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Principles of Environmental Analysis

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The "environment" includes the physical, social, cultural, and spiritual factors that surround a person. It includes all parts of the society in which a person lives, works, and ministers.

The physical environment includes the visible material things that surround a man. It refers to the country, city, or village in which he lives. It refers to all that can be seen with the natural eye such as buildings, land, animals, trees, mountains, material possessions, etc.

The physical environment may be a dry dessert, cold mountain region, jungle, or island. It may be a very nice environment with mild weather where crops grow easily. It may be a very harsh environment, with bad weather that makes providing adequate food supplies difficult. The physical environment may be a crowded city populated with many people or a remote area with only a few people.

The social environment refers to the people who live in any physical environment. The social environment is the people among whom you live, work, and minister.

Individuals in every society are members of families. These families may be organized into castes, clans, or tribes. Within these groups are other divisions such as the poor, rich, educated, and uneducated. A nation is made up of many "people groups", about which you will study later in this course. The way people are organized in the environment is called the "social structure".

The cultural environment refers to the accepted patterns of life and behavior within a group of people. These patterns include such things as language, manners, customs, and material standards of living. Culture also includes such things as the music, art, science, literature, educational systems and political structures. Culture develops as a result of religious and political influences and by repeated practice of customs over a long period of time.

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