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This profile was last updated on 11/12/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Duane H. Elmer

Wrong Dr. Duane H. Elmer?

G. W. Aldeen Chair of Internation...

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
2065 Half Day Road
Deerfield , Illinois 60015
United States


Employment History


  • MA , New Testament Studies
    Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
  • Ph.D. , Education and Cross-Cultural Communications
    Michigan State University
  • education
    Wheaton College
85 Total References
Web References
Our Board | Faith & Learning, 12 Nov 2014 [cached]
Board President Duane Elmer is director of the Ph.D. program in educational studies and is the G. W. Aldeen Chair of International Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. In addition to traveling and teaching in over 75 countries, he has provided cross-cultural training to Fortune 500 companies, relief and development agencies, mission organizations, churches and educational institutions. He has also conducted peace and reconciliation efforts in several countries. Recently, he led faculty development workshops at over 25 European and Middle Eastern schools on the theme of Teaching for Transformation. He has taught at Durban Bible College (Durban, South Africa), Michigan State University and Wheaton College and Graduate School.
GATE Team, 14 April 2014 [cached]
Dr. Duane Elmer (Senior Associate)
Duane is the G. W. Aldeen Chair of International Studies and Mission and Distinguished Professor of Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he has taught for ten years in the Doctor of Philosophy program. Prior to serving at Trinity, he taught for twelve years at Wheaton College, served on the faculty of Missionary Internship (a missionary training agency), pastored a church, and served on the faculty and as principal at the Durban Bible College in South Africa. Duane has had a global ministry as author, lecturer, facilitator, and consultant in international theological education, peace and reconciliation ministry, preparation for intercultural ministry, and interpersonal relationship skills. He has traveled and ministered in about seventy-five nations.
Managing Cross-Cultural Conflict, 1 July 1995 [cached]
Duane Elmer
Edited excerpt reprinted with permission from Cross Cultural Conflict, Building Relationships for Effective Ministry by Duane Elmer (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993). Dr. Elmer is Professor of Christian Education and Educational Ministries, Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL.
Duane Elmer, "Managing Cross-Cultural Conflict," East-West Church & Ministry Report, 3 (Summer 1995), 10-11.
Salty Believer: Cross-Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer, 19 Sept 2013 [cached]
Cross-Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer Salty Believer: Cross-Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer skip to main | skip to sidebar Salty Believer
Cross-Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer
Duane Elmer has traveled and taught in over seventy-five countries, serving as a cross-cultural missionary and teacher. After hearing him lecture on the topic of cross-cultural servanthood, many people have asked Dr. Elmer if his material is in print (14). Cross-Cultural Servanthood is his attempt to put his knowledge and experience into publication after fifteen years of "reading and researching the topic, gathering stacks of articles and ideas and interviewing people in numerous countries" (14). His book "focuses on relational and adjustment competency so that the servant spirit we wish to portray will, in fact, be seen and valued by the local people" (14). Cross-Cultural Servanthood, by Elmer's own words is a book that "examines the process of becoming a cross-cultural servant," drawing from his personal experience to include his failures, the experiences of others from many countries, research, and Scripture (19). In three parts, Elmer addresses a basic overview of servanthood in general, the process of servanthood in other cultures, and a consequences of mixing leadership and servanthood with the previous two parts. His other publications include Cross-Cultural Conflict, Cross-Cultural Connections, and Cross-Cultural Partnerships. Elmer earned a Ph.D. at Michigan State and presently is the G. W. Aldeen Professor of International Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His wife, "born and raised in Zimbabwe with a Canadian mother," offers additional insight and is present in a number of illustrations throughout the book.
In what follows, an overview of Elmer's work will be offered. Significant points and arguments of servanthood and culture made by Elmer will be summarized as they develop through the three parts of the book. Following the summary is an examination and analysis of the author's work proceeded by a brief conclusion.
BRIEF SUMMARY Cross-Cultural Servanthood is ultimately about servanthood in the form of mission and evangelism work. From the first page of his book, Elmer opens with an illustration of understanding cultural differences. It may have been his first real understanding (or lack there of) servanthood. His new bride asked what he would like for breakfast and he suggested eggs. But when he sat down for breakfast, his expectation of over-medium eggs was sitting face-to-face with poached eggs. Of the resulting conversation, Elmer writes, "My wife's desire to serve me in this simple but meaningful event was misinterpreted and badly handled by me. I was not thinking servanthood" (12). Elmer uses this simple and easy to understand example to express the simultaneous difficulty and simplicity that is cross-cultural servanthood. Elmer continues, "Servanthood is revealed in simple, everyday events. But it's complex because servanthood is culturally defined-that is, serving must be sensitive to the cultural landscape while remaining true to the Scripture. That is both the challenge and the burden of servanthood-and of this book" (12). After using himself as the poor example, Elmer seizes the opportunity to confess that for much of the first part of his missionary life, he was culturally insensitive and did not have the correct servant attitude he feels is necessary for missionary work and evangelism, and subsequently this is also the primary topic of his book (15-20).
