Kerygma Consultants in Intercultural Communication

Kerygma Consultants in Intercultural Communication
By Chuck & Barbara Grimes
 
We work with local partners in training and mentoring speakers from marginalized language communities to develop language-based programs which strengthen their local identity and address the social disadvantage they frequently experience because of low levels of literacy and education.
 
Recognizing the language factor in ministry and education
 
There are over 7,000 living languages in the world, yet language and identity are critical factors often ignored by church leaders, educators, and government officials -- even in multilingual societies. In places like eastern Indonesia, people who speak traditional or otherwise marginalized languages are often considered to be backward, uncivilized and uneducated. Because their languages are not associated with progress, political power and modernization, they often experience social disadvantage and marginalization in religious, educational and economic contexts, which further contributes to a vicious cycle of low self-esteem and more disadvantage. In church contexts this often results in Bible-less churches, shallow discipleship, and low levels of Biblical literacy. 

How a large multilingual church in West Timor is addressing the language factor

The synod leadership of the GMIT church (Gereja Masehi Injili di Timor) has invited us to work with them at their Language and Culture Unit. GMIT is one of the largest denominations in Indonesia, with around 1,400,000 members, 46 presbyteries, 2300 congregations, and 1,600 ordained ministers, whose members speak around 70 languages. GMIT increasingly values the role of local languages in transformational communication (kerygma).
 
GMIT has requested that we assist them to implement language-based programs which include: training and mentoring local people to develop high quality Bible translations, hymns, liturgies, Sunday school and other literacy materials. They have over 100 rural church schools scattered throughout the islands and mountains in the region, and are requesting our assistance in developing multilingual education materials and programs for these schools.
 
By treasuring their languages and implementing these programs, GMIT envisions that these efforts will strengthen Biblical literacy and spiritual growth through the languages most effective for meaningful discipleship, and begin to address the many social and economic disadvantages their members experience. They also recognize that mutual respect among diverse ethnolinguistic groups contributes to stable and healthy churches and societies. 

 
 
Project Manager
Barbara Dix Grimes

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