Sunday, 16 January 2011

Fruitful Practices 4

L.R. Burke, ‘Describing Fruitful Practices: Communication Methods’, International Journal of Frontier Missiology 27:3 (2010), 147-56.

See the earlier posts:

• Fruitful Practices 1 – Seven Themes of Fruitfulness

• Fruitful Practices 2 – A Descriptive List

• Fruitful Practices 3 – Relating to Society

Following some earlier articles outlining and describing eight ‘fruitful practices’, L.R. Burke explores in more detail those practices relating to communication methods.

Communication Methods 1: Fruitful workers use culturally appropriate Bible passages to communicate God’s message.

The Bible is central in the communication of God’s message, but using it effectively requires cultural insight. Fruitful workers help seekers find the passages that address the issues most relevant to them. The ability to effectively apply biblical truth to the issues of life requires a thorough knowledge of God’s word and an ongoing dependence on wisdom from God.

Communication Methods 2: Fruitful workers communicate the gospel using the heart language, except in situations where it is not appropriate.

In most situations, the heart language is undoubtedly the best way to meaningfully communicate the gospel. However, in areas where more than one language is in common use, established patterns often dictate when one language should be used as opposed to another. Fruitful workers seek to understand local patterns of language use and plan their communication strategies accordingly.

Communication Methods 3: Fruitful workers use a variety of approaches in sharing the gospel.

No one method of gospel communication covers every need and will always be the most effective. Often the best approach to sharing the gospel depends on the audience and the situation in question. Fruitful workers learn to use a variety of different approaches and apply them as appropriate to the setting.

Communication Methods 4: Fruitful workers share the gospel using tools or methods that can be locally reproduced.

In order for faith communities to grow without hindrance, the members of the communities must have access to all the tools they need in their local context. For this reason, fruitful workers focus on methods for sharing the gospel that require only tools and resources that are readily available in the local community.

Communication Methods 5: Fruitful workers sow broadly.

It is not possible to know in advance which ground will bear the most fruit. Fruitful workers sow broadly and pray for wisdom to know where to invest time in personal relationships. They maintain an ongoing balance between the broad sowing of God’s word and the time spent developing individual relationships.

Communication Methods 6: Fruitful workers use Bible study as a means of sharing the gospel.

Spending time in the study of God’s word allows seekers to discover God’s truths for themselves. In some instances, fruitful workers may simply read the Bible with a seeker, responding to questions relating to the text as they arise. In other instances, they may tell Bible stories and ask questions to help seekers discover how to apply the stories to their lives.

Communication Methods 7: Fruitful workers share the gospel in ways that fit the learning preferences of their audience.

Although people from western countries rely heavily on written media, people in many other parts of the world are accustomed to oral forms of communication. Good communicators understand the learning preferences of their audience and plan their communication strategies accordingly.

Communication Methods 8: Fruitful workers use the Quran as a bridge to sharing the biblical gospel.

Certain passages from the Quran can be used effectively in sharing the gospel. Discretion is needed, as inappropriate references to the Quran may validate a seeker’s belief in the divine origin of the book. In general, the use of the Quran as a bridge is most advisable when relating to seekers who already know the Quran well. Fruitful workers do not dwell unnecessarily on the Quran, but use various passages as a bridge in order to share the biblical gospel.

No comments: