Tim and Susie Brown and I landed safely in Delhi about 6 hours ago. We met Dwarika and Arjun from Nepal and we’re up early to catch the train to Ludhianna. It’s much cooler than my times here before – in the low 40s F and very foggy. Should be a fun travel day and then the real work begins!
Arrival in Delhi
Go: India Team travels Friday
This picture is from a church service in Ghaziabad, India, and records the joy that comes when the power of the Gospel sets us free from whatever keeps us in bondage.
Thanks for your prayers as we begin 2011. One of T4 Global’s focus areas is India where we work with partners to help their staff develop accurate oral tellings of Scripture and community transformation information that will be recorded in 20 languages in the north.
Thanks for your prayers and support as we go.
Stay in touch!
Hear. Here. The T4 Global Annual Dinner at The Hope Center in Plano, November 9 7p.
Well – let me be a bit more clear – it’s our annual dinner, but it’s the first at The Hope Center in Plano! See our announcement/invitation below:
A familiar verse for all of us is when Jesus speaks to His disciples and says “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Sometimes we struggle with how to accomplish this mandate when 2/3 of the “all nations” we are called to reach can’t or won’t read.
God has given us a vision of how to do just that at T4 Global. He is at work to reach those who are lost and don’t read. Please come and join us for dinner and a brief program on November 9 to hear what God is doing and where He is leading us.
Tuesday, November 9, 7pm
The Hope Center
2001 Plano Parkway
Plano, TX 75075
Please RSVP to Ed Weaver (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Overstreet (email@example.com) or call/text 214.205.4245. We look forward to seeing you there!
Lip Service vs. Orality Strategy
Many ministries these days are getting on the bandwagon of “orality”. When I say this, I mean that they realize that many people in the world prefer to learn via stories, rather than reading. That is great news!
Here’s the problem. Many of those “many” are saying “what a great niche of ministry – God bless those guys that are doing it” or “let’s train a few of our staff so if we run into any oral learners, we can meet their needs”. Can you see the problem? If not, let me provide some assistance.
Most missiologists would agree that somewhere around 2/3 of the world has a learning preference other than reading. That includes highly literate cultures such as North America and Western Europe, urban areas of China, South Korea, Japan, etc. If you extract those highly literate societies, the rest of the world might have an 80% “oral learning” preference rate. Or 20% true literacy. So, the above problem is – you WILL run into oral learners. In fact, most of the people you run into will have an “oral learning” preference.
Our contention here at T4 Global is that oral learning should be core to your missions strategy – not just an “add-on” or an afterthought. If 80% of the audience you’re attempting to reach is an oral learning audience, then 80% of your time, energy and resources should be spent on reaching them with an oral methodology.
Don’t just give orality lip service. Make it a strategy.
Originally uploaded by t4global
These are the men who have given two years of their life to crafting stories in six mother-tongue languages of the northeastern state of Bihar, India. These stories were distributed prior to our partnership with New India Evangelistic Association, and we hope to expand the depth anbreadth of the Biblical content and add community development to their church planting strategy. Please pray for all of us as we plan and offer those plans to God.
Partners in Bihar
Partners in Bihar
Originally uploaded by t4global
Over the next few days, David Swarr of Davar Partners and I have the privilege of being speakers at the Plenary and workshop sessions at the Bihar State Network for Linguistics and Church Planting initiatives. This is sponsored by our partner, New India Evangelistic association, which is led by Dr. Alex Philip. What a blessing to be here and to see what God is doing through this humble servant and his team!
Proof-reading is important
Proof reading is important
Originally uploaded by t4global
Sorry, but I couldn’t resist posting this picture of a menu line item at a restaurant in Delhi. Plus, they’re available around the clock!
Well – Ed Weaver and JR Whitby have been to Nigeria and back; Mark Overstreet and board member Bruce Lowe have been to Kenya and back. The Nigeria trip was to wrap up some details relative to Phase I and to begin kicking off Phase II of continued evangelism and outreach in the northern states.
Additional partners to expand the ministry were met to discuss initial plans and old partners were included in the conversations to provide local insight and consistency in our approach.
The Kenya trip was for the purpose of local planning of our 3.5 year pastor/leader training without books. Most leader training is literate in nature – but many leaders will have non-literate constituencies – so how do we ensure they communicate in a style considerate of their flocks? Mark and Bruce have come back with a passionate vision of the future and we’re grateful for their engagement with our team on the ground and continuing to forge those relationships in Kenya that are so critical for the success of the ministry.
June has been a month of busy-ness already. Tim and Susie Brown have joined us from Scriptures in Use, and Mark Overstreet, PhD has joined us to head up pastor/leader training and provide leadership in strategy and development. Already with us in an increasing capacity has been JR Whitby, former CEO of Gospel Communications, currently overseeing three programs and soon to be four , God willing.
The third-party evaluation snap-shot of the first 4 months of Phase I has been completed by Calvin Edwards & Company . Please let us know if you’d like to see a copy. God has been faithfully at work among the Kambari people and we’ve seen many come to faith in God through Jesus Christ. Phase II work is getting ready to begin and we look forward to seeing the oral cultures of Nigeria transformed through whole-person ministry.
Contextualization – what a mess!
We use Google Alerts. If you are unfamiliar with this wonderful tool, you enter in key words or phrases and Google sends you blog and web hits related to your area of interest. Every day, I’m greeted with new food for thought thanks to the good folks at Google.
One of my keywords is “contextualization”. It’s a great word for what we do – quite useful in fact – or at least I thought so. Turns out, contextualization is used to describe everything from art to punk rock music to literature. When it is used in reference to Christian mission/missiology, the conversation becomes quite heated. Turns out, one must understand the context in which the term contextualization is being employed. What folks in North America mean when they employ the term is quite different from how the word is used when speaking of cross-cultural work among Muslims. Furthermore, missiological Titans like Lesslie Newbigin and Paul Hiebert employed the term in a third way – which only muddies the water and intensifies the debate. Would the real contextualization please stand up?
When used by emerging types here in the US, contextualization is basically a “get out of jail free” card. The historic and authoritative propositions of the Christian faith are set aside so that individuals can “contextualize” their own individual response to the dialogue being set forth by church leaders.
For those working among Muslims, the term is employed quite differently. Since Islam has cultural implications, missiologists have debated how far one must remove themselves from that culture to be an authentic disciple of Jesus. Do I have to change my name (usually to the name of a Bible character)? Do I have to renounce my family? Can I go to mosque on special occasions? Do I have to refer to myself as a “Christian”? The process of wrestling through these questions is grist for the mill of contextualization among those working with Muslims.
Confused yet? Don’t worry, we’ll continue our journey through the murky waters of contextualization . . . tomorrow.