By the grace of God, I am blessed to be part of a cross-cultural ministry that seeks to transform children in Christ through His church around the world. His grace allowed me to live in Poland for ten years so I could participate in and experience cross-cultural ministry in a variety of situations. In most of those situations, I felt out of place and distant in terms of being able to relate to people. Even when I learned to speak Polish, I felt the twinge of being an outsider. Despite the language barrier difficulties I experienced abroad, I learned one very important principal for cross-cultural ministry…
The Word of God is Transcultural
… and this is crucial in cross-cultural ministry for two reasons.
First: The Bible is the same in every language and culture.
It is received as God’s Word, relevant to each and every culture. The Bible is perceived to be authoritative as God’s message to those within the culture. As such, the Bible is God’s communique to humanity and not bound within a specific cultural setting. Although written in unique cultural settings (Israel, Roman Empire, etc.) the principles identified within the Bible are found to be applicable and relevant in every culture.
- Second: The Bible is the Word of God.
When proclaimed, it is accompanied by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. Within any culture, the preaching of the Word is the invitation for the outworking of the Holy Spirit. Unlike any other piece of literature, there is a spiritual component to the proclamation of the Word, through the work of the Holy Spirit. In a practical application, when you teach the Bible, you can be assured that the Spirit of God is at work in the hearts and lives of the recipients, no matter the cultural setting.
The notion that the Word of God is transcultural is crucial to Every Generation Ministries. Cross-cultural children’s ministry, intended to transform children in Christ, does not come by merely exporting programs and methodology. EGM leadership development programs are not built around Polish or American methods and program ideas. We find that staying true to the Bible and communicating biblical principals for children’s ministry is essential for effective cross-cultural ministry.
Without the Bible, Cross-Cultural Ministry Sends the Wrong Message
When you step out in front of thirty children’s workers, sitting at tables on a dirt floor under a thatched roof, they do not need to hear about how to make cupcakes for the “Angel Breakfast” in their village! They need to know that the desire of Jesus Christ is to go and make disciples of every boy and girl, and teach them to obey everything He commanded. (Matthew 28:16-20) They need to know the five qualities of a Model Children’s Worker and the values of cross-cultural ministry from scripture, and how to implement them within their own cultural settings. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) After all, cupcake holders and ovens may be hard to come by!
In His Steps,
Daniel C. Watts
President, Every Generation Ministries