If you enjoyed the Contextualize small group study, we’ve got more great resources that dig deeper into the main takeaway of each lesson.
Find more information on the Equipped series here.
Culture is what we make of the world. It communicates our values and understandings of what the “good life” is. That’s Why Culture Matters. Tim Keller explains that culture-making is something that we were made to do, and should do, especially as Christians, in order to communicate the true “good life.” Andy Crouch also argues that Christians need to be makers of culture in his talk, Stepping Into Culture. He looks at the postures in which Christians have approached culture in the past, and ultimately makes the same point that Keller does about our duty to create culture. The videos touch on some similar points, so you can watch one or both.
Guilt Innocence, Honor Shame, and Fear Power Worldviews is a short video that explains how to communicate the gospel to people from each of the three main worldviews. It begins by breaking down what each of these worldviews means and which cultures best fit into that category. It then covers the gospel using different messages and passages from the Bible that address the core values in each worldview.
The Evangelism Conversation No One Is Having is an article by Carey Nieuwhof in which he talks about the fact that a lot of believers are missing out on evangelism opportunities because they are not in touch with the culture around them. While it is mostly addressed to older believers and pastors in western culture, his points could easily apply to people trying to reach any culture with which they are unfamiliar.
In order to share the gospel with someone, as this lesson explains, you need to know and understand their perspective. 99 Wondering Questions is a list of questions on various topics that you could use to better understand someone’s background and beliefs. Whether you use these prompts to get to know someone better, or to open a space in conversation for speaking about the gospel, it is worth having some of these ready to use in your evangelism.
This article, To Contextualize or Not to Contextualize: That Is NOT the Question, goes through what contextualization is and why (based on 1 Corinthians 9) it is done. It briefly goes over the biblical basis, motives, problems, and practical applications of contextualization. This is an easy read, and a really good lesson/reminder about the necessity of contextualizing the gospel.
Now that you have an idea of how to, theoretically, contextualize the gospel, perhaps you’d like a real-life example? Roxine’s story, Denmark: Using Hygge to Share the Gospel, is about how a mission trip to Denmark gave her the opportunity to observe another culture and use their own traditions to create a space for sharing the gospel more effectively.
If we are to go about contextualizing the gospel, we are bound to have interactions with people of other beliefs. Engaging the Global Village of Faiths gives a list of five tips to help us in our interactions with people from other faiths. These are important things to consider in terms of attitude and approach, as building relationships and sharing with these people can sometimes be a very delicate matter. We need to be open and humble, but we must also be aware of our limits.
In this article, Are Your Efforts to Contextualize the Gospel All About You?, we are reminded through Paul’s example in 1 Corinthians 9 that our attitude in contextualizing the gospel needs to be one of sacrifice. We cannot just “become” something for our own sake; we should serve others for the sake of many, even when it isn’t easy. After all, Jesus did just that when he came to reach us.
Bonus: You can also read this blog post about how to be a successfully offensive witness that gives you an example of evangelism done with the wrong attitude and mindset.
For more great resources like these, check out the rest of our More to Grow On for “Equipped” Series.