Warmly yours, Frank Fortunato
One of the model ministries dealing with the complexities of relating the Gospel to culture especially among unreached people groups is the team of dedicated translators, ethnomusicologists and various supporting ministries of Wycliffe Bible Translators. The Wycliffe/SIL team continues to put out relevant materials to help missionaries and churches deal with cultural issues. Wycliffe Ethnomusicologist Paul Neeley describes an upcoming new resource: "The ethnomusicology department of Wycliffe Bible Translators is putting together a compilation of articles that can be used when teaching about worship in a cross cultural setting. Topics in this new resource will include
The material will be universal in scope, biblically based and have anthropological significance." (For more information contact Paul Neeley firstname.lastname@example.org)<>
A Christian worker has just recorded 34 of 100 songs as part of an unprecedented multi-recording Tibetan music project. This may be the first known modern compilation of Tibetan Christian worship songs. The missionary/musician writes: "After the completion of the tapes, I will begin work on the long term project I have in mind, to use Tibetan art forms of dance, drama, music and art to teach vital foundational Christian concepts which are foreign to the Tibetan worldview. Such concepts as a personal Creator God, sin, the need of a Savior, the difference between humans and animals, grace, forgiveness, etc. are unknown in Tibetan thought."
From September 5-13, 1998 a gathering of 7-10 thousand people from 50 countries will descend on Rapid City, South Dakota, for the Second World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People. Richard Twiss, Co-Chairman of the planning committee states: "this will be a great celebration of worship to Jesus Christ by First Nations people using their historical, traditional songs, music, instruments, dances, languages, dress and customs. This historic gathering will help break the centuries old strongholds in this country related to Native peoples. (For more information you may visit the Gathering website at http://www.chazm.com/wcgip Source: Richard Twiss, Co-Chairman, WCCIP planning committee.)
Among the many Christian maritime ministries are the three mission ships of YWAM (the MV Anastasis, Caribbean Mercy and Island Mercy) and the two ships of OM (MV Logos II and MV Doulos). These five vessels continue to celebrate God's beauty through various artistic expressions. They use these expressions to build bridges to reach people for Christ. Crosstide, an international team of YWAM'rs based on the Anastasis have had many openings to present Christ in culturally relevant ways in secondary schools, universities, prisons, churches, youth rallies, and open airs. When possible, Crosstide will team up with Lazarus, the ship's music team, to present the Christian message in an attractive way.
Since the seventies the OM ships Logos (replaced by Logos II) and Doulos conclude each port visit with their "International Night" presentations. Both vessels draw on a crew and staff from 35 nations and every continent for these elaborate cultural evenings of music, dance, mime, drama and procession. The crew and staff learn local language songs, and demonstrate the diversity of cultures from around the world performing cultural songs and dances in their national dress. People in each port observe a unique picture of Christianity that is not slanted to western viewpoints. When possible, all five mission ships include presentations of the Gospel and invite people to receive Christ. (For more information about YWAM ships: contact Dawn, Outreach Secretary email@example.com.<> For more information about OM ships: firstname.lastname@example.org
Byron Spradlin, Founder and President of Artists in Christian Testimony writes: "The challenge before us is God's mandate to expand His kingdom worldwide by willing worshipers of God from every tongue, tribe and nation. The reality is that all peoples need to worship God and proclaim Christ in their own languages and cultural styles. This requires that those various peoples be approached and affirmed in communication, proclamation, worship and learning styles; ceremonies, rituals, metaphors and symbol systems that make sense to them.
A further reality is that those Christians most adequately equipped by God with sensitivity to another groups' artistic expression are those kingdom servants out of music and arts backgrounds. A key requirement to accelerate the expansion of God's kingdom is that artistically endowed Kingdom servants must be identified, empowered, resourced and mobilized for ministry and missions.
Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) is a mission board and sending agency. It exists to empower, equip and deploy an army of artistic ministry specialists into the fabric of church, missions and market place efforts worldwide. A.C.T. also exists to nurture a new generation of arts-oriented Christians who have no expectation of pay or fame, and see them discipled in the Lord, His Word, in ministry skills and Christian disciplines. A.C.T.'s ultimate goal is to help equip the Church-and especially its artists and leaders to more fully embrace the arts in our worship of God and in the task of proclaiming, in Christ's name, his truth, beauty, glory and salvation to all peoples of the world. (To learn more about A.C.T. contact Rev. Byron Spradlin, ActNashville@worldnet.att.net, or Byron personally at<> email@example.com.)<>
Warmly yours, Frank Fortunato
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