The Christian writer George Hunter once wrote:
“people… are reached more effectively through the people, language, liturgy, music, architecture,
needs, struggles, issues, leaders and leadership style that are indigenous to their culture...
Typically, when people experience “church” as culturally alien to them, they assume that the
Christian God is not for people like them; they believe they have to learn to dress, talk,
tote Bibles and genuflect like the Christians do, before God will accept them”
Bill Hybels put it like this:
We can’t win them if we don’t know how they think,
and we can’t know how they think if we don’t ever enter their world.
Churches which practice risk-taking mission and service have to be churches which engage with the communities and cultures they hope to reach, and which value engagement and long-term relationship. Or, as Schnase writes, “Such congregations make sure that the people they serve feel respected, confident and blessed, not dependent, helpless or indebted. They do mission with people of other cultures, not ministry to them. “
Think for a moment about your own life and experiences. Have you personally helped with a hands-on, face-to-face service project that brought you into contact with people you would otherwise never know? What did you learn? How did the experience affect you?
Today Schnase offers us this prayer and challenge:
Father, help me distinguish between what is merely easy and convenient for me
and what is essential for serving others with real love and respect.
Challenge: If you are part of a Bible Study, class, team, choir, etc, discuss the possibility of doing something that serves people beyond the congregation. Be bold.