deliver unto
everyone's calling.
Elmer, Duane. Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility. Downers
Grove, Illinois: IVP Books, 2006.
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