We discussed the redemptive power of the truth offered by authentic Christianity, and the need to take that truth and redemptive power into life outside the four walls of the church. But how?
Believers throughout history have sought ways to understand their world and live faithful lives. They have looked for ways to "bless the city" where they lived and to do whatever they did faithfully and Christianly, "as unto the Lord." The 16th Century city-state of Geneva under the influence of John Calvin was transformed when believers realized that their "secular" work was not somehow tainted or unspiritual, and that God really did care about and desire to bless the details of their day to day lives and enterprises.
During the late 19th and early 20th Century, Dutch theologian and statesman Abraham Kuyper expanded on Calvin's teaching, developing the concept that came to be known as "sphere sovereignty" or cultural spheres, and promoting a practical passion and vision for the Kingdom of God as expressed in a distinctive Reformed and Christian world and life view. In the years that followed, Kuyper's ideas influenced believers throughout the world and across denominational lines.
In the early 1970's, Bill Bright of
Campus Crusade and Loren Cunningham of Youth With A Mission had a
meeting that changed the mission focus for both. Each had been privately
praying about a strategy to reach the nations for Christ, and each
believed he had received just such a strategy.
Prior to their meeting,
they did not discuss what they sensed the Lord telling them in their
private prayer times. One arrived with a legal pad and the other with
notes scrawled on the back of an envelope.
The language differed slightly. Seven Pillars. Seven Kingdoms. But the content was the same. There are seven critical arenas of human activity and influence that mold and shape the heart of a nation. These are the avenues that God will use to reach individuals and transform nations and peoples in the coming years.
mere few weeks after this meeting, Cunningham's wife was stunned to
hear Francis Schaeffer speaking the same message in a nationally
televised interview, discussing the need to engage Christianly in every
area of life and culture, providing constructive Christian critique and
radically distinctive solutions rooted in a robust and compelling
biblical world and life view.
weeks of one another, the leading evangelical voice to the youth
culture, the leading reformed voice to the youth culture, and the
leading charismatic voice to the youth culture all arrived at the same
conclusion. God's strategy for reaching the nations is to go in through the gates that lead to their hearts. To bless and engage and be present in every aspect of life. Be salt and light everywhere.
The world is not the enemy’s
territory. It all belongs to God. And in spite of the increasingly shrill
demands that Christians keep their faith to themselves and out of public
arenas, God has a different plan. The “church” doesn’t need to send people into
“the marketplace”. We’re already there. We simply need to realize what we’re
called to do and who we’re called to be.
Late in 2015, on that particular day, during that particular conversation, we
decided to call a few other people we knew. Gather online. Frame a discussion. Float some ideas. Nothing huge or formal. Just
some friends getting together for a virtual cup of coffee. And we asked
questions. And listened. And prayed. Here's what we found.
The practical reality is that most real people live the vast portion of their lives outside the walls of the church. And, statistically, most will never be actively involved any kind of institutional or programmatic “ministry”. They don’t have time or energy left for another activity or program. So is their assigned role to pay their tithe and be weekend spiritual spectators and a cheering block while the professional Christians and their small but dedicated cadre of volunteers engage in the real work of ministry?
There is a different way of thinking emerging. A different way of understanding “church”. Many have paid lip service for a long time to the notion that the church is the entire body of believers and that all believers have unique and essential gifts and callings. And many have paid lip service to the notion that Jesus really does desire and intend to exercise lordship over every aspect of life, to redeem and transform and demonstrate His grace and power practically and overtly in every sphere of activity.
Today, these notions are being
embraced more and more widely by people who are no longer satisfied with the
lip service. They want to see it happen. Here and now. They want to start “doing
the stuff” of New Testament real world Kingdom of God faith in the
They are embracing a radical notion that most true apostles,
prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and people gifted and called to a
multitude of other roles and activities, will never carry out their ministries within
the structure of the institutional church. And even more radical is
the idea that they are not intended to. It's simply not how they're wired. Their calling by God is
to live and move and minister in the context of the marketplace. Their
home, their office, their 9 to 5. The doctor, the cop, the stay-at-home-mom
(or dad), the construction worker, the mail carrier, the bus driver, the
janitor. Their ministry is not something other than their job. Their
lives are not that cleanly compartmentalized.
