For a long time I've been convinced that Pastor's in the UK should be trained first and foremost as if they were going overseas in mission. To "do" church in the UK, and therefore implicitly to be involved in witness, is a cross-cultural activity. I'm not particularly thinking of how the ethnic make up of the UK has changed, although that certainly is a factor, but that our culture has changed which means any engagement outside of the church is cross-cultural.
Here's a story to illustrate. An Australian friend commented that some people in his homeland upon encountering a "biblical nativity" scene angrily exclaimed, "would you look at that, these Christians are trying to take over Christmas now!" I think this could as easily happen in Glasgow as Sydney.
Someone recommended I read Jean-Marc Ela's "My faith as an African". I've only read the first chapter but I'm loving it. Here's some quotes to wet your appetite...
"True inculturation of the faith cannot make use of outmoded cultural forms"
"before any experience of faith can be celebrated in community, we have to ask ourselves about symbols and gestures, the attitudes, and the translation of the message we use. Everything must correspond with the center of peoples' lives, taking into account their tradition and history"
"I did not feel called to become the manager of a form of decaying Christianity, bound up in its doctrine and discipline, so I decided to keep my distance from a model of a church designed elsewhere by people who do not know the conditions of the mountain peoples"
You can watch Ela speak here.