Session 8: Cross-cultural messengers

Outcomes (team members will):
  • Reflect on examples of how people who encountered Jesus shared their experience with others.
  • Practice sharing parts of their own experience with Jesus with others.
  • Identify ways to share faith that goes beyond language.

Leader resource
  • Permission Evangelism (chapter 6), Michael Simpson. ISBN 0-7814-3908-6.

Review

Have each person share the new phrase in the local language they learned, as well as one other interesting thing they learned about the host culture/place.


Opening activity
  • Everyone gets with a partner and shares their faith stories. The leader keeps it to a three-minute time limit.
  • When both partners have shared, give each other feedback. Did it sound natural? Was there anything that didn’t make sense?
  • Ask team members to switch partners and invite them to share their story again.This time in two minutes.
  • Have partners share suggestions.
  • Team members switch partners one more time, and now try to give their story in one minute.
  • Discuss together:
    • How did it feel to share your story?
    • What helpful feedback did your partner give you to help you tell your story?
  • Remind them that the goal is not to have the most dramatic story. Rather, it is to faithfully give witness to what God has done in our lives.

Encounters with Jesus

Have the team look at the following three stories:
  • The woman at the well (John 4), the healing at the pool (John 9), the demon-possessed man (Mark 5:1-20).
  • Think about: What did these people know about Jesus? What was their testimony? What was the effect?
  • We don’t have to know everything. We just have to give faithful witness to what we know!

Having faith conversations

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV).

What do we learn from this verse about sharing our faith? How do we go about sharing our faith with gentleness and respect? To be honest, often Christians do not have the reputation of sharing this way. Often we’re obnoxious when we share our faith.
  1. Practice listening to others. This is respectful. In general, people won’t want to hear what you have to say until they know you've heard them. Make a habit of asking people about their lives, families, and faith journey. Let this lead into your own sharing.
  2. Often we get tripped up by the hard questions because we think we have to have all the answers. We may panic and get defensive or argumentative. This is not sharing “with gentleness and respect.” It’s refreshing when we don’t have all the answers! Ask the group to share some hard questions such as, “Why do some people get healed and others not?” or “Where do people who haven’t heard about Jesus go when they die?” NOTE: Don’t try to answer the questions, as tempting as it may be. The point is to let participants name some of the hard questions. You want participants to know that it’s okay to not have all the answers and to respond with, “I don’t know.” But don’t stop with that. Continue by saying, “… but I do know…” and share where you’re at on your journey with Jesus.
  • Activity:
    • Divide into pairs and practice. One person asks the other a hard question. The other responds by saying, “I don’t know, but I do know…” 
    • Encourage team members to share something from the first exercise of sharing their stories. Depending on the group, you may want to first role play with another leader to model the type of conversation you want participants to practice.
  • Debrief:
    • How did the conversation go? 
    • What was surprising, encouraging, frustrating, challenging, etc?

Going beyond language

  • Who we are is always more important that what we say. There are things that communicate Jesus’ love to people, regardless of culture. Take some time to brainstorm those things and make a list on the board.
  • Ideas could be:
    • a smile
    • taking time to ask and listen to another person’s story
    • taking time to play with someone
    • showing an interest in learning how to do a favorite activity or common chore
    • allowing others to serve and teach you
    • attempting to learn the language
    • being patient and forgiving as a group and to others
    • praying for people

Response

Ask God for an opportunity to share your story with someone this week.


Preview

Next session we will make final preparations for our trip.
Comments