06 Jun Why God Gave You That Brilliant Idea
*This article is an adaptation from the book Ekklesia Rising:The Organization Formerly Known As Church. The following article picks up in the middle of the chapter on the Seven Spheres of Influence. Enjoy!
For many years, it has been considered taboo for churches to attempt to change secular cultures. Non-evangelical churches have been encouraged (theologically) not to evangelize people outside of their congregation (as they are non-evangelical). Simultaneously, evangelical churches have been socially restricted in the manner in which they communicate (religion and politics are often viewed as taboo topics). Somehow, America bought into the lie that religion and politics were not for public discussion.
The misrepresentation of separation of church and state (a statement not found in the Constitution or its Amendments) has been integral in silencing Christians both socially and governmentally. The First Amendment was quite clearly designed to protect against imposed religion, not to silence the religious (for more like this read Through Washington’s Eyes). Karl Marx famously stated that religion was the opiate of the masses. However, the truth is that forced silence is the real opiate of the masses. When we sacrifice our voice, we sacrifice our freedom. Interestingly, this is where the word idiot comes from (people who were socially and politically silent and who willfully refrained from exercising their democratic authority to vote).
Even communication within congregations has been governmentally and socially restricted. Freedom of speech is still a viable reality, at least for now. However, nonprofits are restricted in their political, business, and even moral instruction, especially from the pulpit. Because churches rely so heavily on tax-exempt donations and properties, they cannot afford to risk losing their nonprofit status (this is where your ideas will come into play). This forces many pastors to fear engaging in political discussion with their congregation.
In addition, social pressures further inflame the problem. Pastors have been taught not to alienate certain members by being too opinionated or interactive in more sensitive areas. This is a small, spinoff part of what has become known as a seeker-sensitive movement. It stifles the spirit of discussion, freedom, and even the Spirit of God. This is, in many ways, a brother of the “relevant to” movement (mentioned in the previous chapter).
If pastors and churches will not educate congregations on current events, then education is left up to secular media. Therefore, the information that believers receive about the world is filtered through the secular lens of whatever media station they prescribe to following. “Until church leaders begin to broaden their sermons [and other institutional vehicles of information distribution] to apply biblical truths to contemporary issues, enlighten their followers how to protect themselves, and then go on the offensive to liberate others, our surrounding cultures will continue to suffer… Our failure to do these things… has made us complicit in the destruction of our nations (James Davison Hunter – To Change The World).”
That Is Not of God! Or Is It?
The relegation of political and religious discourse to the privacy of a person’s home goes beyond governmental affairs. Businesses are stifled by the same cultural persuasions. Schools have become increasingly secularized. The art and entertainment industries have become more and more libertine and crass. The media displays little from a Godly perspective. Conservative and liberal media sources alike are more concerned with berating their opponents than broadcasting truth.
The culture is at a tipping point… a breaking point. America is the great melting pot. Sadly, it appears that the elements within are a combustible combination on the verge of explosion. Amidst the chaos of this chemical wasteland, the Ekklesia is meant to be a beacon of light and truth. God’s people must rise up and strategically and intentionally engage in creating alternative cultures, capable of acting as a refuge for all who are willing to come under the protection of Christ and His Ekklesia. This is where you and your ideas come into play. (For more like this, read HAS YOUR PASSION BEEN STOLEN? IT’S NOT TOO LATE!)
Why God Gave You That Idea
God created you for a purpose. He gave you visions, passions, and purposes so that you can strategically and intentionally engage in creating alternative cultures. Have you considered that those might not be fleeting thoughts? What if those aren’t just selfish ambitions? What if God has plan for your life and that plan involves creating wonderful new businesses, lyrics, lecture series, books, relationships, schools, etc. with your hands? The visions that God gives you are gifts meant to glorify Him and edify and train His people. God has given us the authority to shift cultures and change nations and you are a part of that plan. Those visions are a new wineskin to hold his next outpouring of new wine.
Imagine the power of even a single nation of Christians manifesting their God-given dreams. What would be different? What would change about discipleship? What new technologies would arise? What songs would we be singing? What movies would we be watching? What lives would be changed? What souls would be saved? How many generations would be impacted by this kind of shift? When you engage God’s vision for your life, heaven is the limit.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? What spheres of influence has God called you to impact for His glory? Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation.
For more like this, check out the rest of the book: Ekklesia Rising: The Organization Formerly Known As Church