Words Heard Round the World

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July 2017—Are you familiar with the phrase 360-degree communication? Essentially it means that what I say where I stand at this moment will be accessible from anywhere in the world tomorrow (or sooner).

It means that what is posted today on ShortTermMissions.com or our other web services will be read by those who receive the mission teams we promote and support.

Recently someone in India noticed a trip on ShortTermMissions.com going to India. The description didn’t mention Jesus or sharing the gospel, but the reader responded to his or her stereotypes about Christians and what we do or believe, and their thoughts showed up on our Twitter feed. They also retweeted these thoughts to other friends who joined in. Apparently, no one reads the trip description itself, but in today’s world, that seldom matters.

This year we have seen more of these kinds of rants on our social media streams than in the last 15 years put together. Pray for wisdom for us as we respond to these posts.

Most of the comments object to the exclusivity of Jesus. For Jesus to claim that he is the only way to God is not acceptable today. Actually, many objected to it in the first couple of centuries after he said it, too.

One way we respond is by adjusting our vocabulary. Though the names of our web services continue to use the words missions and missionary, I try to minimize my use of the “M” words, opting for terms like “global outreach worker” instead. Such changes don’t seem to set off as many triggers or bring up stereotypes so quickly when overheard or quoted.

Image: Clip Art Best.