Authentic biblical faith calls us to be in the coffee shop, in the street, in the marketplace, dilletante, meddling in simply everything. Called to prayer and ministry doing what we’re wired and gifted to do. Christianly. Right where we are. There can be no disconnect here. And there shouldn’t be.
Could the God of the Universe actually have a specific design for individual human lives? Our lives? Our day to day details? Is it possible that our friends, our families, our jobs and our communities would be blessed and transformed by the involvement and insight of people who are actually listening and hearing from the God who created their world?
We didn't intend to go global. But we didn't not intend to either. Beginning in February 2016, we started out with a simple conference call for a handful of people who were asking tough "church beyond the walls" kinds of questions. We put the recording on the web for those who couldn't call in live. In very little time the “Marketplace Kingdom” call was an audio podcast, and before we really knew what was happening, it became apparent that we had backed into a global hunger for vision and strategy on taking the Kingdom to the streets.
We did 23 podcast episodes in under a year, featuring biblical wisdom and practical ideas from guests who are advancing the Kingdom in real and unique ways in their own work and lives. People engaged in day to day interaction with students, families, churches, businesses, government, friends and motorcycles. People whose Kingdom influence plays out in a daily life on life with corporate leaders, the broken hearted, and the poorest of the poor.
Marketplace Kingdom has reached listeners in sixty-four countries that we know about…including fifteen Islamic and two Buddhist nations! Recordings have been downloaded for sharing over 8000 times in less than a twelve months. We’ve heard from individuals who are accessing them through proxy servers and the dark net in order to bypass the censorship in their own closed societies!
What started as two people, then three, then five, has touched almost 200,000 people around the world, and placed written, video and audio resources into the hands of over 27,000 influencers. Even now, believers in one Islamic nation are translating our prayer guides for distribution and use in their own ethnic and cultural communities around the world. And another friend has been invited to present a second seminar on biblical leadership principles to the members of parliament in his Islamic nation. We have been seriously humbled and amazed at how the Lord is spreading His Kingdom!
We’re not about building another organization. We're about you! We’re about building a movement. And an alliance. A Seven Mountain Alliance. We’re about teaching and telling stories and igniting a passion for the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. We’re about recognizing the gifts and callings that the Holy Spirit has placed in people and equipping them to be released as influencers right where they are. And we’re about networking them together for prayer support and practical strategy.
Through the strategic partnership of the Empowerment Institute and OneRockStrategix, we’re going
to continue coaching and mentoring leaders and influencers. Over the past year
we have been engaged in direct intensive ongoing coaching relationships with ten key
individuals and six organizations on three continents. We would like to at
least double that number in the next twelve to eighteen months, coaching
influencers to coach influencers! We'd be delighted to include you. Connect with us to learn more.
We’re going to continue producing and expanding the Marketplace Kingdom podcast. Listen and share it with your circle of connections. And contact us. We hope to increase the number of episodes released over the next year.
to keep writing. We have a full length book and several more booklets and training manuals
currently in the works. We're also revising and expanding some of our existing print materials for use "beyond the walls".
We plan to begin producing additional video as well as audio resources. We hope to have a dedicated YouTube channel up in the spring of 2017.
We’re going to take it on the road. Literally. Plans are already in process for a Midwest regional conference in late spring of 2017, bringing together speakers and participants for a time of learning, prayer, networking and strategy. This will be the prototype for other regional gatherings to come. Let us know if you would like to host a Seven Mountain Alliance Conference for your region or nation. We are already evaluating invitations to bring conferences and training intensives to locations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia. Your request will receive the same prayerful consideration.
Contact us. Partner. Talk. Listen. Pray. Ask questions. Share. Engage. Right where you are and around the world.