“They Can Speak the Language, But They Can�t Speak the Culture…”

This goodie came via email from my big brother. I think he must be going to use it in his newsletter or something. I told him it’s time for him to jump on into the blogosphere. At any rate, it’s not too shabby for my big brother…

A few weeks ago, I had to make a call to a customer service department concerning a printer. After I went through the customary �If you want�then press 1�, etc. I finally got hooked up with a (I know you find this hard to believe) Real Live Service Representative (RLSR)!

There was only one problem though. The person I was talking with was in New Delhi, India! I don�t know if you have run into this problem or not, but it is a growing concern with major companies. In fact, it�s one of the big deals about the presidential election right now. It�s called outsourcing. What some major companies do is to send some of their less important jobs overseas where they�re handled by well-trained, though lower paid employees. As our world gets smaller via computer networking, Internet, etc. we�ll fine that many of the jobs typically done here in our country will be outsourced to other countries. We�ll also find that other countries will be outsourcing some of their jobs here (think Nissan Motors in Tennessee). I�ve said all this just to tell you about a conversation I heard on a radio talk show Sunday evening and to make an application to the church.

So here goes. The radio conversation consisted of a caller telling the radio host that he (caller) had called the customer service department of his bank. When he finally got connected to a RLSR, it seems that this particular representative was in the Philippines. What got my attention wasn�t the conversation as much as one comment the caller made about the situation. Here�s what he said:

�They can speak the language, but they can�t speak the culture.�

I thought it was a great comment. In fact, I thought it was so great that I went into the office and wrote it down so that I would remember it. The reason I wanted to remember this statement is that it speaks volumes to our churches. Now here comes the church application.

The last words that Jesus left with His disciples are what we call the �Great Commission�. The most familiar verses are found in Matthew 28:19-20; although some form of it can also be found in the other three Gospels, as well as Acts. The key word for the Great Commission is the word �Go!� Jesus� last words were His marching orders for His disciples that in effect commanded us to �Go, tell, and make disciples�.�

What we have done is to trade in �Go and Tell� for �Come and See� or �Come and Be�. We have become like the company outsourcing its customer service department. We know and speak the language of the Christian, but we can�t speak the culture in order to go, tell others and make disciples. My prayer is that we will once again be the kind of �customer reps� for Christ that we want from our companies. This week, let�s make it a priority to �Go and Tell� what Christ is doing in our lives. Let�s be the kind of Christians who can speak both the language and the culture.