Some would argue that missions and evangelism mean different things. With social media and the constant movement across political boundaries of the peoples on the move, those definitions may need rethinking.
According to the definition, missions means, “an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes, typically involving travel. the vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.” Evangelism means, “the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.” What does it mean when the people we are traveling to come to us?
Language barriers, culture differences in communication and living, etc exist here, too. Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona ranks number four for international students with 11,330 students. With our current border crisis in Arizona, Latinos and those from Central America are crossing into our deserts. They don’t speak our language. So when we listened to Mobile Ministry Forum’s webinar, Refugees and Media Ministry, we learned how to communicate within our communities using mobile ministry.
So here is our re-interpretation of what we learned:
- Do an internet search on your town’s demographics. Be observant as you walk around your city or town. Most people speak English. In Arizona, our experience has been kids of immigrants speak English, often interpreting on behalf of their parents who still speak the mother tongue. The kids may not always be present in one-on-one conversation.
- Do you have a college or university? How many of the student population are international? Join with CRU or Young Life to get involved in campus evangelism/missions.
So you met a person who can’t speak English?
- Mobile Ministry Forum suggests taking your smart phone or mobile phone and downloading videos in the heart language of the person you are trying to communicate with.
- Create a library of videos on a spare smart phone, downloading videos before your planned trip into the city. Most smart phones are 8 to 16 gigabytes. Battery life is 8 hours.
- Mobile Ministry Forum suggests using a feature phone with an SDcard. The feature phone has a longer battery life, but smaller screen. If you are in a foreign country with few options for plugging in and recharging, this is great.
- Get a spare, cheap tablet. Use this strictly for ministry and download a library of videos that speak the Gospel in the heart language of the people you are trying to speak to in the city or town you are visiting. Tablet battery lasts all day.
- Hint: You don’t have to have a smart phone or tablet on a phone plan. Each one can still pick up wifi and still operate as a mini-computer.
- Pre-downloaded videos mean less worry about wiFi or your data not working.
- Download an audio bible onto some SDcards and pass them out to people in your city.
- Introduce yourself and show them the screen of your smart phone, tablet, or feature phone, and play the video in their heart language. Let the video speak the Gospel.
- In Arizona, we have Latino and Chinese churches. Bring business cards from those churches to connect the non-English speaking person with a pastor that speaks their language.
The world is changing because of violence, unrest and technology. Missions and Evangelism lines are blurring. With a large amount of unreached people groups in the United States and across the world, how are you sharing the Gospel?