Several years ago, I was a participant at the Missionary Learning Center in Rockville, Virginia. While there, we participated in a large group experience where some of us were missionaries and others were members of an unreached people group. I don’t remember the details of the experience, but I do remember that I left feeling like I had a better understanding of relating cross-culturally.
Earlier this week, I was tasked with training the Celebration Church staff on community interaction. I put together a short learning experience based on what I remembered from my time at the Missionary Learning Center. It turned out good for us. I hope it blesses you as well.
Select six people from the group and send them into another room where they cannot hear what is happening in the large room.
Explain to both groups of people that they now have a new identity.
- Those in the large group are members of the Anthropian Tribe.
- The Anthropian tribe members only wear one shoe.
- The Anthropians speak English but only in whispers.
- The Anthropians applaud whenever anyone says “thank you” or “good-bye.”
- It is considered polite in the Anthropian culture to hiss and look repulsed whenever someone greets them. ONLY if someone responds in a similar fashion, will they smile and whisper to them.
- The Anthropian leaders wear funny hats. They only speak to non Anthropians when they are introduced to them by other Anthropians. If someone is introduced to a leader by an Anthropian, the leader hisses and looks repulsed. If the new person responds in kind, the Anthropian leader smiles and speaks to them in a whisper. Every so often the leader says “thank you” for no reason, causing those Anthropians around him to applaud.
- There is an Anthropian Ruler who sits on the raised level who never speaks or acknowledges anyone, ever, no matter who they are or what the reason.
- Those now in the “small sent out group” are the missionaries.
- They wear matching shirts
- They speak English in a normal speaking volume
- Their mission is to learn how to interact with the Anthropian Tribe so they can impact their community for the better.
- The mission team consists of:
- A leader who directs the team
- Four team members who carry-out the directions of the leader
- One scribe who takes notes on the what he sees and reports his findings to the group.
- In the large group, have the Anthrops gather into circles of 10 with a leader for each group. Give each leader and hat then lead them to practice being Anthrops.
- In the small group, have the missionary leader and team develop a strategy for interacting with the Anthropians.
- Bring the missionaries into the presence of the Anthropians and have them begin their missionary journey. The leader directs, the missionaries engage, and the scribe takes notes.
- The action ends. The missionaries de-brief for 2 minutes while the Anthropians return to their seats. Then, the scribe takes the stand and reports to the whole group the findings of the team.
Large Group Questions:
- Do the Anthropians Need Jesus?
- Why is doing a little anthropology on the Anthropians important to understand their culture if we’re trying to impact their community?
- How can understanding the culture of the communities surrounding our campus help us in impacting them?
*Photo courtesy of Re.zin of Unsplash