The idea implicit in the term cross-cultural ministryis that Christians must minister across cultures to be effective witnesses of Jesus Christ. The passing of two millennia of Christian history has proven that Jesus Christ has universal appeal, in that people from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds become believers in Him. Because Christ has universal appeal, the gospel about Jesus Christ is for people of every ethnic and cultural distinction. Therefore, all truly “Christian” preaching, teaching, and witnessing, by their very nature, traverse cultures.
The term culture, as defined generally, is the customary beliefs, social order, and material traits of any group of people perceived to belong to the same community or nation. All cultures have both good and bad characteristics, but the aim of the gospel is to make all people Christians (disciples of Jesus Christ), regardless of their cultural heritage. While political and social multiculturalism tends to divide people by accentuating their cultural differences, cross-cultural ministry brings people together by accentuating what all believers in Christ have in common.
Cross-cultural ministry calls all people to become Christians; and it emphasizes what all believers in Christ have in common – our shared salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul, writing to the Christians at Ephesus, emphasized the sevenfold unity of all believers in Christ: (1) one body, the Church, the body of Christ; (2) one Spirit, who is the Holy Spirit; (3) one hope of our calling, eternal life with Christ; (4) one Lord, who is Jesus Christ; (5) one faith,our shared faith in Christ; (6) one baptism, into Christ, signified by baptism in water; and (7) one God and Father of all (Eph. 4:4-6).