International (MNN) — The so-called “global south” has been rising in economic clout since the mid-2000s. As explained here, several events in recent decades helped launch nations like China, India, Brazil, and more into a place of global influence.
Ed Weaver of Spoken Worldwide says a similar trend is happening on the mission field.
“There is more and more of a ‘rising’ of leadership…and certainly, from a cultural perspective, they know more about how to engage with their cultures than we do,” Weaver notes.
“We’re going through a major paradigm shift or a transition. The West is not going to be in the same position of leadership.”
Orality: the focus of Spoken Worldwide
In this 2015 article from the Global South Studies Center (GSSC), noted experts debate the precise definition and implications of “the global south.” Many agree the term is a replacement for “third world” and “undeveloped world” descriptions of old.
While opinions and definitions vary, one thing is certain – “global south” nations are home to many oral learners. Oral learners are people who don’t learn or communicate through written means. According to Spoken Worldwide, two-thirds of the world’s population doesn’t use writing to learn or communicate.
“There’s a huge population there that we’ve got to lift up and enable to be effective leaders if we truly want to ‘reach the rest,’” says Weaver.
“If we want to go to the deepest and darkest, most unreached places, then we’ve got to enable those local leaders.”
As explained here, Spoken Worldwide equips and empowers local believers to share the Gospel and make disciples in their communities. Through two programs, Orality Coaching and Pastor Development, the ministry teaches Christian leaders how to meet the physical and spiritual needs of their neighbors.
However, Weaver notes, the task of reaching billions of oral learners is simply too big to accomplish alone. That’s why they are looking to “link arms” with like-minded organizations and believers.
Teaming up to reach out
Last week, Christian leaders from churches and mission organizations throughout North America gathered at the 2018 Missio Nexus Leadership Conference. Weaver says it served as the perfect vehicle for partnership conversations.
“Missio Nexus has always been a conference that has been more rich than our original anticipations…. There’s a good diversity in terms of Western and global south leaders that attend.”
Spoken Worldwide also wants to collaborate with individual believers.
“Someone doesn’t have to ‘employ’ us to go launch a program in a faraway country,” says Weaver. “In your own hometown, you can create a disciple-making movement because we’re looking, really, at the whole counsel of God.
“What is that theme, that overarching message of Scripture, and how does that make a difference in somebody’s life today?”
Whether you’re leading a discipleship program at your church or an after-school program, there are probably oral learners in your community. If those individuals aren’t quite connecting with “traditional” methods of evangelism and discipleship, consider exploring techniques used by Spoken Worldwide.
“We can help create communication strategies that can be employed very easily with a long-term plan and objective in place,” Weaver says.
(Header image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)