Continuing IDI Work

Continuing IDI Work

“When there are no oxen, the stall is clean, but when there is a strong bull, there is abundant produce.” Proverbs 14:4 (CEB)

As Wendy Gist reminded us last week, the Presbytery of San Gabriel is a Matthew 25 Presbytery committed to building congregational vitality, eradicating systemic poverty, and dismantling structural racism. Last summer, many of us in the Presbytery took the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) with the aim of better understanding our own intercultural competence and subsequently our readiness to engage in antiracism work. The group report, based on 43 participants, was presented and explained by EP Wendy Tajima at the September (2021) Presbytery meeting. The report was helpful and well-received and demonstrated IDI’s potential for further use by individuals and groups within the Presbytery.

The IDI is a 50-item questionnaire developed to assess intercultural competence, which they define as “the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities.” The IDI has been psychometrically tested and found to possess strong validity and reliability across diverse cultural groups. It is used by numerous organizations, including the Presbyterian Church (USA), to help assess and develop this important capacity. When a person (or a group) takes the IDI, it generates a customized profile report that identifies one’s primary orientation toward cultural differences and commonalities using the Intercultural Development Continuum.

According to IDI, every orientation offers opportunity to further develop one’s intercultural competence. Rev. Molly Casteel, Assistant Stated Clerk and Manager for Equity and Representation in the Office of the General Assembly and a Qualified IDI Administrator, notes that many Presbyterians, like most groups who take the IDI, are assessed as having “minimizing” mindsets regarding cultural differences and similarities. She believes it is worthwhile to invest in developing intercultural competence: “Engaging intercultural capacities builds community…and intercultural competencies are increasingly becoming an asset.” At an IDI workshop last November at the Moderator’s Conference, it was noted that, “Interculturally competent groups have deeper engagement and more fruitful encounters with one another.

Deeper intercultural competence helps a person understand greater complexity in their own cultures, helping them recognize things that are meaningful to themselves and others.”

The Presbytery of San Gabriel is blessed with diversity; however, harnessing that diversity to produce meaningful fruit can be challenging (and messy, hence the Proverb). Developing our intercultural competence is one way we can continue to foster an equitable and inclusive organizational culture where diversity is valued and engaged. If you, your leadership team, or congregation are interested in using the IDI OR if you took the IDI last year and would like to receive an individual debrief and report, please contact me at sam@sangabpres.org.

Peace,

Sam Bang

Associate for Ministry Development Business Manager

Business Manager and Associate for Ministry Development, Sam Bang

Business Manager and Associate for Ministry Development, Sam Bang

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”       1 Peter 4:10

I originally joined the Presbytery of San Gabriel 14 months ago as an organizer of a new worshipping community – Rowland Heights Presbyterian Fellowship – but have paused that work (for now) and transitioned to serving the Presbytery in different ways. As Wendy briefly mentioned in last week’s EP reflections, I’ve started a second role with the Presbytery as Business Manager. I appreciated that Wendy referred to the role of business manager as a “ministry” for that’s how I feel about the position. I know in principle that any work can be ministry, but in practice, administration (especially paperwork and filing!) can feel a few steps removed from the front lines of being a Matthew 25 church. It has, however, been my experience that administration done well – e.g. creating efficient processes and policies – is a concrete way to help others flourish in their work and that to me is the essence of ministry.

Hence, my priorities as business manager will be to develop simple and effective practices related to the presbytery’s business operation and to do so with transparency, accountability, and collegiality. I welcome your wisdom and prayers and look forward to serving the presbytery in this role.

My other role with the presbytery is that of Associate for Ministry Development, a quarter-time position I started in January. The primary purpose of this position is to support the development of current churches, leaders, and new worshiping communities, consistent with the Presbytery’s priorities. I will be consulting with churches and presbytery leaders in the areas of congregational vitality, leadership training, anti-racism efforts, and other subjects as needed. The Associate for Ministry Development also serves as the staff-liaison for the Education, Equipping, and Empowerment committee and works to support leadership development programs like Tapestry. Since this is a quarter-time position, I will work close with Wendy and Ally to identify and prioritize the most urgent needs within the Presbytery. Once again, I welcome your advice and invite you to contact me if I can be of service to you and your church in any of the above-mentioned areas. 

I am grateful for the privilege of working with a great team (Wendy T., Ally, Wendy G., Diane, and Steve) in a presbytery that is teeming with diversity and potential. I look forward to meeting many of you in person this year as we all pull together to serve the body of Christ through these challenging times.

Gratefully,
Sam Bang