Case studies and scenarios of ministry situations
- This webpage offers a collection of global case studies
and scenarios for applying principles in real situations.
- The case studies cover missionary work, cultural conflicts,
religious practices, economic aid, and personal dilemmas.
- Effectively using case studies requires an understanding of the context, identification of the
central problem, consideration of multiple perspectives, and the development of viable
Looking for a case study to use with a class or group?
What would you do in this situation? What does it mean to put your faith into action?
Case studies -- examples of thorny situations -- are very effective in a problem-centered
learning approach. Case studies help students practice applying principles and
concepts in real situations. These real-life case studies and scenarios -- used by
Howard Culbertson as classroom teaching/learning aids -- are
available on this site:
Missionary case studies: The links with an asterisk (*) are situations in which a
foreign missionary is directly involved.
Case studies: Aids for problem-centered learning
Seven steps to effective case study use
- Case studies involving short-term mission trip teams
- Battling racism in a congregation -- a church divided by
- *Breakup of a missionary team -- Tough times
- Ancestor veneration/worship
- Case studies involving Animism
- Case studies involving Buddhism
- Case studies involving Hinduism
- Case study involving Islam
- Case studies involving Shintoism
- Case studies involving Development / economic aid
- Conflict during the Lord's Supper -- cultural change polarizes a
church and even tears a family apart
- *Kidnapped missionary: Should the ransom be paid?
- Male stripper -- attempted joke at a youth group sponsori's birthday
- *Obi's death -- missionaries in New Guinea
- Pastor under attack -- dealing with hidden agendas
- *Peacemaker or patsy -- Missionaries caught in the middle of to
tribal warfare in Papua New Guinea
- Sunday school class in decline
- They only knew my name -- An outsider tries to plug into a
- To drink or not to drink -- a teetotaler in France finds himself
in over his head
- Walking away: Witnessing/soul winning
- When trust erodes -- a congregation loses faith in their pastor
- Inappropriate touching -- Is it sexual assault or just funny
improvisation during a skit?
Seven steps to case study discussion Several of the above cases
also have specific study guides linked to them.
Brief scenarios or examples with less description than a typical case study
- Cultural anthropology scenarios: Gulliver's travels and
ethnography in a McDonald's restaurant
- Theology of missions scenarios: Are the heathen really
- Witnessing scenarios: How would you respond?
- Using case studies as a learning tool
What's the best way to use a case study?
Case study exploration guide
Case studies are effective educational tools whose use was
pioneered by Harvard University's business school. The best case studies are not made-up,
one-upon-a-time stories. Rather, even though names and places may have been changed, these
are descriptions of real situations.
For Christian workers heading into situations where they will be cultural outsiders,
discussions of case studies can stimulate and hone critical thinking skills for situations where
they will be carrying "foreigner" baggage.
Want to know how to process a case study? Follow these seven steps to reflect on and
profitably discuss case studies.
How to use a case study
Seven steps to transforming a case study into a learning experience
- Read the entire case study narrative.
- Get acquainted with the cast of characters.
- Who is involved?
- What are their historical relationships?
- What constituencies do they represent?
- What might be the agenda of each character in this narrative?
- Understand the flow of events
- How did the problem arise?
- Is there a deadline for a decision?
- Determine from whose perspective the events are described.
- Formulate a clear statement of the problem.
- What values or interests are being challenged?
- What should be the central or focal question?
- Identify the issues at stake.
- List factors relevant to comprehending, facing and solving the problem.
- What ingredients have compounded the problem or perhaps have even created it?
- Which area has some negotiating room in it?
- Can some of the negative concerns be re-framed positively?
- Clarify facts as well as feelings.
- In your initial reading, some of the case's facts, elements or issues may not have seemed
very important. As you reflect on the case, are there items which have grown in importance in
- What details need clarification? In order to effectively process the case study, will you have
to make some assumptions about some unstated details?
- What feelings did you and others have after the initial reading of the case study?
- Consider the case study from different angles. A jewel's facets show up best as it is
turned to let light hit those facets at different angles. Approach the case study in the same way.
Look at it from several different angles. That is, consider it from the points of view of each
person involved. What would be the solution each would lean toward?
- Dig around for resources.
- What assets are available to resolve the problem?
- Are there opportunities to partner or network in some way?
- Make some assertions:
- What ought to be going on?
- What needs to happen to set that in motion?
- To implement the most viable solution, what must be done and by whom?
-- Howard Culbertson,
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