Be a cross-cultural missionary in today’s world, Martin challenges in chapel message

Elizabeth Bennett
| Sep 22, 2022

Proclaim the Gospel clearly in a cross-cultural approach, Chris Martin, executive director/treasurer of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention, preached in a September 22 chapel message at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Texas Baptist College. 

Martin greeted the assembly with “aloha” and expressed gratefulness for the opportunity to preach the chapel sermon. “It is a joy for Wendy and me to be here. I am excited and thankful to be with you and have your partnership,” said Martin, before preaching his message based on Acts 17 and the Apostle Paul’s engagement with the culture of Mars Hill.

Martin began by describing the vastness of the area the HPBC encompasses, which covers 11.9 million square miles and includes over 150 million in just the metropolitan areas served by its churches. Martin urged seminarians to pray to see the Gospel move forward despite the darkness. Although everything in the culture might seem chaotic, Martin encouraged the seminary community to remember that God is in complete control.

“The world wants hope. … That’s why it pursues so many different things. We have hope in Christ and Christ alone,” said Martin. “It is our mission to take that hope to the world. We are the missionaries.”

Martin described how using a cross-cultural approach, as in Acts 17, can clearly proclaim the Gospel. He emphasized the importance of ambassadors for Christ overcoming cultural challenges and that refocusing from time to time is beneficial. Martin encouraged the listeners to seek to understand Paul’s approach. 

“We have to prepare to overcome the cultural challenges,” Martin said while explaining the different facets of culture, including ethnic, geographical, political, social, and generational differences. “Things are changing in culture” and “most people in today’s world simply don’t care about God and that’s a cultural shift,” said Martin.  

Martin asked, “What does it mean to be cross-cultural missionaries in our world today?” noting that the first thing that one needs to engage the culture is to know the setting. He explained Paul engaged the marketplace, the Greeks, the Jews, and the philosophers, too, as the focal passages notes the Athenians gathered from different cities and different cultures. 

Secondly, Martin observed, missionaries must know the right approach to take. “Paul studied well to understand their language. Don’t let the delivery of your message lose sight of the Gospel,” said Martin as he noted in Acts 17:24-26 Paul describes God as, “the Creator, sustainer, and grand architect.” 

Thirdly, the Gospel message must go forth, Martin said. “The Gospel never changes in its truth. Only through the miraculous birth of God are we born again. The Gospel is life changing in its purpose. Communicate it with truth and in the setting to understand who we are taking it to,” he said.  

Last of all, Martin discussed the results of sharing the Gospel. Mocking, ridiculing and skepticism does not outweigh the response of those who want to hear more, he said reminding the assembly that despite objections or rejections to the Gospel message, it must continue to be sent forth. “Every farmer knows the seeds thrown. It’s up to God to make it real,” he said. 

Paul found himself in cross-cultural experiences similar to what believers experience today, Martin concluded. 

“Who is someone that God has in mind for you to share with Gospel with? Are you willing to get to know them better so that you can communicate the Gospel in a way they can understand? Are you ready to respond to the call to be that cross-cultural missionary today? The world is at your front door. The world is interested and I’m excited about it,” Martin proclaimed.

Since 2014, Martin has served as the leader of the HPBC, which is a network of over 150 churches, missions, and church plants throughout Hawaii, the Pacific, and Asia. Previously, Martin served as a pastor in Louisiana, Florida, and Hawaii. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in executive leadership from Gateway Seminary in Ontario, California. In 2020, he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree with a concentration in World Christian Studies from Southwestern Seminary. He is married to Wendy, who attended the chapel service with him.

Martin’s entire sermon can be viewed here.

To learn more about Chris Martin and the work of the HPBC, please see the article in the summer 2022 issue of Southwestern News.

Chapel is held every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 10 a.m. (CT) in MacGorman Chapel on the campus of Southwestern Seminary and TBC. Chapel may be viewed live at swbts.live.