• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Going “contextual”

The YouTube clip from yesterday by James Choung raises a number of issues for us, but one in particular is that of contextualization. It’s a word we insert into numerous conversations in our work.  Yet, a complete definition is somewhat difficult to come by.  Paul Hiebert, in his work, Anthropological Insights for Missionaries, writes: “The gospel calls not only individuals but societies and cultures to change.  Contextualization must mean the communication of the gospel in ways the people understand, but that also challenge them individually and corporately to turn from their evil ways.” 

Going “contextual” in our work would mean that our sharing of the Gospel story, for example, is done in such a way that people can grasp and understand the message in their context, and that the message has a prophetic, transformational character or thrust. 

I really like that second element: the prophetic or transformational thrust.  But as I reflected on the clip from yesterday, I realized that I am not as enamored by that second element when it is “directed” towards me and my heart.  As the light of the Gospel is shown on my heart, it should reveal areas where further change is needed.  Perhaps, this is where going “contextual” is hard for me (and others) as it means a work not only in the hearts of others, but in my heart as well.  Am I grasping and understanding God’s message to me today through His Word?  And am I open to the transformational thrust being called for by that message?

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