Training Sessions and Communicating the Gospel

After praying last time for the Dong churches that do not seem to be growing spiritually, it is most fitting that the possible causes of that lack of growth also be discussed and prayed through. Why are they not growing? What can be done to help them grow?

To some extent, the lack of growth is a matter of the Dong Christians themselves not exercising their faith. They could do more, yes, but the example set before them by non-Dong Christians (Chinese and foreigners) is still a very important part to solving this problem.

It is a matter of cross cultural communication. The outsider communicates a message, but those words and actions together mean something different to a Dong person and the received message ends up quite different.

This is a continual process (or should be) on the part of the outsiders to communicate the Gospel in such a way that Dong people will understand that message as the Bible explains it. That is not easy and is a process full of continual challenges, but if not done, the Gospel will die out (just what we are now witnessing happen) because it was never communicated in the first place.

One example of this problem can be seen in answers to the question of how to bring about church growth. Ask a Dong Christian how to help other Dong brothers and sisters grow in Christ and see what the answer is. Inevitably, the answer will include "training." They ask to set up a "training center" to help lead others to Christ and help them to grow.
That model is straight from current Western missiological practice. The Dong have gained the knowledge to hold training sessions, but evidentally not the importance of the Bible. The training sessions mean nothing by themselves, except that they can communicate the message of the Bible. And somewhere in the process, that message is not making it to the Dong.
These training sessions are not bad. By no means! The problem is many of these sessions just repeat the latest method to Dong people, instead of helping them interact with God and his word. Regardless of what is being said in the training sessions, the message the Dong people are receiving is the method of communication.
"Actions speak louder than words." Dong do not need to be told how to grow, rather shown how to grow.
These are very difficult things to do in another cultural context. Chinese and foreign Christians alike have difficulty communicating the message of the Gospel. All of us, as the Church praying for the Dong people, need to pray for our brothers and sisters trying to communicate the Gospel in a way the Dong people will understand.
Jesus, you understand the Dong people fully. You know how to relate the life giving message to them in a way they will understand. Please continue to challenge the foreigners and Chinese who are trying to tell them your good news. Help them to question how everything is done so that it can be continually made better and more effective for your Kingdom.

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