Philemon 1:6 “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”
Every missionary desires to communicate effectively. The words expressing the truths of the Word of God should be honed to brilliance. This is especially true when communicating cross-culturally. Here are three things to keep in mind.
An effective cross-cultural minister will always use Bible words. Peter said, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed…” If we have more sure words then we ought to use them. Making our message more palatable and user friendly does not necessarily make communication more effectual. Paul encouraged Timothy along these lines in 2 Timothy 1:13, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” Bible words are sound words.
An effective cross-cultural minister will also use appropriate behavioral words. Culture is the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social,ethnic, or age group. Since every culture behaves a certain way and therefore communicates a certain way it is paramount that a cross-cultural missionary does the work necessary to understand and communicate effectively. An ignorant or lazy missionary often does more harm than good.
Finally, an effective cross-cultural minister will use basic words. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Take the Gospel of John for example. It is most simple yet so profound. A good communicator keeps things simple.
David Hesselgrave said it well in his book Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally, “That [communicating Christ cross-culturally] is a tremendously rewarding endeavor. But it is also an unusually demanding one.”