In March it was projected that Latinos would become the largest ethnic or racial population in California. The year 2042 is now a well known marker for when experts project that whites will be the statistical minority in the U.S.
Our current reality is that more and more people live at the crossroads, the intersection of peoples and nations from all over the world. People are only beginning to realize the unique kind of intelligence, skills, and abilities necessary to live and lead effectively at the crossroads.
Awareness of Our Assumptions
Just the other day I was talking with a student who said, “I asked another student what they were doing for Easter. They told me they were Buddhist. I sometimes forget not everyone shares my beliefs. I’m so quick to assume they must be like me because we go to the same school.”
The important thing is that she did become aware of her assumptions. In that moment I thought, I probably would have made the same assumption and asked a similar question about Easter.
More and more I hear people asking: “How do I interact with those that are different from me?”
“How do I apply leadership principles with a diverse leadership team?” “How does this key idea translate in diverse contexts?”
“How do I talk about my faith with those who don’t come from a Christian cultural background?”
These are important questions that do not always get good answers.
More Than Just Race
The intersection of cultures cannot be understood as only two ethnicities trying to work together. Cultural differences also include difference in age, gender, and socio-economic status. Cultural differences are also felt between organizations and denominations. These are differences all of us encounter.
The great thing is that cultural intelligence (CQ) is useful in navigating the complexity of crossing all of these boundaries of diversity.
The business world already acknowledges the immediate and pressing need to develop cultural intelligence in its leaders, workers, and organizational systems and structures as a whole. However, the church has yet to really enter more fully into the conversation and contribute the unique and empowering vision that has shaped her global mission since the beginning of time.
How to Get Motivated
People only work on developing their cultural intelligence when they have something that compels them to do so.
The demand for a culturally intelligent biblical worldview sometimes gets brushed off by Christians as something only “missionaries” or cross-cultural workers need. That is thinking far too small and actually suggests that people are blind to their own surroundings. It also means that people have yet to grasp the global nature of a biblical worldview.
Christians who are shaped by a biblical worldview of the imago Dei and missio Dei have the kind of motivation that will enable them to be effective and responsible global leaders.
The biblical narrative offers some missing links that ground us in the desire to actually be culturally intelligent. The church offers the hope of Jesus Christ and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to be responsible global leaders in today’s world.
A culturally intelligent biblical worldview is then essential for all Christians since we are all called into God’s mission.
Designed for Connection and Relationship
We do not live and move in isolation from one another. Life by creative design works in dynamic relationship; there is a universal sense of connection and interdependence.
For Christians, our understanding of creation and how the world was formed to be in relationship with God and others, frames our understanding of interconnectedness. Any true collaboration and living out God’s purpose as the new humanity, as God designed and intended it from the beginning, is achievable only in and through Christ.
Ephesians frames the primary source of hope we have in talking about the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile when it says:
“he [Christ] himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility . . . his purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace . . . you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.” (Eph. 2:15-19)
Motivated For Mission
Anyone leading at the crossroads has to be intentional and committed to upholding the highest standards of truth and love while pushing people always to consider the context. We are called to be God’s image bearers and image restorers in all communities and to all people with whom we work.
Christians who are motivated by this kind of global vision and biblical worldview can be more effective and responsible as they participate in the mission of God by developing their cultural intelligence. This includes devoting time and attention to practical teaching, appropriate methods, and grounding in a culturally intelligent biblical worldview so the Church may be effective in her mission in this postmodern, urban, and globalized climate.
Questions For Reflection:
What does a biblically based, theologically and missiologically grounded, cultural intelligence look like?
What are the components of a culturally intelligent biblical worldview?
How does becoming immersed in a culturally intelligent biblical worldview compel, fuel, and sustain Christians so they can be effective participants with God’s mission in the world?
 P. Christopher Earley and Elaine Mosakowski, “Cultural Intelligence,” Harvard Business Review (October 2004), http://hbr.org/2004/10/cultural-intelligence/ar/1. See for an early example in business publications. Also, Max Nisen, “CEO’s of the Future Will Need a Different Kind of Intelligence,” Business Insider (October 18, 2012), http://www.businessinsider.com/ceos-need-cultural-intelligence-2012-10. See for another example.
 The Holy Bible Today’s New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005).