In this video Trellis board co-chairs Kirsten Waldschmidt & Shelly Broad ask Yolande Sabeni & Linda Iwanski of Green Timbers Covenant Church about their church’s conference to grow their community’s intercultural competence.

Developing Intercultural Intelligence in Surrey, BC

In 2017 Green Timbers Covenant Church received a Trellis grant for a weekend conference intended to develop their congregation’s intercultural competence and better equip them to love diverse neighbours in their context. Arising from an appreciative inquiry, Green Timbers is seeking to increase their people’s self-awareness and capacity to listen, communicate about Jesus effectively, and love well in the midst of cultural differences.

The Intercultural Development Inventory [IDI] provided a frame for the weekend, each person who participated completed the IDI’s 50-item online questionnaire. The IDI then developed a profile of the organization and its subgroups (worship team, leadership team, youth, etc.).

“We are thankful for the opportunity to invest in our Intercultural Competence,” says grant applicant Andy Sebanc, who is Green Timbers’ senior pastor. “It came at a great time for our body. With a change of staff that year, we had an influx of new members many of whom are Africans. For our new African parishioners this IDI weekend was a real assurance that we desire to be an inclusive, loving and diverse body of believers.”

Dr. Paul De Neui from the Center of World Christian Studies at North Park, a trained facilitator of the IDI, and Deborah Penny from North Park Seminary (pictured at right, speaking at the conference) came to Surrey for a weekend designed to help Green Timbers learn from this profile about how they are doing as an organization and how they can improve. The weekend’s aim was to develop a plan that will move Green Timbers’ community further down the continuum of Intercultural Development and increase their ability to lead, minister and communicate effectively and sensitively in our diverse world in a way that will share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“We did not score nearly as ‘well’ on the IDI as we thought we would,” Sebanc admits. “Being aware that we are overestimating our ability to relate cross-culturally makes us look at who we are and what we are doing. I believe this has helped the church realize that we must be intentional about our being together.” Sebanc continues, “It is not enough to simply worship together, we must get to know each other. We must risk vulnerability to have hard conversations. We have to be willing to let go of some things that we consider important and we must understand what truly is important.”

Emmanuel Covenant Church also participated in the IDI and weekend. Eric Hedberg, pastor of Emmanuel said, “Our IDI weekend with Green Timbers was an incredibly valuable opportunity for all from Emmanuel who were able to attend. It gave us language to pursue one of our church’s visionary initiatives of serving our changing community. We learned a lot as a group and we learned a lot as individuals. I look forward to seeing the ways this jump starts some new ministry opportunities at Emmanuel.”

To learn more about the IDI and developing your church’s intercultural intelligence, visit or drop Green Timbers Covenant a line.

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