Mission and Transformation
 
Probably because the church started to believe in the mid 19th century onward that it would be rescued by a Jesus who would return at any moment to save a struggling remnant, it forgot who it was in the world and withdrew from radical engagement with culture, which had been a hallmark of early 19th century Christianity. The Church forgot who she was, and so lost her sense of real mission.
 
Linked to this is the loss of Spiritual power that affected much of the church from the 3rd century onward. We resorted to the arm of flesh to defend our cause and make nations change. Even the reformers of the 16th century resorted to national armies for protection, and killed those they disagreed with. Most reformers were secessionist, because they had seen no miracles. 1906 to 1910 began to change that through Azusa Street and other revivals. What we are seeing today is a coming together of spiritual power, miracles and the reforming passion of men like Wilberforce. The world has not experienced this kind of Christianity for 1800 years!
 
Jesus Plan was culture change through radical disciples (Matt 5;13-16 and Matt 28;18-20) .Essentially he told 12 men to change the world, nation by nation. We are salt and light. Jesus’ point is that your substance and identity is different, not just your values. You are a new creation. (2 Cor 5;17)We are a new type of creature, with dual nature and dual citizenship.
We transform because:
We carry His presence- the more this happens the more it just ‘feels different’ around us.
We have different values and attitudes- we come to serve and honour, not bringing selfish ambition and critical hearts. We bring truth and faithfulness.
We have access to infinite resources- miracles, power, insights and wisdom from heaven – for the marketplace of life.
We have a message of hope and transformation for all – the gospel. We have something distinctive, powerful and effective to communicate. The 1st 3 characteristics create and environment where words are then appropriate.
We are born again to change things. We know we have connected with this reality when we wake up each day wondering how we are going to change the world around us today!
Cultural transformation becomes possible:
As we are transformed inwardly- as the kingdom comes to us and we are people of peace and joy; as we are lovers of God not anxious about money or dreaming of fame or grabbing power; as our inner lives become filled with His presence and more of our phobias and fears are banished we become increasingly powerful agents for change. Our ‘inner culture’ is key to transforming what’s around us.
As we produce a transformed Church community – The culture of the church needs to reflect the kingdom of God not the ways of earth. We are a dependant people, on God and each other; dependant on favour and blessing above natural skill. We are dependant on God promoting us and our ideas, not self promotion or raging ambition. We love and honour all ages and types. We regard people after the Spirit not the flesh (2 Cor 5;16) calling out the positives and the gifts and promises that are in and on one another. We see supernatural power manifest that brings answers to human need. We become a place of the manifest presence of God so his glory touches and transforms hearts. It can be felt, entered into; it calms fears and makes demons flee.
These things mean we shine. We become attractive. There are healings, miracles, peace, joy and love in the atmosphere and culture of the kingdom community. We are a city within the city.

 

Andy Merrick, 02/12/2010