In helping to answer the question above, I have previously discussed the use of Project Management and the business acumen within your church body to meet the challenge of reaching an unreached, unengaged people group. I have also discussed the importance of Partnering with those “on the ground” and others who can bring specific resources to help you to accomplish the task of creating a reproducible church among a people group who have not even heard the story of Jesus or in many cases embraced the understanding of a creator God. I have also challenged you to be Persistent, because establishing a reproducible church among an unreached and unengaged people group is not something that happens quickly (as is said, “There is a reason why these people groups are unreached, and unengaged!”).
You also need to check your Prejudices at the door when you embark on this journey. Before you immediately throw up your defenses, let’s admit that yes, we have many prejudices. They may not be related to ethnicity, but in your work with local Partners in developing outreach strategies to reach the unreached, you will come loaded down with the prejudices of “how we do things in our church”. Resist the urge to back up the truck and dump the whole load of your expertise and experiences on your local Partners. If you do, they will smile and say yes. They most likely will be saying yes to something they know will not work in their culture, only to please you.
Resist the urge to back up the truck and dump the whole load of your expertise and experiences on your local Partners. If you do, they will smile and say yes.
In their book, “When Helping Hurts; How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself”, authors Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert tell us to Go-Learn-Return-Respond. This is a good way to help us check our prejudices as we engage a new culture. Go with an empty pack, learn all you can about how things work and what your local partners believe are the best way forward, return and think through all you have learned. Seek guidance from God’s word and in prayer; then you are ready to respond to the opportunities you have uncovered. Your response will probably be “measured”, you will move more slowly than you would like, again, another of your Western prejudices, your speed in implementing without regard to “relationships”, will be checked at the door.
….Go-Learn-Return-Respond. This is a good way to help us check our Prejudices at we engage a new culture.
In Colossians 3:11, Paul reminds us we are all the same in Christ and throughout his writings describes how he adapted to the local cultures of the day as he had one goal; to win all to Christ. Sometimes in our zeal, we inadvertently allow pride to come in. In his book, “Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the other Dangers of Overzealous Faith”, Larry Osborne, says, “Our spiritual comparisons are also incredibly biased. We have an amazing ability to compare things in a way that causes us to come out on top. And when we come out on top, it’s hard not to look down on people who don’t measure up.” What biases do you have that come from spiritual comparison?
As men and women of Issachar, here are three challenges to consider:
As a leader, “practice” in your community how to check your Prejudices at the door in order to introduce someone to the good news of Jesus Christ
Meditate on Colossians Chapter 3: 1-17
Ask God to reveal to you any Prejudices or biases you may have that might interfere with your ability to follow His leading as you prepare to engage with those in a new culture.
Randy Howard is a UUPG Project Manager for Coast Hills Community Church (http/www.coasthillschurch.org) in Aliso Viejo, CA.
by Randy Howard