8 Critical Steps to Societal Transformation

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To change your community, you must become involved.
To change your community, you must become involved. (Flickr/Creative Commons)

For the church to obey the Cultural Commission of influencing every realm of culture as salt and light (found in Gen. 1:28 and Matt. 5:13-16) it is essential that believers learn how to think biblically and articulate biblical principles in the language of contemporary hearers.

All the covenants point to believers taking the lead in secular society and redeeming culture for the Kingdom and Glory of God. From Genesis 1:28, 3:15, 12:1-3,17:1-5, 22:17, Deuteronomy 28:10-13, Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 all the way to Revelation 21:1-3 and Isaiah 65:17-25 we see the Word of God pointing us to actual engagement, penetration and transformation of society for Christ.

Furthermore, Jesus was called the King of kings (Rev 19:16). That means the president of all secular presidents in contemporary language.

He called His followers the ecclesia, which is the equivalent of assembling together to rule cities and nations in Roman/Greco culture (Matt. 16:18-19). He also used the church to disciple whole nations (Matt. 28:19) not merely individual ethnic people.

The following are steps we need to take to accomplish this for the purpose of societal transformation:

1) We need to have a biblical worldview for every realm of contemporary life.

Because we are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27), we need to learn how to think God's thoughts after Him. In other words, our thoughts should be derivative of Father God's Word and not merely our own subjective autonomous opinions. When we fully explore what the Bible says and agree with its general principles regarding history, law , psychology, education, religion, politics, economics, family and science—then we have a biblical worldview that serves as our lens and interprets all data we inhale. Unfortunately, most Christians don't have a biblical worldview; they only have a cursory knowledge of pet Bible verses they recite for physical and emotional health. This limited fragmented knowledge of Scripture has resulted in believers acquiescing to secular humanistic views in all practical matters dealing with the stewardship of the earth. As a result, this leaves the Christians relegated to dealing only with matters of religion and spirituality. Consequently, although we have an abundance of Christians serving in secular society and record numbers of people attending Sunday church services—our culture continues to reflect a humanistic worldview, which brings us to the next step.

2) We need Christian thinking not just more Christians in societal leadership.

Everywhere I go in society I meet an abundance of Christians serving in public schools, universities, hospitals, politics, business and so on. With so many Christians already placed in influential positions in this nation, we have to recognize that the major challenge we face in regards to experiencing a biblical reformation is not a lack of Christians but a lack of Christian thinking in all these prominent realms. We have to realize that the Bible is not just a book of promises, pithy sayings and moral commandments but a blueprint for how to manage and disciple whole nations (Matt. 28:19). God has something to say regarding economics, how to aid the poor, health care, immigration, politics, science, history and more.

Even when the nation has experienced revival in certain places, there was no long-lasting effect in regards to laws and politics because Christians lacked a biblical worldview that applies the Bible to culture

3) The church needs to speak the language of Babylon.

After gaining a biblical worldview, believers need to speak the language of the culture they are in. Every discipline in life has their own subculture with their own nomenclature (vocabulary describing nuances in their work) In the same way football utilizes words associated with their game like "touchdown," the disciplines of political science, economics, sociology, education and nonprofit charities all have terminologies we have to master if we want to speak prophetically to them and communicate with their mind molders. A methodology that involves quoting Bible passages and preaching to gatekeepers of culture doesn't usually work unless they are in a personal crisis. Consequently, believers already successfully immersed in a particular discipline then need to think through the biblical concepts that apply to their field of work and articulate it in secular terms that un-churched people can connect with. Since the Bible has the best ideas because it reflects God's thinking, mature believers who do this skillfully can expect to be elevated to the highest places of prominence in their respective fields.

