The Response Team has spent the past few months considering some growing trends in the world and in how we talk with people online. For instance, as our percentage of international conversations has increased, the need to appreciate cultural differences becomes even more critical. The result has seen us add new resources for volunteers to become even more familiar with the most effective ways to evangelize different cultures.
For instance, in many Guilt/Innocence cultures common in the Western world, right and wrong are primarily based on an understanding of justice and law. The Gospel is most clearly understood as salvation from guilt and the penalty of sin.
However, in many Shame/Honor cultures common in the Far East, they value relationships and understand right and wrong based on what grants honor and avoids shame. The Gospel is most clearly understood as salvation from their shame and how God grants them an honorable position as son or daughter.
The Gospel is not different. But the way in which you share it may be depending on the seeker’s background and culture.
Additionally, we are more often speaking with people that are so independent that they fail to see God or their purpose. Dr. Jim Denison recently wrote “self-reliance is the spiritual pandemic of our day. Our culture prizes those who depend on themselves and succeed through hard work and initiative.”
Our post-Christian, secular culture has tried to make truth relative and allow each person to choose their own feelings and desires over God. The common wisdom of the day says be true to self, do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone else, and pursue whatever makes you happy.
The problem is none of these actually produce lasting joy or community. They leave our souls lonely, lacking and lost. This hyper-individualism leads to living in isolation and in defiance of God’s will with a lack of peace and security. We hear this over and over from those that chose to live this way and found it empty. They are often seeking someone to talk with and help in discovering their true identity and purpose in life.
This has led us to publish two new reading plans on these growing topics. These short daily devotionals are a way to keep the conversation going with those that are lost and create new opportunities with others that seek hope.