What is intercultural competence?

With a broad question like, “what is intercultural competence?” one place to start is by forming a working definition.

A working definition of intercultural competence

At AMBS, our Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism team defines intercultural competence as the ability to positively engage patterns of difference and commonality in values, beliefs and practice both within one’s cultural groups and across cultural groups.

This competency is achieved through a developmental process of increasing “cultural self-awareness, understanding the experiences of diverse communities, and the capability to adapt one’s mindset and behavior to bridge across differences” (Mitchell R. Hammer).

Ready to read a bit more?

The AMBS library, in collaboration with the ICUR team, has organized a collection of materials on intercultural competence, undoing racism, intersectionality and other related topics. These resources support the seminary’s vision and strategic priorities. View the ICUR library guide

Additionally, a past issue of Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology, explores ways to think about intercultural competence in the church. From the main editorial: “In every generation the church negotiates the struggle to embody unity of the Spirit while also embracing the diversity that comes with seeking to live out the fullness of the gospel.” Read Vision Vol. 11 No. 1 (2010): Unity and diversity.

Prefer a video about intercultural competence?

Nekeisha Alayna Alexis, Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism coordinator, describes her work at AMBS and how she leads a team in the ongoing work of AMBS’s strategic priority of undoing racism and building intercultural competence throughout the institution. As an independent scholar focused on issues of human and other animal oppression, Alexis also writes and speaks extensively in the areas of Christian theology and ethics, critical animal studies and related issues.

Invite someone to speak

Want to invite a speaker to come talk more about this topic? Invite AMBS is a unique opportunity to invite the faculty and staff of AMBS to come directly to you about many topics, including intercultural competence.

Develop relationships of support

Are you a pastor looking to build relationships and gain support from others who are also navigating important life transitions? Consider joining a Ministry Integrity Circle and work to develop intercultural goals to help you gain the needed insight and skills to navigate in your particular setting. 

Building skills

At AMBS, our academic programs build skills for spiritual growth, intercultural competence, contextual analysis and interpretation, leadership practice, and peacebuilding. 

Ready to join our learning community? 

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Meet the AMBS Admissions Team

From your first inquiry about seminary study to your transition from applicant to student, we’re here to help you.

Photo of Janeen Bertsche Johnson
Janeen Bertsche Johnson, MDiv
Admissions Associate
Teresa Thompson Sherrill
Teresa Thompson Sherrill, MDiv
Enrollment & Financial Aid Specialist
Paul Keim, PhD
Student Services Coordinator
Mary Ann Weber, MA
Director of Enrollment