Furthermore, pastors and leaders who want to reach the un-churched in their community not only need to continually study their changing community demographic and provide practical services the people need, they also need to adequately represent themselves when making announcements by losing some of the unnecessary religious jargon that the average attendee cannot understand or connect with. (When public speaking or preaching, sometimes every other word out of the mouth of the pastor is "amen," "praise the Lord" or "Hallelujah," and it turns off the un-churched because he thinks that part of the salvation package is adopting a weird religious nomenclature that doesn't track with his present lifestyle. This is an unnecessary stumbling block, which can be removed if church leaders can learn how to streamline religious lingo and talk as normal as they do when in the workplace environment.

4) Christian parents need to prepare their children for leadership not "followership."

This step in the process needs to be done concurrently with all of the steps mentioned in this teaching. Thus I didn't really know where to place it in this article. Having a multi-generational plan of training our children to be Christian thinkers and practitioners is the most important calling a parent and church has! Unfortunately, most Christian parents rarely take time out to pray and teach their children the Bible. Even when they do, it is not enough to nurture them to be world-class leaders. To nurture world changers, as a general rule, young children between 3- to 10-years-old should be immersed in Scripture memorization. Once children are in middle school and preparing for high school, parents and churches need to begin to teach their child how to understand and apply their Scripture knowledge in regards to evolution, history, education, government and business. They should also encourage them to excel in school and to attend the best universities and colleges available. In this way, we are not just teaching our children how not to backslide, but on how to take the lead in culture and society.

5) We need to nurture world changers in every realm of society.

The Bible teaches us that we need to have an intergenerational approach. This is done when we catechize our biological and spiritual children so that they can be trained to apply the Bible to everyday life. By doing this, we will nurture the greatest leaders the world has ever seen just like the church of old did when they had the greatest artists, scientists, writers, politicians and educators that transformed Europe and North America! Up until the mid 1800s the church not only cared for the down and out but also nurtured the 'up and in" cultural elites that became the mind molders that influenced culture. Nowadays, instead of starting world-class universities like Harvard and Yale, the church shuns higher education and encourages emerging leaders merely to attend their little Bible institutes! As long as we are afraid of higher education we will never ascend to the head of culture. It is time for believers to become the "cultural elites" of society so that we can lead our communities with wisdom and justice!

6) We should welcome unbelievers into our church community even before they accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

Churches who think biblically but speak secularly are in the habit of embracing their community even before they accept Jesus Christ as Lord! Instead of getting the community to come into the church we need to send church members out to our communities as servant leaders. The church can become a hotbed of community activity in which those outside the church believe that the church building is now their community center for a wealth of information, resources and even community board meetings. In this way, the people on the outside of the church will feel comfortable with the people of the church and will be more inclined to step inside the sanctuary for a Sunday service

7) We should produce problem solvers for the greatest global challenges.

I believe the time has arrived when the world will come to pastors and believers for advice and answers on how to deal with the pressing problems they are facing in their community. The church should not only produce the greatest prayer warriors and worshippers the world has ever seen, but it should also produce the greatest thinkers, entrepreneurs and strategists the world has ever seen. Presently, the world is waiting for a person to articulate answers regarding our failing economy, global terrorism, cures for cancer and AIDS, environmental issues, disaster relief strategies and more. Why shouldn't people representing the kingdom of God come up with these solutions?

8) Christians need to improve the quality of life in their communities to demonstrate transformation.

Talk is cheap. The world doesn't need another book about the dire problems we have in our cities—we need people to produce lasting change that will greatly benefit the quality of life who will then write it down in a book and teach us. I am sick of hearing people prophesying and preaching about reformation—God is looking for churches and people to at least create a community model others can look to for replication in their own cities. Isaiah 61:1-4 teaches that the restoration of cities—not just the salvation of individual sinners—is proof of the gospel Jesus preached.

Want to know more about the next great move of God? Click here to see Jennifer LeClaire's new book, featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham and others.

 Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church and Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, New York, and author of numerous books, including Ruling in the Gates: Preparing the Church to Transform Cities. Follow him on Facebook or visit him online at josephmattera.org.

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