Guarding Against a False Message
No one would argue that the gospel is not a life-changing message, yet language and culture can create barriers that block life change by distorting the gospel. That is why learning language and culture well is a vital component in the church planting process.
How do we know if all the time and effort put into language study is making a difference? How can we ensure that it’s not left to chance? Are there checkpoints along the way? For sure! This is where culture and language consultants come in.
“We do evaluations every four months or so as a means to help the missionaries and the consultant team gain a clearer understanding as to how they are doing,” explains language consultant Randy Steel.
“We call them evaluations, as opposed to tests, because while a test may contain 100 questions, the missionary may only know 50 of the answers to the questions asked, but also know answers to 500 other things that weren’t on the test. … But the evaluation is more than that. We want to … understand what they know, and just as importantly, see what the missionaries can do, how they can use what they’ve learned.”
We need to take care to make sure they’ve understood, not just hope they did.
The End Goal
The end goal is to be able to communicate the gospel message in such a way that there is no chance of misunderstanding. We want no doubt in their mind or ours as to what God has said. As Randy put it, “We need to take care to make sure they’ve understood, not just hope they did.” Their eternal destiny is at stake.
Make a difference in the eternal destiny of the unreached of this world. Please take a minute to pray for missionaries in language and culture study, missionaries like Jared and Leah Haynes in Paraguay, Chad and Janeene Mankins in Papua New Guinea, and Payton and Grace Downing in Asia-Pacific.