Wednesday, October 21, 2009

language learning

I heard today in a seminar that 56 percent of all Europeans can converse in two languages.
11 % can converse in three languages.

This is really amazing to me. It was a struggle to learn Spanish for me 8 years ago. Now I am trying to learn German but finding it very difficult. I do not know when I can make it to three.

We really want to see the church as missionary. We work with a lot of North American churches who are interested in finding ways to have an incarnational presence on the mission field. They want to be prepared when they come over on short term trips.

I have been thinking some about a conversation that I had last week with a church. They are wanting to have a presence in an European country. They are struggling with how can they do this and not know the language. They know they can use their English on occasion. Many Europeans speak English but they also know that in many cases in order to get to a deeper conversations they need to learn the heart language of the people.

They are exploring ways in which they can learn a second language as a church. Not just one or two people in the church or even the mission team that may be coming on a short term trip but they are wanting to emphasize learning a second language as a church so the Lord can use them both in the states and abroad.

I like this idea.

What do you think this could look like?
Any ideas that you can share about ways to go about this?

4 comments:

nfrank2 said...

I think it could serve more purposes than simply a missions one. I think it would show a church to the community so dedicated to the cause of Christ that they would work towards that goal. Well i guess that really could end up being a missions-based purpose, but every function of the church ends up that way. I think that it would require a church (the WHOLE congregation) that is completely dedicated to the same mindset. It is a wonderful idea and i agree that it could have incredible results, but the problem comes down to the dedication of the congregation; one would be hard-pressed to find a church that thought with the same mind. In the end though, we're all working towards the mind of Christ and I'm sure that the further a group of believers get to reaching that mind, the more possible a church-wide language learning would be. I would love to see this idea come to fruition though, I think it would have more advantages than any of us could imagine (Nick Frank)

Kevin said...

Larry,
What struck me most about the idea of that particular congregation was the intense love this church must have for the spreading of the fame of Jesus among the nations. Practically speaking, I don't know how successful or long lasting this will be because as my wife and I know...if you don't use your language muscles in every day situations you lose them.

Thinking of Portugal and any church that ultimately supports us, their desire to learn Portuguese and demonstrate their heart for the people far outweighs any lasting success in the venture.

What a cool congregation! Thanks for sharing their heart Larry.

Larry said...

Kevin, I was impressed as well. Time will tell if it is something that can happen or not. I talked with a Language Consultant this week at a conference and I hope to be able to post some ideas that she gave me that can help a church do such a thing. I plan on trying to post a couple of more thoughts on this.

Larry said...

Nick,
I am seeing more and more churches who are interested in focusing in on a people group or nation and then trying to find ways to engage them with the gospel no matter where they are. Instead of taking 5 trips all over the world they start zeroing in on a few partnerships that they put a lot of time and resources in.

So whether it be Turkey, Germany or Texas a church finds ways to connect with them.

In this case the church wants to be fully committed to reaching this people group for Christ. I know I will pray that they can do it. I know it will be a tremendous task.