There was a seminar at our seminary that I did not attend— but some of the charts they had on the bulletin board looked interesting. If I was more involved with translation and language contextualization, I might have been already aware of some of this before… but since I wasn’t I found it nice to know.
The chart has to do with the “Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale” (EGIDS). This was developed by Paul Lewis and Gary Simons, back in 2009, combining Fishman’s GIDS (Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale), UNESCO scale of language endangerment, and Ethnologue’s categories of language vitality.
The rightmost column has my own notes as far as the role of Christian Ministry in the language. At level 10 christian ministry doesn’t really have any real use, unless one sees historical work as Christian ministry (and that can only realistically be done at level 10A).
At levels 8 and 9, the main role is supporting cultural heritage, with a possible secondary role of revitalizing the oral language. Some may not see this as Christian ministry. However, revelation always comes through culture and language, and ministry is inherently embedded in culture. Assuming that revelation and ministry is better if disconnected from a people’s heritage/history is doubtful. A faith built on strictly foreign symbols often will not become societally deep-rooted.
The ministry uses increase with the lower numbers including discipeleship, orality, and literary purposes.
Essentially, Levels 0 through 9 have possibilities for valuable Christian ministry.