Do we know the culture around us? Do we know our neighborhood, it’s people, and their stories, values, and worldview?
Tim Chester believes we should be asking ourselves the kind of questions missionaries ask when they enter a new culture. In doing so, we are better able to understand those around us and thus meet their needs with the gospel.
Here are the questions he poses…
- Where are the places and activities we can meet people?
- Where do people experience community?
- Are there existing social networks with which we engage, or do we need to find ways of creating community within a neighborhood?
- Where should we be to have missional opportunities?
- What are the patterns and timescales of our neighborhood
- When are the times we can connect with people?
- How do people organize their time?
- What cultural experiences and celebrations do people value? How might these be used as bridges to the gospel?
- When should we be available to have missional opportunities?
- What are people’s fears, hopes, and hurts?
- What gospel stories are told in the neighborhood? What gives people identity (creation)? How do they account for wrong in the world (fall)? What is their solution (redemption)? What are their hopes (consummation)?
- What are the barrier beliefs or assumptions that cause people to dismiss the gospel?
- What sins will the gospel first confront and heal?
- In what ways are people self-righteous?
- What is the good news for people in this neighborhood?
- What will the church look like for people in this neighborhood?
(from Everyday Church by Tim Chester, 42-43)