I’m currently kicking around Southeast Asia, spending some time with two of our teams who are engaging with locals. If you missed yesterday’s post you can catch up here

Watch your language.

Our mamas teach us that foundational principle from the time we learn to speak: don’t talk back. Don’t use potty language. If you can’t say something nice…

I learned the cultural equivalent of this on Sunday, when I spoke at a local fellowship. I’ve learned the hard way that you don’t write a fresh message for a cross cultural context, so I pulled up what I thought would be an oldie but a goodie and started modifying.

I trimmed. And cut. And hacked and chopped and minced. I cut out every American inside joke and cultural reference I found and wished multiple times that I had a Southeast Asian joke book (1,001 Funnies to Laugh Your Way Through A Language Barrier). But in the end – even after cutting more stuff five minutes before I walked to the front – I learned a valuable lesson:

Familiar to the speaker doesn’t translate to understandable for the hearer.

You see this every weekend in your context: congregational inside jokes, ministry-specific names, obscure theological terms, and an assumption of biblical understanding that’s just not there.

So trim. Cut. Hack, chop, and mince. Do whatever it takes to make the message understandable. Because if they don’t understand it, it’s going to be hard to build on it.

Secrets of Consistent Customer Service: How to Be Great Again and Again. (via @micahsolomon) How’s your church doing on the consistency scorecard? Do you deliver the same (or better!) “wow” experiences each week?

The summary statement for a standard should include the following:
1. Why the service is of value (why we’re doing this in the first place)
2. The emotional response we’re aiming to have the customer feel
3. The expected way to accomplish the service. (Point three should be formulated in a manner that allows judgment and discretion to be used in all but mission-critical situations.)

 

Six Lies Grads Will Be Told. (via @mikeleake) This surfaced on Pastor J.D.’s blog last week, but dang it’s good. And I may or may not have heard that same speech the night before I read it.

5. Throw away the map and write your own story! Forget what the generations before you have taught. You live in the now and you write history. This sounds great now but I wonder what you’ll think about this quote in twenty years, when a new batch of grads are being told to throw away the map that you’ve been writing. We need history. There is nothing new under the sun. There isn’t a new story to write. There’s only the Grand Old Story to embrace and enjoy.

 

9 Clever Business Cards You’d Want in Your Wallet. (via @entmagazine) Based on what you do for a living, what would your “build your own business card” look like?

A mechanical engineer named Bryce Bell created the “Cardapult,” a business card that doubles as a catapult.

(click for photo credit)

(click for photo credit)