Archive for the ‘Malcolm Inthemiddle’ Category

The Vamos Method – Cross Cultural Ministry

March 12, 2008

For those uninitiated in cross-cultural ministry the word “vamos,” sometimes alternately known as “vamoos,” is a Mexican word for “let’s go.”

We here at SBC TooDazed recently read a white paper on cross-cultural contextualization that was written by Dr. Malcolm Inthemiddle, professor of Theology at Omnidirectional Baptist Theological Seminary. Thanks to Karin Bear for giving us a head’s up on this paper. Dr. Inthemiddle’s paper is especially important because of his extensive cross-cultural missions experience which includes regularly waving at the Hispanics on the ODBTS lawn crew, eating at the local Chinese buffet and pausing for no less than five seconds each time he passes Univision on cable TV.

Dr. Inthemiddle’s paper inspired me to do some cross-cultural ministry of my own, so yesterday I set out for a cross-cultural missions experience. I decided to go to Wal-Mart because I had seen some Hispanics there stocking shelves recently. As I passed through the store I made my way to the lawn and garden department and it was there that I encountered Jesus arranging tomato starters for the upcoming gardening season. This was my golden opportunity!

I approached him and asked him if his name was really Jesus and he replied in a thick, broken accent, “My name Haysoos.” Apparently he had a speech impediment as well. Nevertheless, I was undeterred.

I said, “Friend, I know Jesus. I met Jesus in Vacation Bible School about 20 years ago. Friend, you’re no Jesus.”

To which he replied, “¿Qué?”

Now we were making progress. Even though he left the “O” off of his “OK,” I understood. We often do that sort of thing here in the omnidirectional part of the world, too. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as difficult as I’d imagined.

So I says, “Friend, I can introduce you to the real Jesus. Would you like me to do that?”

Again, he replied in good omnidirectional fashion, “¿Qué?”

Excellent! He was obviously open to the gospel.

So, I shared Jesus with him. Told him that he was an obvious sinner because no good, upstanding, moral, Bible-believing person would ever go around impersonating the Savior of the world. Besides, we know that Jesus didn’t stock tomato starters for Wal-Mart. If he had our inerrant Bible would have told us so. But I told him that God is so loving that he’d even forgive a man for impersonating the Lord of Glory. All he had to do was pray this little prayer.

So I asked him, “Friend, would you like to pray a prayer and ask the real Jesus to come into your heart and save you from eternal damnation?”

Once again, he said, “¿Qué?”

So right then and there I invited him to get down on his knees, beg God for forgiveness and ask the real Jesus to come live in his heart. That little fella didn’t say a whole lot, but that little lopped off “OK” he kept repeating was good enough for the Lord, so it was good enough for me.

Now, this is what we call cross-cultural contextualization. It really has nothing to do with differences in culture. That little Hispanic worker in Wal-Mart didn’t need me to understand his language, didn’t need me to present the gospel in some “relevant” way. He just needed the real Jesus.

And I told him to just keep the name tag the way it was because now he really is a little Jesus.

If you would like to see just how freakish Southern Baptists can be, go check out Peter Lumpkins at