So we thought we were going to fulfil the role of ‘Church Mobiliziation and Network Coordinators’ – but that was until we tried to translate that into Italian – it doesn’t really work and sounds very aggressive in the Italian language and context. It was not really one of the first things we thought we would have to do in our job but for an Italian church pastor to see the word ‘Mobilization Coordinator’ when he is maybe struggling to keep the 30-50 people in his small fellowship would probably mean that he would not give us much of his time! In addition the idea of ‘Coordinator’ is much too aggressive and controlling for Italians – so a re-think was quickly needed as we began to think about getting business cards printed. After some creative translation brain-storming with our boss Eliseo we came up with a title which translates as ‘Church Partnership and Evangelism Facilitators’! We trust that the Lord is in this and doors which may have been closed to us will remain open.
This is a real life lesson in how culture affects everything we do – things which we think are not a problem as after all they are only words can become either a barrier or an aid to fulfilling what the Lord has put before us.