Third culture kids (TCKs) “refer to children who were raised in a culture outside of their parents’ culture for a significant part of their development years… The first culture of children refers to the culture of the country from which the parents originated, the second culture refers to the culture in which the family currently resides, and the third culture refers to the amalgamation of these two cultures.”

That sounds to me a wonderful model for church. The life of God the Holy Trinity is one culture, the life of our world is the second culture. Christianity, the church, is what we make – “the amalgamation of these two cultures”.

Here are some characteristics of TCKs – some of these characteristics echo Christians (or church) as we are; some of these characteristics describe Christians (or church) as we could be and should be:

  • feel “out of sync” with their peers
  • report feeling as if they understand other cultures/peoples better than the average person
  • believe they can get along with anybody
  • Divorce rates among TCKs are lower than the general population
  • Linguistically adept
  • More welcoming of others/newcomers into their community
  • Politically astute. They are often aware of the background of political decisions and implications for the people concerned
  • Establish relationships quickly – they cut through many of the initial levels of diffidence when forming relationships
  • Culturally astute/cross-culturally enriched, less prejudiced
  • Adapt quickly to unfamiliar countries and people
  • Educational achievers
  • Live more in the present/live more for the moment (Pollock, 1999)
  • Make great culture bridges – they have multiple frames of reference
  • Excellent observers of other people

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