Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Know Before You Go!

We cannot be ignorant of the enemy's devices. What may work in our local church or geographical area may not be appropriate in others. Dancing in pants for women or wearing skirts that flare during movement may be offensive in other cultures. Even wearing camouflage, often used as a symbol of warfare in dance ministry in the United States, is considered illegal in some countires when worn by non-military personnel. We should know these details in advance. As we prepare to go into all the world and preach the gospel, we must also study where we are going before we arrive so as to operate in wisdom when winning souls.

When engaging other cultures or traditions, we must be aware of the strongholds or traditional practices in order to be effective. This does not mean that we are to observe the ungodly traditions of the region that we are visiting. If we cannot discern idol worship, anti-Christ expressions, or other spiritual symbolism, we are walking into a snare. Especially when travelling to distant lands, we should know what is lawful or acceptable before we go. Gender limitations, clothing restrictions, and behavioral practices are to be noted so that we may continue to operate freely.

When adressing diverse cultures, we must also be aware of what type of language is acceptable in a public setting. What is a freedom in one location may be illegal in another. We cannot make any assumptions. We can do research via the internet, call ahead to ask questions, or get advice from experienced travellers. If we are ignorant in ministry, we may find ourselves imprisoned for the cause.

Exodus 34:12 (NKJV)
Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst.

Deuteronomy 18:9 (NKJV)
[Avoid Wicked Customs] “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 (NKJV)
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

2 Corinthians 6:3 (NKJV)
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.

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