Crossing the Cultural Boundary

Page topper image panel Crossing the Cultural Boundaries

Crossing the Cultural Boundary

Learning to understand the world of children and young people


“Every person carries within him – or herself – patterns of thinking, feeling and potential acting that were learned throughout the person’s lifetime. Much of it was acquired in early childhood, because at that time a person is most susceptible to learning and assimilating. As soon as certain patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting have established themselves within a person’s mind, he or she must unlearn these patterns before being able to learn something different, and unlearning is more difficult than learning for the first time.”Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind – Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. p.4-5.


Drawing on the work of researchers such as Hofstede, Hiebert, Lingenfelter, and Elmer* and from his experience as a CMS Missionary and now in his role as Head of the Department of Mission at Moore Theological College, Rev. Simon Gillham will help us to understand cultural differences as a way of informing how we come to a deeper understanding of our own values structures and those of the students we teach. As educators it is becoming increasingly important that we have a rich understanding of the cultural forces and the underlying symbols, heroes, rituals, values, and practices that have shaped and are shaping our young people. This webinar is designed to assist educators to understand our culture and that of our students, learn how to communicate with clarity and be able to understand the lifeworld of our students, so that we are equipped with the tools to shape our context, our pastoral programs and our promotion of the gospel to impact our schools and colleges for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Gert Hofstede, Paul Hiebert, Sherwood G. Lingenfelter & Duane Elmer


Speaker: Rev Dr Simon Gillham

Rev Dr Simon Gillham is Head of Department of Mission, Director of the Centre for Global Mission at Moore Theological College. Before coming to Moore Simon was Principal at Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary and before that was a pastor and church planter in both FIEC and Anglican churches in the Hunter Valley. Simon and his wife Margie are part of Bossley Park Anglican Church and love sharing fellowship with brothers and sisters from all kinds of cultural backgrounds. In their spare time they also enjoy motorbike riding and sailing. Simon is married to Margie, and they have two children: Maddie and Noah. His research interests include cross-cultural ministry and mission, and the development of models for theological education.

Video Recording

Q&A Video Recording

Further Reading for Teacher Identified Professional Learning

Below you will find the readings that Rev Simon Gillham has identified as further reading. These readings will give you further insight into the content of the evening and will be valuable to inform your thinking.

1. Elmer, D. (2006). Humility: Posture of the Servant (Chapter 3). In Cross-cultural servanthood: Serving the world in Christlike humility. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

2. Elmer, D. (2006). Understanding: Seeing Through the Other’s Eyes (Chapter 9). In Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

3. Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., & Minkov, M. (2010). The Rules of the Social Game (Chapter 1). In Cultures and Organizations – Software of the Mind: Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival (3rd ed.) New York, United States: McGraw-Hill.

4. Livermore, D.A. (2009). Cultural intelligence: Improving your CQ to engage our multicultural world. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

5. Paine, D.R., Jankowski, P.J. & Sandage, S..J. (2016). 'Humility as a predictor of intercultural competence: Mediator effects for differentiation-of-self'. In The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families. 24 (1): 7-32.

6. Palmer, P.J. (1993). To know as we are known: Education as a spiritual journey. New York: HarperCollins.

7. Smith, D.I. (2018). On Christian teaching: Practicing faith in the classroom. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co.


Additional Resources

Rev Gillham has provided two questionnaires that may be useful for you to download:

1. Lingenfelter & Mayers Questionnaire - This questionnaire will help you to assess your own cultural values. 

2. Cross-cultural Questionnaire - This questionnaire developed by Rev Gillham will help students get to know someone from another culture.