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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

Culture & Church Planting

Understanding Cultures

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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