For as long as I can remember the church has alway been seen as an entity that is well-meaning, the keeper of the high moral ground, but typically not taken very seriously. Pastors and church leaders were never really considered to be movers and shakers in society. Influential people typically did not have the local pastor on their speed dial.
If we are honest with ourselves we should be bold enough to ask the question that many are wondering but afraid to ask - why haven't we seen more reformation of society so that everything from families to government and business reflect a more healthy and admirable state of being? The church has been doing everything it knows to do to see cities transformed. However, we must admit that in the 21st century, and even the previous century, we can't point to a single city in America that has been reformed as determined by objective sociological measurements.
Yes, I know, here and there, we can point to some encouraging signs, but they tend to be anecdotal for the most part. But the things that continue to stand out, unchanged are the issues of abortion, sanctity of marriage, and homosexuality to state a few. So, what are we doing wrong? I believe that the church is implementing the wrong strategy. For the most part, the church has been about the business of individual "conversions" and adding to their numbers. If we continue with this strategy then we should expect the same results for the next twenty years.
What I am proposing is not something that originated with me but rather what I have studied carefully and have fully embraced because of it's simplicity and obvious potential. Local churches will need to embrace a mindset that entails military strategy. Each local church will need to identify how the other six spheres of influence are influencing the minds of the people in it's geographical domain. Church leaders will need to fully understand that each of the other six mountains of influence represent an individual sphere of influence that shapes the way people think.
Each mountain, or sphere, is occupied by a modern-day king that functions as an ideological stronghold. Each of theses strongholds has been built through mindsets and beliefs. These mindsets and beliefs are fortified with spiritual reinforcements that shape the culture in their community and establish a climate. It will require a strategy of spiritual intervention from a clearly defined and understood position of authority within the Church, as well as influence from its position of authority in the marketplace.
Therein lies the first and major hurdle. Many churches do not see themselves as belonging or occupying any position in the marketplace. I previously mentioned that the Church needs to adopt a military mindset if it will ever see and experience any real transformation in society. No successful military campaign was ever conducted from a distance. It required a well-planned strategy, effective coordination and implementation and finally, "boots on the ground". In order to take these spheres of influence for the Kingdom of God, the Church must understand the interaction between the Church, the Gospel and the Culture.
I recently read a publication written by Lance Walnau that effectively illustrates what an effective mission would entail:
Church + Gospel - Culture = Fundamentalism
Church - Gospel + Culture = Liberalism
Gospel + Church - Culture = Para Church
Church + Gospel + Culture = Kingdom
It is the government of God that has the authority to displace and occupy all territory dominated by the gates of hell. In this century the church will need to expand its vision of what it takes to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt 28:19) The church has focused its attention for much too long on the average citizen. I am not promoting the idea that this is all wrong. However, if we want to see transformation on a large scale then the Church will need to go after the "kings" in each sphere of influence. These "kings" are the ones who occupy the high places in each sphere of influence. They are the ones who write the popular songs that our kids are singing, the fashion designs that are being worn, the movies that are being watched. They are the authors of the legislation that impact our lives. They are the ones with significant authority, direct and indirect.
These kings need to hear the Gospel because they are the ones that are positioned so strategically that the kingdom of darkness has targeted them, and as a result now have established a place of darkness. Reaching these kings is not an assignment for the faint of heart. It will not be accomplished by merely inviting them to a church service of having coffee with them at the local Starbucks on occasion.
These kings have been referred to as "wolves" because of their nature and tendency to "run" together, as if they were in a pack. The Lord referred to them when he told His disciples, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves..." (Matt:10"16). In my opinion this is yet another reminder that the Church must not discount the need for Apostles. Those that have been called to take the gospel to these wolves have an apostolic calling on their lives. The Church will need to identify, confirm and and equip these Apostles to effectively reach these influential mountain kings and present them with the gospel that proclaims another King has arrived and he is like no other.
The Seven Mountain Mandate is not some recent manmade doctrine. The church is just now beginning to realize that it has been part of the mandate which Christ conferred upon the church. No where did Christ ever demonstrate to his disciples that they were to. invite people to hear Him preach and minister. They were commissioned, empowered and "sent" to heal the sick and cast out demons. They took the authority of Christ to the lost and as a result towns where satan had enslaved the people of God were rescued from the grip of demonic domination.
One mistake the Church can no longer make is to consider the mountain of religion as the only spiritual mountain. To do so would reinforce in the minds of the multitude that the other mountains are profane. As a result of this grave error we have surrendered these mountains to the kingdom of darkness. I personally believe that pastors who adopt the seven mountain mandate should begin their advancement by allocating their resources to two specific mountains.
In my opinion, allocating resources to invade the mountains of Education and Media would create the most impact in our society in the shortest amount of time. The minds of our children and future generations are forever being impacted by the seducing spirits of false enlightenment. In the early years of our nation the first 230 colleges and universities established were planted for the education and development of Christian ministers in particular. As a result of treating the mountain of Education as "secular" the Church mountain has become almost irrelevant to society today. Nations all over the world are being discipled through the belief systems in these places of education. They have become mind molders.
It may appear that this task of reclaiming these mountains is insurmountable. However, we must remember that it will not require a complete recapturing of the mountains in order to effect powerful and lasting change. Consider the homosexual community. They are a very small segment of society. However, through a well-thought out strategy that was consistently applied they have forged ahead and effectively changed the thinking of key segments of society. As a result they unfortunately now wield a great deal of influence.
Our focus must not be restricted to winning a harvest in order to shape a culture. Keep in mind that together, Protestants and Catholics, make up a 70 percent majority of the U.S. population. Despite this numerical advantage they have been incapable of stopping the advance of same-sex ideology. The lesson to be learned is that minorities of people can shape the agenda when they are properly aligned and deployed.
So, why does the church lack cultural power? Because it focuses on changing the world from within the Church mountain instead of releasing the Church into the marketplace to leaven the whole mountain. The goal should be for the Church to raise up disciples who will go into all the world. This means placing these disciples within systems or sphere of influence. These kingdom-minded disciples will invade every system with a powerful influence that sets the potential of every mountain free from the grip of satan and provides a place for it to be part of the kingdom of God.
Part of our mission here at RPM is to partner with local churches to help equip, mentor and mature the people of God for this invasion. We hope you'll join us on this mission.
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