Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Five Primary Obstacles in Communicating Christ

I know ... it has been a LONG time since I've posted anything on the blog. A number of you have been asking about this, and I have no excuse except to say that it's been CRAZY since Thanksgiving. Now that a few of my other responsibilites have eased up, I plan to get back to blogging.

I spoke to a group of high schooler this past weekend at Maranatha Chapel, and we spent some time talking about barriers to the Gospel in tribal church planting. Together we identifed the barriers we would anticipate in taking the Gospel to a typical unreached group of people (we used a tribal group in PNG currently asking for missionaries as our example).

Here are the five barriers we determined we would face which would need overcoming in order to fulfill our goal:
1) Geographic -- It takes a team to do this task. We will most likely need to link up with other who we share a common vision or partner with an organization which specializes in mobilizing people to remote locations.
2) Relationship -- You don't get anywhere in missions without genuine relationships. Through relationships we gain credibility to minister and speak into lives. Our model is Jesus, who lived openly and genuinely among those he served.
3) Linguistic -- These groups are unreached because they cannot speak the major languages of the world or the national languages of the country. If we determine the heart language of these people is the vernacular, we must commit to learning this language and doing Bible teaching and translation. This is the only way to give them full access and understanding to God's Word.
4) Culture -- We must understand who they are as a people before we can hope to meet their spiritual need in a profound way. In order for them to engage God's Word, it must be interesting and relavant to their lives. In the case of the Nakui and most animists, they learn better by hearing narratives than by systematized approaches.
5) Worldview -- Everything we teach must speak into or challenge their current worldview. The key themes of the Christian worldview (God is creator, is loving, is omnipotent, is our authority, punishes sin, is gracious, etc...) must be woven into narrative stories and then taught through and explained clearly.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I thought the group did a pretty good job of highlighting most of the challenges we must anticpate in a pioneer missions context. These are certainly among the primary barriers we faced (and continue to do so) in the Nakui context. If you would like to read my lecture notes click on