Using Bridges and Barriers Obstacles to and Opportunities for Sharing the Gospel...
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Obstacles to and Opportunities for Sharing the Gospel...
Worldview issues, along with basic doctrinal truths for salvation, give us clues on how to effectively bring a people from where they are in their spiritual interests and beliefs to a saving knowledge and belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savoir.
Two Important Elements of Worldview are Bridges and Barriers
Bridges deal with those aspects of culture, religion, knowledge and interests that can have a positive influence on a person’s consideration of the Gospel.
Interest comes as the one deals with issues deemed important or significant to the people in their worldview.
Bridges often provide openings for greater interest and relevancy of the message to a person’s worldview.
They are God-given opportunities for witness in which a bridge occurs consisting of an existing interest, concept, concern, situation or other factor which predisposes a person to the Gospel.
Barriers develop from one’s experiences, circumstances and reasoning. What a person sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, and experiences during his life becomes part of his thinking and value system.
These become a set of filters through which a person processes, interprets, evaluates, accepts or rejects information.
Barriersdeal with the negative aspects of culture, religion, knowledge, interest and other influences that hinder a listener in his hearing, understanding or acting upon the message of the Gospel.
These issues require more emphasis to disarm them, demolish them, or otherwise nullify the barrier as a hindrance. Not knowing significant barriers can mean ineffective sharing while failing to deal with the real stumbling block issues.
Not all barriers require up-front assault. Deal initially with spiritual barriers and only those necessary to move the Bible story toward the cross.
Some worldview issues can be better dealt with later during discipleship lessons after a basis for a changed life has been established.
Social Barriers: family persecution, gangs, peer pressure, prostitution, status, power.
Learn about bridges and barriers from your study of the target population. Look for the trends and general characteristics within culture, taking time to interview or dialog with representatives of the people.
Talk with those who have made recent decisions for Christ to see what their turning points were and what attracted them to the message of the Gospel.
In short, look at their total culture and think about issues they will have to deal with in becoming believers.
Through the Discovery of Barriers to the Gospel
Following are some questions and topics you will want to explore among the target people you work with in order to arrive at a workable barriers to the Gospel list. (At the same time, you will be able to begin constructing an adequate Worldview of the same people.) You will also want to look at the list of general barriers, since there is often a relationship between the spiritual issues and other worldview issues.
Then you are ready to select some older person to talk with who would likely know myths, religious beliefs and taboos. Engage in a conversation about origins and the spirit world. Listen for clues to explore later. Ask what they do when things happen that need changing. Do they seek to appease some deity? How do they relate to the spirit world? Talk with both men and women about their world.
Then consider the issues that need further exploring.Look over the lists of worldview issues, barriers and bridges. Make your own list of questions to those issues you don’t have information about. Remember, you are looking for those issues which are stumbling blocks to hearing the Gospel, understanding, it, believing it, and acting upon what the Bible teaches about salvation.
Also look for any evidences of prior knowledge, especially misconceptions and deliberate misinformation the people may have about the Bible, the Godhead, Jesus, and Christianity.
First think about all the things you have observed and heard that characterize the spiritual beliefs of you target people.
Next, look for sources of information that have been published about your people and their belief system and practices.