By Joel Zentkovich
I want to paint a picture for you of a common situation I have observed. Imagine a box, in this box are great books from your favorite pastors and theologians as well as cutting edge methods and programs...this box has everything that you think that you would need for ministry. So upon an opportunity for a ministry or church plant, you tote your box with everything you need. From that point you pull all the resources you need from this box…methods, ideas, perspectives….and in the process show the contents of this box to those you contact through this ministry opportunity. The interesting thing is that as you keep pulling from this box for all your ministry needs the people that are coming alongside you and the ministry are similar in the appreciation of the items in this box…which is good, right? I mean, things seem to be going well and you are going about things just like your favorite pastors and theologians are…
In this scenario, which is all too common for many of us, there is one major mistake: you did not look over the edge of the box to see where God had placed you. Please don’t misunderstand me, I like the box too. I have my favorite pastors and theologians that I would like to emulate. But if we do not know who we are speaking to, then how do we know what language we need to speak in? Although the truth of God’s word always stands, there are many ways to communicate that truth. Understanding this, would it not be valuable to first spend time observing where God placed us and who he has called us to minister to? There is not one box that will apply in every situation/culture/ministry. We must first look out and then we can pray through how God would have us communicate His glorious truth.
rom the perspective of one who is called to be a missionary in the United States, I see so many situations where ministry leaders assume that just because we live in the same country that we all are of the same culture. We are a “melting pot”… the American culture is a multi-ethnic collection of subcultures. This being said, there is not one pre-packaged ministry box that fits all. We must do the hard work of “looking out” to those God has called us to and learning about the community in a way that would inform us on how communicate clearly the truths about God.
Think about it, Talk about it, Live It.
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