Disciple-making in a culturally diverse setting (family, work, community at large) presents a particular set of obstacles that requires a deeper dependency on the original model, described in Scripture. Here you have a light theological framework for our implementation of the Great Commission in such a setting.
Challenges and needs
Interaction among people with different cultural preferences is risky and, in some instances, it is painful. Discipleship in this context, then, has the following challenges.
- Increase in idolatry.
- Decrease in worship.
What we need is a way to protect our attempts from our own sinful approaches. We also need a metric capable of overcoming differences among cultures, a metric easy to understand and relevant for all interacting preferences.
With this specs, let’s get to work!
A simple analogy
The beginning of our framework is an analogy transferable to all parts involve: a road trip.
The staring point for any road trip is the destiny. Where do we want to go? Then, we need to know where we are. With those two points, and using a map, we can work on the details of how to get there, and how to know we are still en route.
This analogy provides us with the four parts of our framework. In order to make disciples in a culturally diverse setting – the nations, your family, your work place – we need to know:
- What is the starting point?
- Where do we want to go?
- How do we get there?
- What do we do to keep us on track?
Now, on to the Four Elements of Discipleship in Cultural Diversity.
The starting point: God’s grace.
Putting it simply: if you have any other reason for making disciples, if there is any other motivation in your heart for seeing people being restored, besides the grace of the Triune God for you, then you are going in the wrong direction. Remembering the grace that has saved you is fundamental to fight the idolatry naturally growing within. Remembering His grace for you will also allow you to be more patience with those around you, and will give you reasons to celebrate His goodness and generosity. And with His grace He has demonstrated that cultural differences can be bridged. After all, there is no bigger cultural difference than the one existing between you and Him, right?
The end result: humility
One of the hallmarks of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, is humility. He didn’t consider He being God Himself as an excuse. He emptied Himself, became poor, became like us – but without sin. And if we are making disciples of Him, then we would like to see our disciples resembling His character as much as possible. We want our heart and the heart of those around us to grow in humility. What is humility? It is the ability of setting aside my cultural preferences, for the benefit of others and for the glory of God.
Regardless of curriculum, teaching techniques, ways to measure growth… if the human heart is being transformed by God the Holy Spirit, then that human heart will be able to show humility in an increasing way.
The process: cultivating constantly
If there is no one single person in Scripture described as the perfect, totally done, complete disciple of Jesus Christ, if there are shortcomings even in the best of them, if all of them looked forward to the day when they would be made perfect (in glory), why then should we demand perfection here and now? Why would we required a finished product out of our attempts to disciple-making? We must cultivate the human heart, ours and those around us, constantly. We must review the truths of Scripture time and time again, going back as many times as needed, but with the desire of going deeper and deeper each time.
The environment: cultural diversity
To bring all Elements together, to keep the cohesion, to be sure we are on the right path we need a demanding environment – to keep us humble and depending on His grace – that also allows for a clear view of His work of restoration. That environment is cultural diversity. Read the other post in this series re: a working definition of cultural diversity for more details.
Consider the Four Elements. Do you see something to add, remove, change? How could you carry out them? If you have any experience using these Elements, please consider sharing your experience with others, for their benefit and your encouragement.
Remember His grace, Follow Him in humility, Cultivate constantly, All in cultural diversity