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I060 Cross-Cultural Communication

Didasko Academy

About This Course

I consider this [Cross-Cultural Communication] course one the most important course that Didasko offers ... It is a comprehensive and practical course that has equipped me to be prepared thoroughly for [the] mission field, knowing some of the challenges to expect and how to overcome them and become an effective communicator of the gospel in missions (Bob Maepe, 2024).

In this course, you will learn how to communicate the gospel cross-culturally and how to interpret cultural clues to help you communicate effectively in the context in which you are ministering.

• This course will help you to understand the principles and processes of effective communication.

• You will learn that cultural differences have implications for effective communication.

• You will achieve a better understanding of the principle of incarnation, being able to apply Jesus’s example when taking the gospel across cultural barriers.

• You will realise that cross-cultural communication principles have implications for both lifestyle and ministry in whatever cultural situation you find yourself in.

This course has four modules, described below. If you wish to see a detailed outline of the course, click on the blue “View Course” button above.

Module 1: Basics of Culture

This module covers aspects of culture that are important to help missionaries better understand cross-cultural communication.

As a missionary, you need to navigate between three cultures; your own culture, the host culture and the culture of the Bible. You will have to learn not to be ethnocentric – seeing your own culture as inherently superior to theirs.

One challenge as a missionary is to learn to adapt to your new culture’s values and habits without compromising the gospel message. You will also have to adapt the way you communicate to fit with what they prefer.

Module 2: Communication Theory

This module looks at how communication works in the context of culture. Communication is simple in your own culture and language, because people have the same language and cultural frame of reference. Communicating cross-culturally has huge challenges, with many possibilities of miss-communication. Understanding communication principles makes it easier to overcome these barriers and avoid the pitfalls.

The communication process in general includes the primary communicator, the message and the audience. In cross-cultural situations the meaning of the same message can change drastically because of the context, language barriers and different worldviews. Therefore, it is very important to remember that ultimately, the audience determines the meaning of the message.

Module 3: Communicating in Different Contexts

How people think and learn has a profound effect on how they communicate. We as missionaries need to adapt our way of teaching to the people’s way of learning. There are mainly three types of thinking: analytical, intuitive and concrete-relational. Each type requires its own unique approach and we as missionaries should adapt our teaching approach to fit their preferences.

75% of all people are oral learners. The best way to effectively communicate with them is through storytelling, music, dramas, questions and riddles.

Most Westerners are direct communicators and give direct feedback. Many other cultures prefer to give feedback indirectly through a third party which may cause offence.

Module 4: Christ’s Communicators

Missionaries should follow Jesus’s example. Just as He entered into another culture (earth) with a message, missionaries also cross cultures with a message. With the help of the Holy Spirit we should try to emulate Him – His humility, His obedience, His servant hood, and His love and compassion for people.

Learning the culture and language to ministry-level proficiency is the basis of effective communication. Research has found that ministering in the heart language of the people tends to result in good fruit. Communication can be verbal or non-verbal, with non-verbal often being more important than verbal. Communicating non-verbally includes gestures, facial expressions, how you dress and so on.

Missionaries should always be bold, but also sensitive when they present the gospel.

Please share this course with friends

If you are excited about this course, please tell a friend. You can promote this course by clicking on one of the social media icons right at the bottom of this page. Why don’t you invite them to do the course with you?


The course is self-paced, and you can go through the content at your own pace. In the course you will find videos, discussion opportunities, and activities. At the end of the course there is a final assessment and an opinion survey. If you pass this final assessment, you will be able to generate your digitally signed certificate.


We recommend completing at least Missions 101 and/or the course Understanding Culture – for the sake of the gospel, before doing this course.

Course Staff

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you familiar with online learning and ready to get started with the course right now? If you have already registered on Didasko, click on the “Sign in” button at the top of the page. To register, click on the “Register” button.

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.


Please note that most of the video transcripts have been machine-translated and will contain language errors. We are actively looking for volunteers to do translations. If you are interested in volunteering, please click here


Please take a moment to introduce yourself to other learners using the course’s Discussion forum.

Again, thank you so much for joining us in this course. We hope you will enjoy it, and hear God’s voice as you progress.

Grace and peace,

Henry Vermont, PhD

(Ministry Director, Didasko)