Posts Tagged missions

What Our Languages Are Telling Us – John Chandler – Baptist News Global

What our languages are telling us

What is the language reach of your congregation?

By John Chandler

Language creates culture. What we say, and how we say it, not only reflects who we are but also shapes what we will become. With that in mind, we can forecast where the world is heading by watching what languages are ascending and descending.

BBC research estimates that up to 7,000 different languages are spoken around the world. Ninety percent of these languages are used by fewer than 100,000 people.

Over a million people converse in 150-200 languages, and 46 languages have just a single speaker. (How exactly is it a language if only one person speaks it?)

Some 2,500 languages are at risk of extinction, with one quarter of the world’s languages spoken by fewer than 1,000 people. Interestingly, 2,200 of the world’s languages can be found in Asia, while Europe has a mere 260. The boats to the U.S. will be coming across the Pacific, not the Atlantic.

The world’s most widely spoken language, both native and learned as a second language, is Mandarin Chinese. English is second. UNESCO fills out the rest of the top 10 as follows: Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German and French. Honestly, who saw Bengali that high?

For native English speakers, the five most difficult languages to learn are Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The old international joke holds true: “There are three kinds of people: multi-lingual, bi-lingual and American.”

This is becoming more problematic for the church, because 75 percent of the world’s population doesn’t speak a word of English. Believing we can reach today’s world with the gospel in English only is like opening a shoe store that only plans to stock Size 9.

The United Nations uses six official languages to conduct business. The European Union has 23 official and working languages. What is the language reach of your congregation?

It may well be that one of the major reasons to connect with a denomination in the future is that that denominations may become the most strategic way to fulfill the vision of Revelation 7:9: A multitude in heaven “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

OPINIONViews expressed in Baptist News Global columns and commentaries are solely those of the authors.

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Thankful Thursday – Megan Wallace

On this Thankful Thursday I am grateful for the gifts that Megan Wallace brings to my life. Megan, my grand niece, is a delightful young lady with a warm and trusting disposition. She is also a true prankster and general pain. She combines being intelligent, with having a winning personality, being very attractive and topped off by being a dedicated Christian. She is a junior at Lenoir-Rhyne University where she is majoring in Youth and Family Ministry. She gave up a full soccer scholarship at another university to pursue her academic interests. She has used her soccer prowess to great advantage on summer mission trips to New Hampshire, Scotland and Romania. This summer she is going to Chili with another mission group. She is doing an internship at Covenant Baptist Church in Lincolnton, NC.  She and her two sisters, Allison and Kelsey, give their dad, Dwayne, a run for his money. On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for all the gifts that Megan Wallace brings to my life.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the gifts that someone brings to our lives and to let her or him know of our gratitude. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.

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Thankful Thursday – The Rev. Marshall Blalock

On this Thankful Thursday I am thankful for the gifts that The Rev. R. Marshall Blalock brings to my life. Marshall is the senior pastor of Charleston’s historic First Baptist Church. He is a staunch supporter of the Hamrick Lectureship and Say Something Nice Sunday. Both events have brought him some undeserved criticism. I like his response, “The members of First Baptist are sophisticated enough to decide for themselves.” When I first presented the idea of Say Something Nice Sunday to him, he was immediately enthusiastic. Without his blessing, the idea would have died on the spot. Marshall is a good cook, especially of Frogmore stew and red rice. These are great skills for a Baptist preacher to have. Marshall has a good sense of humor. He has a vision for missions that is contagious. We are a little bit worried about him since his only daughter will go away to college in the fall. First Baptist Charleston is an usually complex place with almost every viewpoint of Baptist identity represented and yet the overwhelming spirit of love for one another engulfs the congregation. To his great credit, he has managed to keep national politics out of the pulpit. The church honors the contributions of women having elected women as deacons since the late 1960s. There are dozens of activities taking place at all times. Marshall is required to perform a constant juggling act. In spite of the recession the church is doing well and Marshall remains enthusiastic about the future of the 329 year old church. On this Thankful Thursday I am grateful for the gifts that Marshall Blalock brings to my life.  The photograph is by Mervyn Gibson and  is used by permission.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the contributions of someone special to our lives and to tell her or him of our gratitude. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.

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