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Culture & Church Planting. Understanding Cultures. Culture & Church Planting. Definition of Culture Culture is the integrated system of learned patterns of ideas, values, behavior, and products characteristic of a society. Culture influences our perception of reality Men holding hands

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Culture & Church Planting

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Culture church planting

Culture & Church Planting

Understanding Cultures


Culture church planting1

Culture & Church Planting

  • Definition of Culture

    • Culture is the integrated system of learned patterns of ideas, values, behavior, and products characteristic of a society.

  • Culture influences our perception of reality

    • Men holding hands

    • Cause of disease

    • Acceptable food


Culture church planting2

Culture & Church Planting

  • Elements of Culture

    • Integrated - all the components that make up culture function as an interrelated unit

    • Learned - culture is learned and passed on from generation to generation

    • Ideas - language and mental images use to describe reality

    • Values - the worth and importance of ideas and ethical standards

    • Behavior - the observable actions of members of the culture

    • Products - visible items utilized in the culture

    • Society - organized interaction of all elements to accomplish its goals


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Culture & Church Planting

  • Areas of Cultural Diversity

    • Gestures

    • Language

    • Personal space

    • Physical items

    • Life style

      • Nucular- independent

      • Patrilocal

      • Extended

    • Music


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Culture & Church Planting

  • Cultural Perspectives

    • Ethnocentric - tend to see our culture as best

    • View other cultures from our home culture perspective

    • Every culture has it good and evil aspects


Culture church planting5

Culture & Church Planting

  • Evangelism & Cultural Distance

    • E-0 is Christians teaching nominal Christians of the same culture who attend their churches but have not made Christ their Lord.

    • E-1 is where evangelism occurs among people of highly similar cultures in the same language.

    • E-2 is evangelism among people in similar cultures but with differing languages.

    • E-3 is evangelism among distinctively different cultures and different languages.


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Culture & Church Planting

  • Bridging - being able to bridge cultural barriers to effectively communicate the gospel.

  • Problems with using nationals to avoid bridging.

    • Support often goes only to supporting local preacher and not church planting

    • How money is used is not known

    • Gives people excuse not to go

    • Tribalism, ethnic fighting, & clan animosity

    • Nationals face obstacles


Culture church planting7

Culture & Church Planting

How To Work Within A Culture

  • Extractionismvs. Identificationalism

    • Extractionism - is pulling people out of their cultural environment and into the missionary’s cultural norm.

    • Identificationalism - is an empathy between communicants involving a compassionate, interpersonal, reciprocal sharing of feelings and concepts.


Culture church growth

Culture & Church Growth

How To Work Within A Culture

  • Perspectives of Extractionism

    • Learning

      • Missionary has all the answers

      • Really does not know the answers

      • Expect to teach without learning to relate to the culture

    • Relating to people

      • People brought to their comfort zone

      • Isolate themselves (won’t eat or sleep among)

      • Don’t see local problems


Culture church planting8

Culture & Church Planting

How To Work Within A Culture

  • Perspectives of Extractionism

    • Language

      • Try communication without learning language

      • Depend on translator

    • Indigenous thought forms

      • Keep western thought forms

      • Will not see cultural dilemmas

    • Ministry

      • High use of institutions

      • Superimpose their own cultural perspectives of think & organization of local people


Culture church planting9

Culture & Church Planting

How To Work Within A Culture

  • Basic invalid assumption of extractionism

    • Assumes all people are the same

    • Seldom focuses on a specific audience

    • Outside support is generally approved

  • Problems with extractionism

    • Tend to westernize cultures

    • High degree of dependence on the missionary

    • Highly indoctrinated


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Culture & Church Planting

  • Perspectives on identificationalism

    • Learning

      • Learner first

      • Teach with cultural perspective

    • Relating to people

      • Regard people as equals

      • Participate in local customs (food, sleep, celebrate)

      • Wisdom & education not the same


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Culture & Church Planting

  • Perspectives on identificationalism

    • Indigenous thought forms

      • Teach in a culturally understandable form

      • Use illustrations in their cultural context

    • Ministry

      • Personalize ministry to the people

      • Does not superimpose our own cultural thought forms or organizational ideas (e.g. decision making)


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Culture & Church Planting

  • Qualities of identificational thinking

    • Compassion

      • Enter into the suffering of other people

      • Understand people’s life situation (Mt. 9:36)

    • Interpersonal report

      • Personal training

      • Open home - friendship

      • Being a part of the community

    • Reciprocity - One another scriptures

      • Transparency

      • Sharing

      • Empathy


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Culture & Church Planting

  • Inner & Outer Identification

    • Physical conformity does not necessarily prove identification

      • Things vs. People

      • Heart felt empathy bring more than physical conformity


Culture church planting

Culture & Church Planting

  • Contextualization -- communicating the gospel in a new context in a way that is understandable to the recipients in order for them to do theology, develop church life, be involved in ministry that is biblically based and culturally appropriate.

  • Identifying with the people helps you to contextualize the message better.

  • Extractionism hinders one’s ability to effectively contextualize the gospel


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Culture & Church Planting

  • Cultural Adaptation

    • Enculturation - the process by which a child learns to be a functioning member of its home culture.

    • Acculturation - the process by which an adult acquires the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, & behaviors to function within a new culture.

    • Culture Jolts- experiencing cultural differences which one adapts to after an initial experience of newness and uncomfortableness.

    • Culture Shock- experiencing cultural differences but not being able to adapt and live in harmony with the differences.


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