"Serving," according to Elmer, "is the ability to relate to people in such a way that their dignity as human beings is affirmed and they are more empowered to life God-glorifying lives" (146).
Matthew, Luke, and John are the three primary biblical sources used by Elmer to make his case. Outside of the very fact that Christ entered our culture to serve us, Jesus provided the best picture of servanthood when he washed his disciples' feet (13, 22-26). Christ gave up of the robe, that is, the appearance of his Kingship, and took on the towel of the lowly servant to wash his disciples' feet. As Elmer implies, Christian servants are also to give up the position of honor for the position of servanthood in the name of Christ, following Jesus' example.
Secular examples from various fields of social studies and practical observation are also used throughout the book. In the opening part of the work, Elmer shares a parable of a monkey and a fish. The monkey, seeing the fish struggling in the current, grabs the fish and lays it on the bank. Eventually the fish is motionless and the monkey thinks he did a good thing for the fish (27-28). Elmer's point is summed up in his statement: "The fish likely saw the arrogance of the monkey's assumption that what was good for monkeys would also be good for fish. This arrogance, hidden from the monkey's consciousness, far overshadowed his kindness in trying to help the fish. Thus good intentions are not enough" (28). The monkey is the Elmer's focus; through the remainder of the book, the reader is encouraged to be more culturally aware.
Part Two is loaded with examples of people from one culture entering into another with incorrect assumptions. Generally, the most glaring examples are when Western culture meets Eastern, or when either enter the "Two-Thirds world" culture, as Elmer often calls most of African and other improvised nations. Elmer's goal of Part Two (and really much of the other two parts as well) is to keep the reader from being a monkey (37). To encourage his reader to have a true attitude of servanthood, Elmer spends a great deal of pages working on cultural awareness. He writes, "Therefore, let us intentionally, everyday, ask what we have learned about how a servant looks and acts in this culture. Otherwise we may be deluded into thinking we are serving when others may not see it that way at all" (37). It is in this section that Elmer identifies a linear model to help one integrate into and understand a culture other than his or her own.
Although he best explains it in reverse order, Elmer's model for entering and serving another culture starts with Openness. "Openness with people of other cultures" Elmer says, "requires that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone to initiate and sustain relationship in context of cultural differences" (151). The next step is Acceptance. In this step, there must be a comfort and feeling of safety around one another (151). Acceptance is followed by Trust. On trust, Elmer writes, "You can't build trust with another person until they feel like they have been accepted by you-until they feel that you value them as human beings" (151). Then comes learning. After trust is established, there is a greater likelihood that people will share important information (151). And finally, there can be understanding. Understanding requires that one "learns from them and, eventually, with them" (150-151). However, immediately after outlining this linear model with the help of six chapters of illustrations, Elmer provides a diagram from the Eastern, non-linear approach. In this model, all of these area point toward servanthood and one would not have to work through all of them before serving others (152). Elmer shows the model with a diagram and explains it in two paragraphs; then he writes, "Use the model that works best for you" 152).
And then Elmer concludes first with the idea that cross-cultural servanthood requires practice and second, that all are called to something that will require servanthood. He states, "God has a significant role for you in his global mission. But it can be significant only if you are able to follow the servanthood of Jesus, which is difficult in the best of circumstances but especially challenging in the places that are foreign to you" (198).
CRITICAL INTERACTION OF THE AUTHOR'S WORK Dr. Elmer's effort to share his knowledge and skill set should be appreciated by those desiring to serve a mission or plant a church in a culture different than their own.
Elmer, in the opinion of this author, should have concluded without the introduction of the new topic of leadership.
Elmer's model for cross-culture servanthood can be applied to local cultures, but none of his examples demonstrated anybody reaching differing cultures within the boarder of the United States, or even Western cultures. He did not address situations like service on a Native American reservation, or into the inner city, or in a poverty-laden area. Modern trends are encouraging missionaries and church planters to go into cultures different then their own but still closer to home-be it rural or urban, east or west, New York or LA or Portland or Salt Lake, or even differing cultures within their same area. Given the large number of those reaching into these different cultures, Elmer might have served a broader readership had he included some of the aspects of subtle cultural differences. Or maybe this should be the topic of an additional book that places the focus of serving the different cultures within our own communities.
CONCLUSION Cross-Cultural Servanthood i
ICETE-International Council for Evangelical Theological Education, 1 June 2009 [cached]
The second special workshop track of the Consultation will be led by Dr Duane Elmer, Distinguished Professor of Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the United States. Dr Elmer is well-known in ICETE circles for the acclaimed training events for theological faculty that he and other members of GATE (Global Associates for Transformational Education) have been organising for theological faculty in different parts of the world.
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