I conducted a phone interview with LeStan Hoskins, a third-semester TEDS graduate student who attended the talk, to understand the personal affect of Dr. Alcántara’s book talk presentation on Crossover Preaching: Intercultural-Improvisational Homiletics in Conversation with Gardner C. Taylor.
Crossover Preaching looks at the life of Gardner C. Taylor and, through a careful case study engages cross cultural preaching around the ability of the speaker to be both “improvisationally” and “interculturally” competent. LeStan graciously shared his reaction to this, relating it to his personal upbringing and experience.
Background and Intercultural Preaching Experience
Hoskin’s childhood church was primarily African-American. Although this is what he is used to, he has preached in a cross-cultural setting where the audience has been predominantly Caucasian. Hoskins was also well-received but humbly notes the contrast between Taylor and himself, Taylor being mainstream and of a higher caliber.
The Spark of Inspiration from Gardner C. Taylor
Taylor is an inspiration to crossover to “different arenas and areas and denominations” while keeping Christ at the center. A major takeaway was recognizing that a speaker who decenters his or her racial identity markers and does not display ethnocentrism can effectively share the gospel in various cultural settings. This has become a goal LeStan is aiming at as he pursues God’s call on his life. One of the keys for LeStan to do this well is to adapt to particular preaching contexts and deliver messages without losing his identity. This means focusing on mechanics, language, and cultural adaptation when preparing sermons, all of which were well-noted characteristics of Taylor. LeStan linked Taylor’s cultural decentering to the apostle Paul who addresses this subject in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Hoskins is striving to deliver relevant messages with takeaways for all of those to whom he will minister. This means applying truths to their lives in a practical way. Dr. Alcántara’s book talk inspired LeStan to grow into the skills he saw effectively exhibited in Taylor’s preaching, influence, and life of building bridges between alien groups. Difference is an opportunity, and by God’s grace, LeStan will be able to be an ambassador for Christ showing that gospel is relevant and able to be communicated meaningfully to all peoples.
Make note, LeStan is speaking at Undergraduate Chapel on Monday, April 18th. Come out and hear what God has to say through him. Also pray for him as he grows into an ambassador for our Lord.
Watch Dr. Alcántara’s table talk here.
Check out Crossover Preaching here.