Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
One of our global partners recently wrote to us about how a story, not explanation or argument, was the way he made it into the hearts of his hearers. Particularly, it was a story told to him by a new believer from that culture who knew the power it would have among his own people. In America we value illustrations during public lectures but always as secondary support for the main point. Here, the story was the main point.
I've just finished reading an excellent book about this topic, it's called Teaching Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Learning and Teaching. (Lingenfelter/Lingenfelter, 2003) Whether you're in the Nurture Program preparing to teach overseas long-term, invovlved in inner-city after school programs but didn't grow up in the city yourself, or teaching a Sunday-school class and want to think outside the box – this book can help.
One of the resounding notes that comes out of this book is found on p.22 - "We, like Jesus, should begin as learners, listening and asking questions. Our responsibility is to love the people to whom we go and to give up part of our identity and values for their sake to become effective servants of Christ among them." They call this becoming a 150-percent person–75 percent birth culture and 75 percent incarnational culture–both in our personal lifestyle and in our teaching style.
So, pick it up, it's a very valuable 125 pages.