We have been in Sweden two years, following many years as mission partners in Serbia. One of our tasks is to produce materials for training, evangelism and discipleship. In Serbia, we had translated existing materials. But then we realised that that would not work so well in Sweden.
Every culture has its own set of questions and a big part of sharing the biblical gospel is answering those questions. The translated resources might answer the wrong questions for this culture, or focus on less important issues. By creating locally-tailored courses we could choose examples and stories that answer the questions specific to them, while explaining the same biblical gospel.
We did a little research: what questions do people ask in Sweden? What are the philosophical questions? What are people asking about the Christian faith? In the end we got about 30 really hard questions. This was a very good starting point but the work was far from done - we had to work out the answers! Straight away we noticed that the questions people were asking in Uppsala were very different from those that people were asking in Serbia. This had to have a profound effect on our gospel presentation. Secondly we had to train the people in Uppsala to answer those questions in ways that would lead into gospel discussions. The secret is in not winning the discussion, but gaining people’s trust.
Sometimes the danger is that, as Christians, we assume too much and become blind to our own culture. So we can’t afford to not ask the right questions and have to be proactive and more effective in our gospel communications. In the end it is not us doing these things that will lead people to Christ but the work of the Holy Spirit. All in all, no matter what courses we use, we point all people to the one same gospel that saves.
This blog is taken from an article in the Crosslinks magazine. Chris and Lotta Strajnic lead a newly-established church in Åkersberga, Stockholm, as well as running outreach ministries in Stockholm City and Uppsala.
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