Main Topic: Cross-cultural ministry
[Author: Tim Lucas]
In today’s world, you are almost guaranteed to be in a place where you have the opportunity to minister to people from a culture that is different from your own. In this episode, we aren’t even going to address racism because we are assuming everyone is a Christian and therefore not racist.
From very early in the history of the Biblical church, we see cross-cultural ministry. From the Ethiopian eunuch to Cornelius we the church are founded on the fact that Christ died for all mankind. Paul said to a Jew he would try to relate as a Jew, to a Greek as a Greek. This is a key lesson in dealing with a culture foreign to our own; relate to them on their level. We don’t have to try to become something we are not, but they have to feel we are “coming along side of them”.
Paul is a good example also that you don’t have to compromise at all to relate to people within their culture.
It is important for us to remember that we are not emissaries of the American culture. It is not our job to make people more American, but rather more like the Bible presents a Christian should live.
The first step of reaching out to another culture is to be interested in them. If you want to get someone talking ask them about where they came from, ask them about their story.
One thing we have to be aware of is that we must NEVER make any kind of racial jokes whatsoever.
There are a couple things that are specific to the church setting. First be very careful about touching people’s head without first getting their specific permission. In many cultures, this is considered VERY rude. Also, we need to be careful about placing direct pressure on an individual. In some cultures, they cannot refuse a person of authority.
Ultimately we do need to remember that cross-cultural ministry is first and foremost ministry. Be interested in people. Look for ways to serve people. Show people love. Those are things that work with anybody, in any culture.
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