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5 Common Cultural Differences

Things to remember when reaching out across cultural lines.

Our newest download is designed to help you equip yourself and others in your church for outreach to other faiths. Often the barriers we face in doing this aren't just religious–they're cultural. Below are five cultural barriers a Westerner should look out for.

Event Time vs. Clock Time

In his book A Geography of Time, Robert Levine explores the role of industrialization in how a culture views time. According to Levine, industrialization promotes an ethos of producing and consuming. As a result, people in those cultures live by "clock time." Punctuality and efficiency rule the day. In contrast, less-industrialized cultures are far more interested in emphasizing the priority and obligation of social relationships. Levine refers to these cultures as "event-time" cultures. Events begin and end when all the participants feel the time is right rather than artificially imposing clock time.

What's the time orientation of the people you're hoping to reach out to? Understanding alone can't prepare ...

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