• 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!

Ministry practice 1.2

What is that we actually do as cross cultural workers?  The CPM Roadmap (like the WT Continuum) makes an attempt at ‘painting a picture’ to describe the ministry in which we are engaged.  It is a good model, a good
framework from which to work.

Could we look at cross cultural ministry from another perspective or outlook in order to help better grasp the task or the journey that we are on?

The first step we take in cross cultural life and ministry is to engage others in spiritual conversations. Spiritual conversations are not an attempt to contort everything that we are talking about around to some Scripture verse or biblical principle.  Spiritual conversations are engaging others in talking about what forms the framework for the way they see the world and live.  It is a dialogue between people where we seek, as the opportunities arise, to share the gospel framework in such a way that it arouses interest and reflection.

The Bible describes our role in one way as that of being an “ambassador”.

It is not an easy task.  John Wesley describes his struggles in a journal entry in 1738: “went several times the following days, with a design to speak to the sailors, but could not. I mean, I was quite averse [willing, wanting to] to speaking; I could not see how to make an occasion, and it seemed quite absurd to speak without. Is not this what men commonly mean by, “I could not speak”? And is this a sufficient cause of silence, or no? Is it a prohibition from the Good Spirit? or a temptation from nature, or the evil one?

So, what do we do?  Pray.  We need to ask Him to open up opportunities for spiritual conversations.  Depend on the Spirit.  The Spirit must prepare and open a person’s heart for them to be responsive to any conversation. We must ask Him to move in people’s lives.  Timing.  We cannot force a conversation.  Divine opportunities are just that, divine opportunities.  We seek for open doors, and wait for God to open those doors up to us.

 

 

6 Responses

  1. David, a good reminder from you and an insightful word from Wesley. Oh how many times have I felt like him!

  2. David, thanks for a fresh perspective on sharing our faith! I resonate with the phrase, “Gospel framework for life”, and I would add “within an ongoing conversation”. The reason I added the latter is becuase often without this we are just trying to convince someone at a surface level how they should do something different in their behavior. Another way of describing spiritual conversation would be “allowing the HS to show them a new framework for life VS awkwardly pushing a message from man to morally modify their lifestyle temporarily”!

    After reading this blog entry, I realized it described perfectly what God orchestrated recently in my relationship with my neighbor, Emil, over this past summer. God brought about an ongoing conversation which He eventually allowed for the Gospel framework to be communicated.

    There are different relational levels we have passed through and this happened over a period of time within an ongoing conversation. The first layer was small talk about daily activity such as work, school for our daughters, where to find good buys, etc. The second layer he asked me what I did for a living, going to his daughter’s birthday party in his home, exchanging small gifts as my family was leaving for vacation, discussing deeper levels of culture, etc. The third layer did not come until later when he begin asking specific questions about why we are here in Moldova? It was very puzzling to him becuase most Moldovans want to move to the US. Usually the next question or guess is that my wife must be a Moldovan 🙂 Of course, Emil already knew this was not the case. So it gave me a chance to share about the “Gospel framework” in our life… not just desiring to fulfill our dreams, but desiring to connect with our Creator God, follow His plan for our life and invest in others that need hope in Him. This then led into sharing the Gospel very naturally and I tried to only share as much as he desired to listen and could understand at this point in his faith journey. Prayerfully, Emil’s framework for life will be challenged by the Gospel framework and the HS will lead him to a saving faith and a re-structuring of his life with the Gospel framework.

    • Excellent input, Richard. I think the layers of conversation idea was insightful. Perhaps you would re-work that into a short blog post that I could post at some point.

  3. Thanks, Richard. I appreciated your words, as well as David’s, as I think through how to move more deeply into a relationship with new neighbors who seem like people of peace and who are open to spiritual things.

    • Chuck & Richard, this would be a good topic to blog about in the future. Any posts you would like to offer, I would certainly consider.

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