International (MNN) — We talked a few weeks ago about the power of your personal story in starting conversations about the Gospel. But, when it comes to missions and reaching people who don’t know Christ, chances are you may encounter people from different cultures.
In that situation, do you ever wonder if your story and how Christ impacts it is relevant enough to share when there are cultural differences?
Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says, while it’s an understandable question, you probably have more in common with people from other cultures and backgrounds than you realize.
“We tend to look at people based on their backgrounds and we identify them by their religion, and they would identify us by ours, or we would identify them by their ethnicity or whatever. The fact is, here’s what we have in common: loneliness feels the same around the world, the struggle to be a mom or a dad feels the same around the world, loving your kids feels the same around the world.”
He continues, “Even though marriage is very different in different cultures, still, to try to be the right kind of husband or the right kind of wife, that’s the same around the world. Selfishness is the same around the world. Having been betrayed by abuse in your past, having someone you trusted betray you and create a lifetime scar in you, that feels the same around the world. The battle against the dark side inside of us, the dark side that does the things we hate, that we can’t stop doing, feels the same around the world. Addiction feels the same around the world.
“If we talk as a dad to a dad, or a wife to a wife, or a cancer survivor to a cancer survivor, or a military veteran to a military veteran…we go right around the wall of religion. I’m coming to you as another human. So this is the way to disarm a lot of objections, tear down a lot of walls, and open a closed heart.”
Hutchcraft speaks from a place of experience, since he shares stories of Christ and real life with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. One outlet he’s used to share stories and the Gospel is a radio program called ‘A Word With You’.
“It’s just a five minute program…and it follows kind of a formula. Every day we start with a story, it’s usually something about my family or some experience I’ve had or somebody I know has had, or something out of the headlines or out of history. But there’s always a story, and then we go from the story to the Scripture — because it’s the Scripture that’s life changing, not the story….and then ‘so what?’”
‘A Word With You’ airs on 950 outlets across the United States. But then Trans World Radio suggested doing the segments in Mandarin to broadcast in China. Around one in five people on planet speaks Mandarin, so adding the program in this language would greatly expand the potential audience. A friend of Hutchcraft reads ‘A Word With You’ in Mandarin for the program, and they’ve had several comments back from China on how the stories effectively communicate biblical truths.
“If I ever had any doubt about whether we could cross cultures with the Gospel and the truth of Christ packaged in a story, boy I tell you what, my doubts are being erased. And thank the Lord we are now about to have A Word With You on in the four most spoken languages in the world: [Mandarin, Spanish, English, and Hindi].”
Hutchcraft is also deeply involved in ministry to Native America, and few things have touched the hearts of young people in Native America than personal stories they can empathize with, and the revelation of how Christ makes the difference.
“I’ve seen it happen across Native America and around the world. Tell your story, but tell how Jesus changed your story, and the Gospel embedded in your personal story is much more likely to get through than the Gospel all by itself. The Gospel is what will change them; not your story. All the power is in the Gospel. But the question is, will they pick up the package that the product is in? The product is the Gospel. But the package is your story. You have been biographically credentialed by what you’ve lived to be able to share Christ in a singular, unique, deeply personal way.”
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries is all about helping people engage in spiritual rescue. If you’d like to learn more and check out their resources, just click here to visit their website.
“There’s a lot of tools to encourage you and help you know how to take this another step and how to explain Jesus in everyday terms and to determine what is your hope story and the best way to tell it…. We’re all about helping people be rescuers on their stretch of beach.”