The worship of God throughout the world is so diverse and is most of the time connected with a people’s culture. Many religions exist worldwide to sooth human’s deepest need for connection with the spiritual. Christianity has been adopted and accepted as the true worship of God in many societies and ethnicities as it should because before His ascension to heaven, Yahshua (Jesus Christ) commissioned His disciples to go “and make disciples of all nations” Mathew 28:19.
Many missionaries have been faithful to this commission and have travelled to many lands to introduce the gospel of Christ. Many have however taken their culture as opposed to the gospel and have caused more harm than good to the communities they have gone to. This is because they have gone with an attitude of superiority instead of humility. The missionary in this kind of scenario has belittled the culture of his hosts and has aimed at changing this culture to what the missionary perceive to be right based on the missionary’s own culture as opposed to preaching the gospel.
Apostle Paul was a Jew but his ministry was to the gentiles. He writes concerning his ministry, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I become as a Jew, that I might win Jews: to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without the law, as without the law ( not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I become weak, that I might win the weak. —Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.
Paul in this statement gives important principles for ministry which are;
a) Find common ground with those you contact- the kingdom of God is open to all
b) Avoid a know it-all attitude- you could learn something from those you are ministering to
c) Make others feel accepted- they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God
d) Be sensitive to their needs and concerns- please respect their culture
e) Look for opportunities to tell them about Christ- remember Christ is the agenda not you or your culture.
God honors and created our diversity and we must be respectful when we are relating to others who are not of our cultural heritage. The book of Revelation narrates how John saw in the throne of God “a great multitude —of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues” (Revelations 7: 9-10) all engaging in worship. These were not people from just one nation or race and neither did they speak one language; so respect this diversity for God created it for a purpose.
Paul in the scripture quoted at the beginning of this article emphasizes that everything should be done to the “glory of God” with the purpose of having those you minister to accept the good news of our Lord and savior Yashua the Christ. Remember some of these values that you attack have held the communities together and symbolize or gives the people identity or purpose.
With this mind, make it your goal when you go on a mission to first start by knowing the people. Respect their values and as long as what they do does not contradict scripture play along because of the love of Christ. And please do not patronize them because in reality you are not better than them. You are one of the many vessels that Christ has chosen for His use.