Continuing IDI Work

by | Aug 24, 2022

“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 Bang

Associate for Ministry Development Business Manager