Tip One: Observe
Tip Two: Use The Right Language
Paul knew the common language of the day, the language of connections and one that would cross boundaries: Greek. Knowing Greek opened up many doors for him and allowed him to go into countries and speak to people he wouldn’t normally be able to.
When I was in Ukraine, a missionary I knew moved from East Ukraine to West Ukraine, from Russian speaking to Ukrainian speaking. Everyone in the West could understand Russian, but when he started to speak to them in Russian they objected. They didn’t want the God who would only speak to them in Russian, they wanted the God who came to them in their language and who was for them.
Tip Three: Speak Into The Culture
Tip Four: Stick To The Core Message
Tip Five: Love
Paul’s letters are written with such love to every church he writes to, he clearly has a deep personal connection with each church. He doesn’t just want to see them saved but become disciples.
Truly loving people changes everything. Our words have more meaning, our actions carry more significance, and we can carry on when we would normally quit. True love only comes from Christ and the Holy Spirit in us, but it transforms our actions.
But I’m not in a foreign land
You might think that this has no relevance for you. Maybe you’ve lived in your country all your life and you know the culture inside out. You speak the language and you always just preach the message out of love.
Well I’ve got news for you…you are an alien.
We are told that we are citizens of Heaven and not of the earth (Philippians 3:20). That is where we truly belong. We aren’t of these countries and we shouldn’t conform to worldly patterns.
Sometimes this means we end up speaking a load of jargon that people don’t understand. When we talk about Grace, Sin, Repentance, even Love, people either don’t know what they mean or think they mean something else (love makes us happy right?).
Don’t assume you are speaking the same language, don’t talk about issues that aren’t important to people, don’t add on all these extra requirements for faith. Focus on the cross, observe the culture, love people and tell them the good news.