McRae, Fred. A Case Study in Contextualization: The History of the German Church Growth Association 1985-2003. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2014.
The content of the gospel never changes; however, the communication of it constantly fluctuates. Communicating the gospel to a homeless, hungry woman may include providing a hot bowl of chili, while an agnostic co-worker might be open after several rounds of golf. The message is the same, but the method of communicating it is as wide and varied as life itself. Finding the correct method is like hitting the “sweet spot” on a tennis racket or golf club. It takes time, study, and practice but once you find it you have more success.
The “sweet spot” in missions is called contextualization and involves much more than learning a new language. It means knowing a country’s religious, political, and social conditions. Correct theology, financial backing, and language acquisition are meaningless without contextualization.
This book tells the story of a German organization struggling to contextualize the gospel in a very hostile environment. Its mission was to revive a dying and corrupt church, characterized by centuries–old religious pride and pluralism. This study details the challenges of faithfully communicating the gospel in a post-Christian culture and serves as a study to enable missionaries to recognize and respond to cultural issues affecting the contextualization process.
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