Christian Ministry, Free Course, Lesson 006
Ministry in Contemporary Society
Missions rest upon a foundation of scripture. But mission endeavor also must take into account the process of interfacing with modern cultures. Culture is in itself a neutral concept being, neither right nor wrong, good nor evil. But elements embraced by various cultures may be either a blessing to the Christian witness or a hindrance. The gospel is unique. It fits all people in all time periods and in all cultures. The problem in preaching cross-culturally lies in the preacher and not in gospel content.
The basic task of missions is to preach the gospel. Despite the fact that cultures often oppose the gospel, the gospel can speak within culture. Indigenization and contextualization become means to that end. When entering a different culture than our own we will need to comprehend the character of that culture and the stages of the missionary acculturation process. The actual process of doing missions across cultures is a rather difficult task. The human experience tends to confirm us within our culture which is used as a standard for evaluating the merits of another.
Culture enables the smooth flow of social, political, and economic life. When working within a foreign culture where that flow of life is dictated by another set of experiences the Christian must seek ways to present the gospel as a culture-less message. Some would propose a new gospel and a church structure in order to reach people of the 21st century which is incorrect as gospel is timeless or not time-bound.
What is at issue is the matter of adapting the gospel to a culture without changing the gospel. Whenever human interpretation is invited human contamination is certain to follow. Nevertheless, the missionary must also be aware that certain applications are purely cultural adaptations and are not biblical precepts.
- What does the term ‘missions’ mean?
- How are individual ministries shaped?
- What have Christians struggled with since the time of the apostles?
- What are Christians called to do?
- What is the relationship between Christian mission and culture?
- What is the standard for measuring culture?
- How can the Christian faith be stated in relation to the faith of others?
- What are contrasting views of missions?
- Detail some of the issues facing both the church and modern missionary movement.
- What are some of the most important skills needed for effective ministry?
- What is the divine quality that underlies missions?
- What are mission strategies?
- What must the missionary accomplish as part of the aforementioned strategy?