Write a paragraph describing the positive and negative forces that have contributed to your worldview. How was Central involved in your worldview development?
Two major forces which contributed to my worldview include the family environment which I was raised in and the impact of being exposed to foreign missions at a very young age. Growing up in Christian home and a charismatic church congregation shaped my thought construct initially in a positive way. My passion and zeal for God were encouraged and I was provided with many opportunities for expression in the church environment which enveloped me. A negative force resulting from this was a perception of other Christians of different denominations as “less Christian.” It was a blessing that God had simultaneously planted a strong seed of missions work inside of me because it helped to counteract my tendency toward exclusivity. This desire to engage cultures different than my own with the Gospel first spurred my true interaction with a different denominational concept of Christianity. After my initial exposure to the Restoration Movement, I had my worldview further stretched by joining a interdenominational missions organization. Finally Central has played a key role in developing my worldview especially regarding how to exegete the Scriptures. It has also helped me to solidify my own faith and understand the essential need for balance in my Christian walk in order to stand for the truth and walk in love.
2. Describe how you have been uniquely prepared for your ministry role through cultural forces. What culture (s) are you most effective in as a leader?
God has taken me through experiencing a diversity of cultures (rural, urban, western, eastern, conservative and liberal) in order to shape me away from my natural tendency toward extremity. As a Christian leader, I can choose to see all sides of the story and pray for wisdom in decisions moving forward with that knowledge. Understanding the culture that has shaped me gives me perspective into the reality that everyone is similar to me in this way. The key is for me to uncover what has shaped others in order to better relate to them for the purpose of allowing the Gospel to be shared without inhibitors. My international experience along with multi-denominational exposure formed an empathy within me which would not have been developed if I had stayed within my own Christian subculture. My battles with depression and mental health have opened up a realm of culture I previously had no ability to relate with and understand. Most of all, God has taken my American culture and peeled it back for me to evaluate its weavings in my life so that I can identify and change the parts that clash with His Kingdom.
While I feel capable as a leader in many cultures (as I have had the privilege of working in so many), I can see that God has equipped me to lead most effectively in rural Midwestern America. Relational environments are what I...