Summary: Communicate how the innovation will meet a genuine felt need of the people. Demonstrate how the change will meet some immediate needs as well as holding promise for long term needs. Distinguish between needs and wants. Some people may want to own a new Pe


1. Communicate a respect for the people’s traditions, culture, and appreciation for its leaders.

Express your desire to see that the people receive the maximum benefits both in the short range and the long range. Benefits should include not only monetary, but physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational ones.

2. Communicate how the innovation will meet a genuine felt need of the people. Demonstrate how the change will meet some immediate needs as well as holding promise for long term needs. Distinguish between needs and wants. Some people may want to own a new Peugot 504 Sedan, but they may only need assistance for transporting their goods to the market.

3. Communicate in ways that fit with the existing cultural patterns. Offering to start a new continuing education program will not work unless you show the people how that program is similar to something they have seen before. For example, by providing a contextualized marketable skill, many people will be eager to listen to your teaching.

4. Communicate in simple ways that do not force the people to learn a new of doing a familiar activity. Do not require a major shift in the roles of men, women, or youth. Allow for the people to adjust to their own roles, responsibilities, and identities. One young Pastor who failed to understand this was hopelessly disgraced and dismissed from a potentially influential position. His lack of patience caused him to lose a chance of determining the course of direction in his area for years to come.

5. Communicate slow changes that do not require abrupt disruptions of people’s security. Avoid causing undue emotional damage in your changes. Most people would rather avoid the risk of changing cultural patterns. Help them gradually ease into the changes that the scripture advocates.

6. Change should be introduced through communication systems that are respected by the people. Even though many people watch TV does not mean that it is respected by the people. However, introducing changes through a respected Pastor, governmental official, or local authority may produce far greater results. It is for this reason that the more personal you can make your communication, the better. Try to enforce the indigenous communication system as a facilitative device for the truths of the scripture.

7. Allow those who use the change to communicate their benefits to others. The strongest advocates for a change are those who have tried it and found success. Grant opportunities for testimonies to be given to the deliverance from the powers of darkness that people have experienced through Christ. Spotlight key people who have been healed through the prayers of your elders. Share answers to prayer of those who have demonstrated faith and seen results.

8. Communicate through smaller changes that will gradually reduce obstacles to change over a long period of time. Expect more resistance for changes that require deeper cultural value innovations. Do not grow discouraged if your attempts to communicate change do not bring sudden results. It is easy to see changes made when it does not affect the deeper beliefs of the people like learning to ride in a taxi. However, when you are teaching about the people’s need to accept Christ as their Savior, this is a radical decision that requires a putting away of idols to serve a living and true God as the Thessalonians did. People will resist vigorously changes that challenge their basic cultural values. People fear losing values that give them their identity, positions, and power.

9. Communicate that changes will not be imposed by outsiders. The best changes will be advocated, implemented, and modified by insiders.The acceptable innovation harmonizes with the fundamental values of the key people in the area.

Illustration: When Nigeria built 200 bore holes in the north most politicians thought it would work wonderfully, but it failed. The leaders did not consider the Fulani value systems. Fulanis will often dig into dried up river streams to water their cattle when necessary. However, when the bore holes were locked, at certain times of the year, to preserve it for the crucial dry season, the Fulanis became angry. Many of the pumps were broken off because the cattle herders had grown used to getting water whenever they wanted it. Now their dependencies on the bore holes made them lose control of their ability to water their cattle when they wanted. Now many have returned to their wandering patterns of finding water wherever it is available. The outsiders brought in new standards for the use and maintenance of a well so the local people will rebelled.

10. Communicate change through people who have prestige in their own societies.

Choose people who are active, respected, moral, socially connected, and Godly to express innovation. What is said is not nearly as important as WHO says it.

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