Well Cultured Small Group

Well Cultured Small Group

Do members of your small group interact regularly with international neighbors or coworkers? Perhaps your group supports foreign missionaries but knows little about the people groups those individuals reach. Attending a cultural fair together can increase your group's heart for people of other cultures while equipping members to reach out more effectively to their international friends. Here's how to make the most of the experience.

Plan. Campus associations for international students may organize celebrations for significant holidays. Many cities host fairs that highlight local immigrant groups. In our community there are annual festivals sponsored by Chinese, Hispanics, Italians, Greeks, Israelis, Caribbeans, Poles, Swedes, Germans, Africans, and Scots. Check your local calendar of events for similar activities in your area. Museums are another great place to learn about other cultures.

Prepare. Research the people group and its predominant religion beforehand. Talk as a group about distinctive elements and symbols of that religion. During the event, look for evidence of religious beliefs, including subtle references in artwork, clothing, music, and mementos.

Participate. Engage as many of your senses as possible. Smell and taste traditional foods. Look at displays. Listen to the music. Join in the national dances.

Pray. Purchase keepsakes that symbolize the culture, and use them as reminders to pray for that people group. A knickknack displayed in a high-traffic area at home can prompt you to pray when you see it. Jewelry or clothing can inspire prayer each time it's worn.

Process. After the event, talk about the particular needs, both physical and spiritual, of that culture. If you know missionaries ministering there, discuss how you can encourage and support them more effectively based on your new understanding. If you chose an event based on the personal contacts of group members, brainstorm ways those individuals can use the experience to build relationships with their international acquaintances.

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