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What is CLA?

Ethnos360 missionaries are committed to obeying the Great Commission by planting thriving churches among every people group. To accomplish this goal, they need an extremely high level of proficiency in the language of the people among whom they will minister. They need to develop Bible lessons, preach the gospel, teach and counsel new believers, train church leaders and translate the Bible. Not only that, but before they teach, they need to understand the beliefs, values and worldview of their audience. To avoid syncretism, the missionaries must be able to anticipate every way in which their hearers might misunderstand the message. Only then can they proactively address each of those potential misunderstandings as they present God’s truth.

Culture and Language Acquisition (CLA) is the program Ethnos360 consultants and coaches teach missionaries in order to gain that necessary level of fluency and cultural understanding. Because most Ethnos360 missionaries need to learn an unknown language, CLA is a completely do-it-yourself task. To reach that goal in an unknown language takes an average of three years of patient effort, following the four stages of CLA from simple words and phrases to sentences to simple stories to extended discourse with the ability to captivate an audience and tell stories and preach in a way which has powerful impact. All this takes place while learning the culture and beliefs that are holding the minds of the people group hostage and keeping them blinded to the truth.

Ethnos360’s most experienced culture and language learning coaches are currently revising and updating the CLA program to make it even more helpful to missionaries. And they are developing a mobile app for cell phones and other devices that will sync with the missionary’s computer which will facilitate the complicated tasks of CLA: taking photos and video, recording audio, and documenting speech patterns and behavior. This will help missionaries plan and schedule their CLA activities, including review, and make it easier to sort through several years’ worth of information to search for insights to the people group’s beliefs and values.

Another positive aspect of this new CLA program and the software application is the ability to have it translated into many different languages. This will allow the Global Partners (partners like Vision Intégrale in West Africa or Misión Pro-Indígena in Mexico) to use this very handy and time-saving tool in many places.

Tags: Culture and Language, Partner to Partner,
POSTED ON May 15, 2020 by Bill Davis