Worldview is the unseen guide of assumptions by which people govern their behavior. Because worldview affects every belief, decision, and even communication of a people group understanding a people’s worldview is critical to being able to effectively communicate the gospel.
For example, the Sawi people honored treachery as a virtue and thus saw Judas as the hero of the gospel story instead of Christ. Mr. and Mrs. Richardson found a “redemptive analogy” in the Sawi way of making peace where the Sawi leader would give one of his own children to be raised by the enemy father. This child was known as the “peace child,” because it brought peace between the two tribes. In the same way, the Richardsons showed how Christ is God’s “peace child.” Now the gospel was not a story of great treachery, but a story of a fathers sacrifice for reconciliation that made sense within the Sawi worldview.
Oral learners process information differently. They are highly relational and transmit their beliefs, heritage, values, and other important information by means of stories, proverbs, poetry, chants, music, dances, ceremonies, and rites of passage. Western missionaries cannot simply record literarily written works in an oral way, because making something audible does not make it understandable to an “oral learner.” Since oral learners process information differently Western missionaries must use concrete notions, sequential expression of events, and relational contexts rather than abstract notions, random expression of events, and individualist contexts to communicate with them.
While oral societies can be difficult because of our western worldview, they are actually very beneficial to the spread of the gospel. Oral learners are able to hear the gospel in a way that they can easily reciprocate and repeat to others. If we can learn and establish oral strategies we can affect oral learners on a worldview level.
Read my last 8 posts from my Missions series you can read them here: