The Culturally Intelligent Leader

“Developing multiethnic communities in a multicultural age”

Hirpo Kumbi

ISBN: 9781909728738

224 Pages

Published Aug 2017

Mission and Leadership

Paperback £8.99 Kindle £5.99
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What kind of leader is needed in a multicultural, multiethnic age?

What is cultural intelligence and why is it essential to the future growth of the church?

Why may third-culture children be the ablest leaders of tomorrow?

In The Culturally Intelligent Leader, Hirpo Kumbi offers thought-provoking, practical answers to all these questions and more.

Skillfully highlighting the challenges and opportunities that an increasingly multicultural Western society presents, he shows why leaders from all backgrounds need to learn to work together across cultural divides. Whether rooted in the host culture or working amongst new immigrant communities, indigenous leaders and reverse missionaries alike will need to adapt to reach the next generation and fully engage with the New Testament’s model of intercultural mission.

With many years’ mission experience working amongst multiethnic communities in multicultural settings, Hirpo Kumbi is a vital voice to the leaders of today planting churches for tomorrow.

  • This book makes a vital contribution to the missional conversation. There is a prophetic edge to its visionary call for new kinds of leadership teams and leaders to be mentored and developed. These leaders need to come from partnerships forged across cultures from different ethnic churches. The goal, says Kumbi, is to plant multi-ethnic churches which are led by a cross-section of culturally diverse leaders in order to represent the multicultural diversity of the kingdom of God. The multicultural tapestry of the West means the world is on our doorstep. In order to represent the power of the Spirit of Christ to unite peoples in their diversity, we need to equip, train and mentor leaders who can work together in culturally intelligent ways to help establish these fresh expressions of church.

    Rev Dr Andy Hardy, Undergraduate Programme Director, ForMission College
  • This is a must read for any leaders who are grappling with how indigenous and ethnic churches engage in mission in multicultural contexts. The book pulls no punches in identifying key issues, such as the default tendency towards monoculturalism in migrant and white churches, often making them irrelevant to their local communities.

    It particularly challenges leaders to discover a new vision of what a multicultural church community could be like, and calls on them to think outside the box and work creatively together with others from different ethnicities. Hirpo Kumbi writes with passion and great insight, reflecting his experience and thorough research. This book is very timely in the current social and political climate; it offers hope and clear direction for the future.

    Paul Lancaster, Founder of Hope for the Nations (Leeds) and Interact (Institute of Intercultural Learning and Action)
  • In The Culturally Intelligent Leader, Hirpo Kumbi presents a compelling vision of multi-ethnic communities that is at once stirring and realistic. Drawing on his own extensive experience and successful track record in church planting, he gives a sober articulation of the problems and challenges, then proceeds to chart possible pathways towards workable solutions. Starting from a clear theological foundation he interweaves theory with practice. Here we find a realistic and comprehensive analysis of the special issues faced by multi-ethnic leadership teams and practical strategies for working through those issues. His very helpful sections on reverse mission and mentoring address matters of sustainability for the vision, completing a most valuable handbook for every missional leader working in todays multicultural environment.

    Rick Lewis, Anamcara Consulting, Sydney, Australia
  • It is paramount for all forms of Christian leadership to be aware of the new paradigms of mission and ministry that continue to shape the 21st century. The old Christendom mission narratives of the West to the rest continue to crumble, thus providing opportunities for us to appropriate new, fresh expressions of missional partnerships.

    This equally affords us the privilege to welcome and engage with various key missional leaders from the majority world. As my dear friend and colleague, I believe that Hirpo is one of these key leaders. He has willingly embraced and developed a reverse mission paradigm and then taught other leaders to follow. It has been a privilege to observe him model the kind of cultural intelligence he expresses within this text.

    This important, timely and prophetic work seeks to foster a way of enabling, challenging, provoking, and retooling this new generation of leadership who continue to arrive and work in our Western post-Christian context. As he honestly notes, this is no easy journey, as there is unlearning as well as new learning that must inform and shape current and emerging leadership.

    The Christian faith has always had a world-wide focus, and it is as we together express this intentionally, strategically and contextually that will we discover what the Spirit of God is saying to us in our generation.

    It is therefore a pleasure and delight to recommend this vitally important text for your consideration and action.

    Rev Dan Yarnell, National Co-ordinator, the Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Great Britain and Ireland; Senior lecturer at ForMission College
  • There are encouraging signs of a turnaround in the fortunes of the evangelical church in the UK. After decades of numerical decline, some mainstream denominations are beginning to see a halt to the loss of members, and there are even signs of growth. In the meantime, charismatic and independent churches have been experiencing growth, and it was not so long ago that a newspaper headlined a surprise statement that more churches are currently being opened than branches of Starbucks.

    The good news is that numerical growth is accompanied by more serious social engagement. The church, until recently on the sidelines, is coming in from the cold. Leading the charge is the impressive variety of diaspora churches founded by ethnic minorities arriving on our shores. It is to these "reverse missionaries" that so much of the churchs growth is owed and these church leaders are injecting a new vitality into the Christian scene.

    The Culturally Intelligent Leader is a long-awaited contribution to the ongoing dialogue on so-called "reverse mission" and the impact of this new brand of church leaders. It offers a recipe for rendering this new mission force even more effective, and it is welcome not least because its author, my friend Hirpo Kumbi, is himself a practitioner from Africa who has become a British citizen as part of his commitment to being a culturally intelligent leader.

    Dr Richard Whitehouse, church planter and author
  • In The Culturally Intelligent Leader, Hirpo Kumbi has drawn our attention to an issue that needs our urgent action: how do we as followers of Christ respond to the cultural diversity that shapes our congregations, our communities and the wider world around us? He is eloquent in his speech and yet very gentle in his rebuke. Christ broke the walls of separation; why is it normal for His body to be segregated in worship? Hirpo rightly argues that critical to our response will be the issue of leadership. For many of us, leading in truly multicultural settings is uncharted territory. Hirpo provides us with the tools to navigate this new reality effectively. This is a book that every leader in a multicultural church, or one located in a changing neighbourhood, or even any leader who is forward-thinking enough to realise that the future will be multicultural, has to read.

    Dr Harvey C Kwiyani, Executive Director, Missio Africanus; Lecturer, Liverpool Hope University; author

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