Ambassadors Crossing Cultural Distance

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There are so many assumptions about how easy or hard it is to work cross-culturally. Many times we focus on language, physical distance or cultural barriers when making our assessments. But the last one is the toughest because it can seem very intangible. Take a moment to explore a new vocabulary for understanding cultural distance that will transform how you think, plan and strategize for mission.

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NOTE: This Missiographic is the third in a series of 3 infographics on issues related to global mobilization developed for the Center for Mission Mobilization. The first and second in the series can be found here at New Harvesters and Who Is My New Neighbor?.

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Engage Through Prayer

Dear God, thank you for challenging us to cross cultures as your ambassadors. We know it is a hard job with many challenges and we know that you promise to give us strength. Prepare us this day to represent you well across the many cultures of this world that all may hear and know your love.  Amen


Personal Reflection

There are many ways you might be involved in cross-cultural mission. Whatever your role, how might the concept of “Cultural Mileage” help you to better fulfill that God-given role? Do you understand the significance of the cultural difference between the cultures you are engaged with? How are you responding to those differences? How might a sense of “Cultural Mileage” help you think in new ways about reaching out in the culture God has put on your heart? Go to to compare your home country with the country you are engaging.

Engaging the Church 

Many times in the Church we treat all cross-cultural experiences as the same. Whether it is a short-term trip or investment in a long-term worker, we assume that crossing one culture is much like crossing another. But in fact the concept of “Cultural Mileage” shows that those differences can really be, well, different. This will impact the amount of training needed, the time to become integrated in a new culture, the response of those in the culture to the team or worker. How can you take the “Cultural Mileage” into account as you assess where to go and what preparations or support are needed as people go?

Organizational Application 

Your organization probably works in very specific geographic places. Are you aware of the “Cultural Mileage” between the country where your headquarters, financial supporters and/or workers are from and the countries where your work is done? This has huge implications for relationship building, partnerships, organizational development, etc. And for all of you out there who serve on multi-cultural teams, knowing the “Cultural Mileage” between the various members of your team will help you to better engage with those who you work with on a regular basis.

 Good information is key for any individual or ministry. For more insights look at


The Hofstede Centre

For more examples of Cultural Mileage and to apply the calculations to specific countries, download this Excel document.


The representation of this data is copyrighted by the Center for Mission Mobilization (CMM) and the information within is used by permission. GMI is sharing this visualization as a Missiographic with permission. Anyone seeking rights to utilize this infographic must receive permission from CMM. Please visit the CMM website for more information at