Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Gift of Ministry in a Foreign Tongue

There is a blessing in having half your brain tied behind your back. When you work and operate 90 percent of the time in your second or third strongest language, you are forced to simplify everything you do. You find yourself shutting up a lot of the time. You ask yourself the question: “Is what I am about to try to say absolutely necessary? Will what I have to say help this situation, or just serve to remind people I am in the room?”

This is a gift for someone who is a “Kingdom Growth Catalyst,” “Cross-cultural Minister,” “Spiritual Arsonist,” (he-he love that one, Derek) or whatever you want to call missions nowadays. Because whatever else you are trying to accomplish in your efforts, you want to remain “behind the scenes.” You hear story after story of missionaries coming into an area, building a thriving, exciting splash based on their cultural novelty, and then leaving everything to die. Fellowship built around personality is not the goal.

Instead, you want to bring Jesus into already existent points of fellowship, teach the nationals to understand and develop Biblical community for themselves, stand back and watch it grow. When that is your goal, it is very helpful to have a handicap that forces you to stay quiet unless it is really needed.

It can frustrate, but let’s face it, Jesus Himself said of the Father: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” And the amazing thing is, when you minister in a foreign language you discover that when something really needs to be said you have the words come to you from nowhere. You use vocabulary you never learned and won’t remember the next day. On the other hand sometimes you speak just to be heard and that doesn’t always come out so well.


  1. So true and insightful...

  2. Way to totally steal my next blog idea. Oh well, at least your blogs leave your head and make it to the net.


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