Petition Process for a
Waiver of Curriculum Requirement Course, "Cross-Cultural Ministry Experience"
Course Description for Cross-Cultural Experiences
CC1610 - CC1650 (.5 credit)
A two to three-week supervised immersion experience in an unfamiliar ethnic or socio-economic community. Small groups of students participate in congregational life, explore neighborhoods, engage in dialogue, and live (where possible) with people/families in the cultural setting. The experience is designed to help students gain self-knowledge as well as cross-cultural understanding, explore and reflect on theological themes while reflecting on implications for ministry, and learn basic values and sensitivities in order to develop effective cross-cultural ministry in a diverse and multicultural world.
Waiver of Cross-Cultural Experiences
On rare occasions, a student may choose to waive the curriculum course requirement of a Cross-Cultural Experience due to a previous learning experience that meets or exceeds the Essential Requirements and Envisioned Competencies listed below. Please Note: By policy of the seminary, students who petition to waive any course (and the waiver is approved) are then required to register for another course of their choosing. A waiver will not avoid paying tuition for the required number of courses to fulfill your degree plan. It will only earn the privilege to take a different course.
Process for Waiver
- Examine the information below and see if the previous experience that you have completed will fulfill the criteria and stipulations for this curriculum requirement.
- If you think your experience fulfills essential requirements, please contact and visit with the Director of Cross-Cultural Education for consultation and further information on how to proceed.
- You will be asked to fill out a petition form online (at the end of this document) for your Waiver proposal and send it to the Director. After the Director receives your waiver petition, you may be invited to revise or clarify you petition before it is forwarded to the Cross-Cultural Staff.
- The Cross-Cultural Work Group will vote on your proposal and you will be notified of the decision.
- If your waiver petition is approved, the Director will inform the Registrar of this decision and you will then be able choose a different course to fulfill the required number of courses for your degree plan.
Deadline for your Waiver Petition
The deadline for submitting your waiver petition is October 1 during the Fall Semester and March 15 during the Spring Semester. Petitions received after these deadlines will not be considered until the next cycle (Fall or Spring).
Please note: If your waiver is not approved, then you will need sufficient time to choose an approved Cross-Cultural Experience. These deadlines should allow for adequate time to make this choice and complete the process of fulfilling this curriculum requirement.
Unsuitable Previous CC Experiences or Sites
The following previous experiences or sites WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED by the Cross-Cultural Staff for waiving the curriculum requirement:
- Any site or context that was culturally familiar to the student
- Any length of stay on a cultural site that was less than 14 days
- Any site where there was no cross-cultural ministry being done
- Any experience where the focus was not on learning knowledge and skills for Cross-Culture mission and ministry
- Any site where there was no engagement with local people or ministry leaders in the unfamiliar context
- Experiences where you led or managed "mission trips" or work experiences for others
- Experiences where there is no local contextual supervision or leadership by those doing ministry in the designated context
- Any site where there were no sessions or commitment for consistent and regular theological reflection during the experience
- Seminary Internship Experiences or other curricular and/or non-credit bearing requirements (such as CPE or Diaconal Project)
Essential Requirements for Waiver of Cross-Cultural Experiences
Since the M.Div. curriculum is focused on Christian ministry, cross-cultural experiences are to be focused on mission and ministry concerns, knowledge, and skills in the unfamiliar culture. While it is essential to learn about the content of an unfamiliar culture, the focus of any Cross-cultural Experience course is to learn about implications for mission and ministry in the culture and context visited.
- The experience had to be completed in a cultural context different from a student's formative culture or any with which the student was already very familiar.
- The experience ONSITE had to be AT LEAST two weeks (14 days) in length, in a ministry context where the student lived, studied, reflected, worshipped, and engaged with people of that different cultural context.
- The experience must have been done under the supervision or leadership of a member of the Luther Seminary faculty, or designated adjunct faculty, or practicing & knowledgeable pastor at the site.
- The previous experience must have been focused on learning and experiencing mission and ministry in an unfamiliar culture. Leadership and/or management of "mission trips," work groups, or group immersion experiences for others do not satisfy this requirement for a waiver.
- The experience must have involved substantial theological reflection on mission and ministry in the culture visited with a faculty member, designated adjunct faculty, or practicing &knowledgeable pastor.
Envisioned Competencies for All CC Experiences - Past or Present
A. Deepened Attitudes of Openness and Learning:
- Student will develop a growing willingness to listen to and explore the unfamiliar cultural context as well as have one's own Christian life and theology questioned by Christians of other cultures.
- Student will develop appreciation for different articulations and manifestations of the Christian faith.
- Student will develop curiosity about theology as expressed in other cultural contexts.
- Student will develop a willingness to reassess one's own understanding of Christian mission and ministry in a different cultural context.
B. Increased Knowledge:
- Student will develop a basic awareness of the meaning of the concepts of "culture," and "subjective culture" in a particular context.
- Student will learn how history of the context has shaped the present ministry.
- Student will come to a basic understanding of how effective ministry is practiced by a Christian community in a particular cultural context and learn some of the contributions of visited culture to the church.
- Student will develop a general understanding of how cultural sensitivity might be developed in an unfamiliar context.
- Student will develop a basic understanding of how institutional and systemic dimensions of racism and other forms of oppression (such as classism, sexism, and colonialism) are barriers to effective mission and ministry.
- Student will learn how to better deal with ethnocentrism and evaluate patterns of different behavioral patterns within the context of the visited culture.
C. Increased Development of Skills
- Student will learn how to develop relationships with people of another culture and participate in cross-cultural conversations.
- Student will develop the ability to listen with a sensitive ear to different values, perceptions, and world views.
- Student will be able to identify and describe major differences of an unfamiliar culture.
- Student will be able to identify, describe, and evaluate central values or value systems operative in a culture that is different from one's own.
- Student will be able to explore and articulate major theological themes, issues, and concerns of a culture different from one's own and reflect on the implications for Christian mission and ministry.
One of the major tasks of theological education is not only to know the gospel, but also to provide the opportunity for interpreting the culture in which the gospel is to be confessed. Participation in a cross-cultural experience encourages students to take the risk of "being out of control" and encountering a very pluralistic and diverse world as the context for ministry so that they might better learn essential cross-cultural skills for confessing the Christian faith and engaging in effective mission and ministry.
Put another way, the purpose of this experience is to prompt students to ask: "What does the gospel look like in this particular cultural context?" "How might I be faithful to and articulate the gospel in this setting and begin to think about effective ministry?"
- God creates a world in which there are diverse realities of culture, values, beliefs, and patterns of behavior, world views, and religious expression. (Genesis and Acts)
- God's people are called to live and serve in a multicultural world. (Acts 2)
- Differences are to be respected and shared with one another. (I Cor. 12)
- While "Reconciliation" and "New Creation" are common themes, the Gospel does not lead us to be culturally the same. (II Cor. 5:16-20)
- All cultural views are to be examined in the light of the Gospel. (Acts 10 & 11)
1. No one culture can claim superiority in God's created world.
2. In response to God's creation of a diverse world, Christians are called to live in and participate in God's mission (missio Dei) in this multicultural world.
3. Our common humanity is centered in the activity of God, not in our cultural identity; however, cultural differences can enrich any community and opportunities for mission and ministry.
View the Petition for a Waiver of Cross-Cultural Experience.