Recently I taught a seminary course on global leadership. Most of the students were successful senior pastors who knew about coaching and missions so I read some textbooks that were used in their other courses. Glocalization, by Bob Roberts, Jr. is one of those books. It reminded me that coaches, counselors, academics, business people and other leaders can learn from the experiences of pioneers in global and local missions. Here are some highlights:
- Glocalization is a term indicating that we cannot divorce global perspectives from what happens in local settings. No longer do knowledgeable leaders separate what happens locally from what’s global.
- Quickly fading is the old model of the white, Western expert or church group going abroad to tell others what to believe, how to do church and how to lead. More effective is going as partners and servants with pre-trip knowledge of the places we will visit and an ability to relate cross-culturally, in part based on doing this in our own neighborhoods. “We must leave behind models of the church [or of leadership and education] that focus on a superstar speaker, singer, educator or shepherd. Instead glocalization involves everyone, center stage.”
- Glocalization also builds longer-term cross-cultural relationships instead of quick-trip in-and-out visits with no follow-up.
- This is not the old social gospel that ignores a personal relationship with Christ. Glocalization involves learning about other cultures—their histories, worldviews and unique characteristics. Glocalization is showing respect and serving without promoting an agenda. Even so it lets others see that we are Christ followers, even when we go as business people, teachers or people helpers.
- Roberts concludes his book by arguing that a danger of glocalization is in doing this with our own strength and creativity. Instead we need to accept and reflect the belief that the Holy Spirit is present wherever we go. He leads the way, giving us opportunities to teach, encourage and show that we are Christians by the way we live and relate (See Acts 11:19-26).
The glocalization concept inspires and motivates me. Increasingly I want it to characterize me. What about you? Please comment about your reaction.