The Bible tells us to, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Hol
The Bible tells us to, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (NIV). I believe that you need to have a good foundation of understanding and knowledge of the word of God and the meaning of it to be able to preach the gospel to others. One research tells us that “despite the fact that non-Western Christians make excellent candidates to be cross-cultural missionaries among the unreached, they are all too often under-utilized and inadequately trained” (Udall, J. (2013). One method of witnessing to others is by missionary trips to other countries that may not have access or knowledge of God. “It is hoped that what is shared will also have applicable value to other African nations and other non-Western countries who desire to become more involved in fulfilling the Great Commission” (Udall, J. (2013). For example, missionary trips to Ethiopia have proven successful in setting up churches and orphanages where their focus is teaching about God and providing the foundation to others to be able to continue being fishers of men. “That the Church is rapidly growing in Ethiopia is a testimony to two things: God’s Spirit is at work there and His people are fulfilling their roles well as His messengers in monocultural settings” (Udall, J. (2013). I think this method of one of the most vital, but one needs the proper training and understanding of God and the country that they are traveling to. It is important to be respectful of others but still be able to provide the love of God to others all over the world. The Bible tells us that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NIV). Every person on earth deserves to know that God loves them but sometimes needs the word brought to them in their country.
cross-cultural Evangelism is described by those who attempt to accomplish it as an art. I do not agree with some of the approaches, tactics, and possible deceit some groups have shown in attempting to convert people from other cultures. I think we live in an inter-connected world that is so able to provide us with up to the minute information, and research right on Google, that most people are set in their ways, or are not going to change their mind because a stranger tells them what they are missing.
People who are raised in different cultures come from extensive backgrounds, upbringings, traditions, and ideals that have been taught to them for years. Breaking that cycle feels impossible and sometimes inappropriate to me. An example I could compare this to is me being raised in New York. I am a Yankees fan. There is no one and nothing in the world that could ever convince me to root for the Boston Red Sox.
I located some articles about the topic to determine if I was wrong in my opinion. In the first article I read, the author interviewed four missionaries about the topic of cross-culture Evangelism. The basic ideas were what I expected. ‘It takes time’, ‘Build relationships to build trust’, ‘Be ready to fail’ (Duval, 2017) and so on. In reading through the article beyond the basic topic headlines is where I located some information provided by the missionaries that I felt was bordering on deception. In the article, a missionary named Joel discussing his attempts to convert people in Japan. He states, “I do believe that I’ve gotta be willing to sow seeds over years, and maybe others will reap.” And often, those seeds don’t sprout “until God waters [them] with adversity” (Duval, 2017). Joel then refers to his work as a “long term investment” that he hopes will pay off. It felt to me while reading about Joel that he was using people to get what he wants.
Another missionary interviewed in the article, Sue, was quoted as saying, “If I’m joining a … book club, or whatever it is, with the sole purpose of evangelizing, they’re going to see through it. … I need to be willing to be vulnerable to them, to befriend them whether they follow what I want them to follow or not.” (Duval, 2017)
To me, it still felt like disingenuous relationship building for the missionary to accomplish their goal, while not considering what the other party wanted from the relationship. I’m certain there are other missionary stories that are not reflective of the ones I have learned about during this assignment, and I look forward to being proven wrong in the future.