The first thing I tell young adults that I’m developing in missional living is that they need to learn to listen—to themselves, to Jesus, and to the people that God has placed in their lives.
Our Culture-Colored Lenses: How Different People See the Gospel
Who comes to mind when you think of your own cross-cultural experiences? Some of you may recall a short-term missions trip and the people you met. Yet often, many of us don’t have to venture very far at all to find ourselves interacting with someone who comes from a culture (quick definition for culture: how we view the world and how we live our lives as a result of that view) other than our own. Seeking to understand cultural differences is helpful not just when going to another country, but also in our everyday lives. We likely encounter people from different cultures—ethnic, generational, or religious—in the workplace, at school, with our neighbors, and even amongst our friends.
A Monkey Stole My Dignity (And a Few Other Things): How to Cross Cultures Gracefully
I seem to have a knack for finding the most difficult path when it comes to learning life lessons. Maybe you don’t have this problem and have the ability to avoid the difficulties I tend to find myself facing. Honestly, I never do it on purpose, but I always end up in the craziest situations. That’s true of my life in general. Add going overseas and crossing cultures, and you can’t imagine the types of predicaments I find myself in. For example, the time a monkey stole my underwear in Thailand.
Reflections From the Streets: Experiencing Homelessness in San Francisco
Personal Journal Entry: February 28, 2017
This is the morning of Day Two of “First Hand Experience,” a three-day trial in homelessness that is part of the 20-year tradition of InnerCHANGE’s “San Francisco Outer Circle” Team. The idea is simple: you can better serve the homeless community if you have some idea of what it’s like to be homeless. It should be noted that a three-day trial of sleeping on the street is different than living on the street. That said, three days, even a day and a half of being homeless does quickly change one’s perspective of the lives of our friends here, and some of the practical daily challenges that they have to live with.
Real Friendships, Real Evangelism: Tips and Challenges
Hospitality and developing genuine relationships are at the heart of our ministry approach, but it wasn’t always that way for me. With my conservative evangelical background and living in the South, I used to take trips with a student group to knock on doors and hand out gospel tracts. We’d show up for five days in a place, then go back to our own town and never see those people again. It was transactional: here’s my message, will you accept it, yes or no? Despite the fact that this was very different from the way my own faith grew, the idea of building relationship first before inviting a person to consider Jesus was completely against the grain for me.
We all know that we need to breathe in order to survive. During my time with InnerCHANGE in South Africa, I learned that to engage the world in a balanced, life-giving way, I also needed to take figurative breaths—breathing in by pausing for contemplation, and breathing out by acting in hope-filled ways. You can find five simple ideas for breathing in through contemplation at my previous post. After you breathe in, you have to breathe out!
A local Free Methodist church working with CRM’s reFocusing team discovered they had several law-enforcement people in their congregation. This was news to them. At the same time, they discovered there were three prisons within their city limits. So they chose to make the correctional officers at one of these prisons their first “strategic initiative” to demonstrate the good news of Jesus outside of their church walls.
Our InnerCHANGE Miami team is located in Coconut Grove, a once bustling Bahamian community of 30,000 Afro-Carribean residents—now home to less than 3,000. Our streets show the telltale signs of “renovation” and “revival,” with brightly colored, shotgun-style Bahamian homes torn down as sleek, modern condos rapidly take their place.
Growing up in the church, I noticed that those said to have the “spiritual gift of hospitality” seemed to exist in one specific category: women who were exceptional cooks. In fact, it was hard not to picture wearing an apron as a prerequisite for God to bestow this particular ability. While I confess to having my own spiritual experiences upon devouring a homemade chocolate chip cookie still warm from the oven, I have learned there is much more to this life-giving charism.