Sunday 6 June 2010

Fruitful Practices 3

See the earlier posts:

Fruitful Practices 1 – Seven Themes of Fruitfulness
Fruitful Practices 2 – A Descriptive List

Gene Daniels, ‘Describing Fruitful Practices: Relating to Society’, International Journal of Frontier Missiology 27:1 (2010), 21-26..

Following an earlier article outlining and describing eight ‘fruitful practices’, Gene Daniels explores in more detail those practices relating to society.

Society 1: Fruitful workers communicate respect by behaving in culturally appropriate ways
A worker’s attitude toward the host culture sends powerful messages. Fruitful workers behave in culturally appropriate ways in major cultural domains such as clothing and food, especially in regards to hospitality. The key is sensitivity to the local setting, not necessarily whole-hearted adoption of local practice.

Society 2: Fruitful workers address tangible needs in their community as an expression of the gospel
Good deeds often help workers gain a good reputation in the host community. Fruitful workers make clear that their good deeds are an expression of the gospel; otherwise, local people may assume that the worker is simply a good person or is trying to earn religious merit.

Society 3: Fruitful workers relate to people in ways that respect gender roles in the
local culture

Gender roles, and the taboos associated with them, are potent issues in the Muslim world. While maintaining a biblical perspective on these issues, fruitful workers strive to understand gender roles in their local context and demonstrate respect for these social norms.

Society 4: Fruitful workers mobilize extensive, intentional, and focused prayer
Fruitful workers invite others to join them through committed intercession for themselves and the people they are engaging. They recognize that this can be as important as inviting people to join the team that lives in the host culture.

Society 5: Fruitful workers pursue language proficiency
Workers who are able to freely and clearly communicate in their host language(s) are much more likely to be fruitful. Fruitful workers carefully consider questions concerning language choice, such as whether to use heart or trade language, sacred or secular language. By learning language, they also gain a deeper understanding of culture, making language proficiency fruitful across a number of different dimensions.

Society 6: Fruitful workers take advantage of pre-field and on-field research to shape their ministry
Fruitful ministry is shaped by many different streams of information, including ethnography, linguistics, and history. Workers who conduct research or actively reflect on the research of others are more fruitful than those who base their ministries on preconceived ideas of the patterns of ministry in their sending countries.

Society 7: Fruitful workers build positive relationships with local leaders
By sensitively and carefully relating to local authorities, including non-Christian religious figures, workers gain respect and good standing in their host community. Those who are intentional about choosing their relationships with local leaders are more likely to be fruitful.

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