|The tea station at our church here in England|
For example, things like translating the Bible into the common cultural language, engaging in (non-sinful) cultural traditions, wearing traditional dress and playing culturally-relevant music can be ways that missionaries engage in contextualization. In Austria, it can mean allowing time after each church service for eating and socializing together, as relaxed time to develop relationships is highly valued in Austrian culture.
|Tea is always served with sugar and milk.|
Here in England, one way that the missionaries contextualize is by offering tea to everyone who comes into the church service. This may seem like a small gesture, but it carries with it an important message. In British culture, tea is a popular drink but also something that brings people together. Social gatherings always involve tea, and offering someone tea is a welcoming gesture of hospitality. When we offer someone tea at church, it invites them in to be a part of the community. It says "welcome" and it makes them feel comfortable, giving them something to enjoy that is comforting and familiar.
When we get back to Austria, we look forward to exploring the culture and discovering new and creative way to contextualize. Our goal will be to plant a church that is distinctly Austrian, so that when people walk into a church gathering or service, they feel at home and welcome.
How does the church in your country contextualize?