I said in previous post that “contextualization is not simply about adapting to the culture. More importantly it is about understanding the culture so that you can identify the ‘bite point’ – the moments were the gospel challenges the culture, offering good news and calling for repentance. Contextualization is not just about how we can be like the culture. It is also about identifying where the gospel is different from the culture.”
In the next few posts I’m going to suggests of exploring this ‘bite point’ in the culture.
Barriers and bridges
One simply way used throughout the world (especially in chronological Bible storying) is to organise your observations is to think in terms of barriers and bridges to the gospel.
Bridges are behaviours, beliefs, attitudes and, circumstances that offer opportunities for the gospel. An assumption that God exists is a bridge to the gospel even if you then need to challenge the way people think about him. A sense of brokenness is often a bridge to the gospel as people are willing to admit their need.
Barriers are those things which make it difficult for people to connect with Christ. They will be different in every context but might include things like prejudice towards the church, a suspicion of authority, a preoccupation with the present, a fear of standing out from the crowd. Identifying these barriers enables you to identify key messages that you will need to keep hitting if people are going to change. If fatalism is barrier to the gospel then you may decide to emphasise repeatedly the transforming power of God’s Spirit.
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