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  • Writer's pictureJustin McGee

What We Do: Cultural Assessments

Over the next week or two, we are going to explain our services and why we do them in a series of blog posts.

First up: Cultural Assessments.

Some of the most painful, emotionally uncomfortable situations I have been in are ones when I am in a professional development session or chapel talk and the speaker knows nothing about his or her audience. He or she is almost always giving a presentation of value, but sadly, their lack of understanding about the people before them leads the audience to discard their message almost as soon as they begin to share it. And they don’t even know it.

Recently, we had a woman come to the school I was working at to speak to our high school students in a chapel. She was strong, faithful, successful, and had an incredible message about empowering both men and women to lead for Christ. She beautifully weaved together her own experience in business with examples from the scriptures to encourage all our students to live out the call that God has on their lives. But…

She began her talk as if she was speaking to an audience of prospective business women -- not students. Her opening was a list of all of her accomplishments. She even talked about the money she had made and the levels of success she obtained.

Now, if her audience was business women scratching to find their niche or trying to figure out how to overcome potential gender inequalities, this list would have been inspiring and encouraging to those who listened. To a bunch of somewhat skeptical and cynical high school students, though, it was seen as bragging and insincere. It caused them to either tune out her entire message or criticize it with a fine toothed comb. Even the young women, who I was hoping would be inspired and empowered by her confidence, demeanor, and success, were turned off by her message.

What could she have done differently? What could she have done before her chapel presentation to prepare for her high school audience?

Very simply, she could have asked the school questions about her audience in order to assess the culture, so she could adapt her talk to fit the young hearts and minds before her.

At Incarnational Coaching, before we ever set foot on your campus or create a resource for you, we do an in depth cultural assessment of your program and school so that we know who you are and who you hope to become. Investing in understanding the intricacies of your DNA allows for us to not fall into the trap of the chapel speaker I heard recently, but instead, prayerfully adapt our material and language to fit your unique context -- all the while keeping the message of Incarnational Coaching.

In 1 Corinthians 9, St. Paul says, “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.”

The only way he was able to become all things for all people in order to bring the gospel to them was if he knew the people he was serving beforehand. He didn’t change the message of the gospel, but he tailored his life and words in such a way to reach as many people for Christ.

Similarly, when Jesus comes across the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, he is able to explain to her the power of the living water that he has to offer her. First, they are sitting by a well, so drawing upon an analogy of water to reveal to her how Jesus can fulfill her desires is apt to their physical location. Secondly, he is able to couch this water within the context of her broken, difficult life of failed marriages and exile. His understanding of the setting and her life allows him to tailor the message to meet her where she was at, and what does she subsequently do? She receives the hope Jesus extends and takes it back to her village.

By doing a Cultural Assessment of your program(s), this is our desire. We want to know you, so God can use us in the life of your institution as he used Paul in the life of the Corinthian church. We want to understand who you are, so the living water of the gospel is given to your coaches, athletes, and community because when this happens, your community, by God’s mercy and through the power of the Holy Spirit, take that water into the world and ladle it out for a parched society to drink.

We would love an opportunity to talk to you about our Cultural Assessments and how they lead into the other resources we provide at Incarnational Coaching. Shoot us an email at, so we can set up a time to chat about how we can serve you as you make evident the way of Jesus in athletics!

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