A Call to Transformation:
Transformational Streams are Becoming one Fast-flowing River
for the Healing of the Nations
By Luis Bush
Transformational Church: Characteristics of the Church as an Agent of Spiritual&Social Transformation in its Community
"Mission as transformation has emerged as a new paradigm at the beginning of the twenty-first century. We are living in a fallen, deformed world needing to be transformed. Individuals are being called to be conformed to the image of Christ. Churches are being challenged to be renewed and reformed to align with God’s greater purposes. Cities and nations are being transformed." http://www.transform-world.com/whatstransformation.asp
Stories of transformation:
Fiji: "Tribal leaders are being reconciled, denominational leaders have coalesced in heart, mind and vision.... God is demonstrating His approval all over the islands through regenerating coral reefs, returning fish, growing fruit on plants that had ceased to bear for decades."
Africa: "On May 2, 2004, an estimated forty million people met in more than 1200 African stadiums in fifty countries opened their gates to allow God’s people to come in for several hours of fervent, united prayer.... Positive changes are being reported.... 'We need to get with what the Lord is doing and move from prayer in the stadiums to transformation of the cities.'”
Argentina: "Harvest Evangelism holds it fourteenth annual international institute expounding a new concept: 'City Reaching is expanding... through national transformation marketplace redemption.'”
Five main streams of transformation:
1. Saturation church planting movements working in a spirit of cooperation, resulting in healthy churches in every class and kind of people, and within practical and relational reach of every person, that are permeating every segment of society with the love, truth and saving power of Jesus Christ.
2. Emphasis on divine visitation and revival. God acts on the Church bringing revival and He acts on society bringing spiritual awakening. What is taking place in Fiji today is an example of this transformational stream.
3. City-reaching: Obedience to God as an apostolic people with an apostolic mission to transform peoples, places and the culture within which the Church lives.1
4. Pioneer marketplace redemption. The marketplace—the combination business, education and government—constitutes the heart of a nation. To change an individual his or her heart must be changed, and similarly, a nation transformed the marketplace must be transformed. (Luke 19:10-27) ...where believers are instructed to business to gain authority over cities by using Kingdom principles.
5. Transformational development of the poor through community development. ... Jajakumar Christian, World Vision, India, sees poverty as a set of disempowering systems (all "contribute to a the disempowerment and marred identity of the poor):
- the biophysical system -- body and mind -- which represents the basic human needs of health and education.
- the cultural system in terms of inadequacies in worldview.
- captivity to god -- complexes of the non-poor and deception by principalities and powers, promoting anti-life and deception through the religious systems. .
An effort to define a comprehensive approach to transformation must be “rooted in the theology of the mission of the Kingdom of God and seeks to express the Lordship of Jesus over every aspect of life, economic, religious, personal, political....
"Transformation associates are now gathering to contemplate then seek to cooperate with the beauty of God’s movements. The basic idea behind “transformation coordination” is that, not only can we do more together than we can separately, but we move to a new ministry realm which operates on entirely new laws of input and output. ... meet human needs to the glory of God.
"Transformational leadership engages a new generation in participatory leadership....
A transformed world is a place where the power, the presence and the peace of God are experienced by all. The power of God is unleashed. The peace of God rules. Shalom-Salaam embrace. The presence of God fills the earth. (Ps. 85:10-11)
The Mission of Transformation http://www.transform-world.com/whatstransformation.asp?pg=3#3
Transformation is a concept rooted in the New Covenant (see John 4:14; Romans 12:2; II Corinthians 3:18, 5:17; I John 3:9). The term itself derives from the Greek word “metamorphoo” which means to change from one degree of glory to another...
Transformation is the progressive and ongoing measurable supernatural impact of the presence and power of God working in, through and apart from the Church on human society and structures....Through the Church this is characterized by accelerated conversion growth, mobilization of gifts and callings, and an increased relevance to and participation in greater society."Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36
"...the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one." 1 John 5:19
"...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." 1 John 2:15-17
"...the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." John 3:19-20
"He [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.'" Matthew 16-23
"...a catalytic core of saints typically embrace a lifestyle of persistent repentance, humility, and sacrificial servanthood that attracts the favor and presence of God, and breaks the predominating influences of the ruling power structures of human flesh and negative spiritual forces..." (Tom White, Prayer Summits). ...
"Transformation involves seeking positive change in the whole of human life materially, socially and spiritually, by recovering our true identity as human beings created in the image of God and discovering our true vocation as productive stewards, faithfully caring for our world and people." (Bryant Myers, World Vision Intl.). ...
"This transformation can only take place through the obedience of individuals and communities to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whose power changes the lives of men and women by releasing them from the guilt, power and consequences of sin, enabling them to respond with love toward God and towards others (Rom. 5:5), and making them ” new creatures in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17).4
This Scripture looks forward to heaven, not a perfected world: "For I consider thatthe sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.Forthe earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.Forthe creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage ofcorruption into the gloriousliberty of the children of God.For we know that the whole creationgroans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,even we ourselves groanwithin ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, theredemption of our body. Ro 8:18-23
City reaching is the ongoing process of mobilizing the whole body of Christ in a geographic area to strategically focus its resources on reaching the whole city with the whole Gospel, resulting in the transformation of the city and its societies.
Commitment to the whole city requires that the initiative be comprehensive in its scope to include all peoples, problems, and conditions that affect community life. The whole Gospel requires methods that are holistic in nature requiring a balanced integration of proclamation and incarnation....
We are being called to seek God in all His holiness... to seek the unity of God’s servants and to cultivate creative transformational community initiatives to bless the peoples and the nations. ...
“What will it take to achieve the vision for transformation?” (principles:)
Spiritual Vitality - Laying the foundation for ministry through corporate spiritual growth...
Relational Priority - loving relationships... Reconciling, forming and developing relationships of mutual love, respect, and trust enables leaders to work together for the common good of their community.
Compelling Vision - maintaining vision... Ongoing clear, compelling and comprehensive vision casting that involves everyone in the project...
Empowering Leadership - Identifying leaders and initiating a process for community transformation... Strategy results from the prayerful planning of leaders who recognize the activity of God in the community and make the large-scale adjustments needed to join Him in that activity.
Thorough Research - ...good information that describes the community’s people and need, the condition of the church; and the spiritual forces which influence current reality.... These data will show leaders God’s top priorities and highest leverage (greatest results per effort) ministries ...
Loving Service - ... Building bridges through acts of service and kindness establishes relationships of trust and credibility with the community.
Intentional Learning - Making a fresh commitment to individual and corporate learning around needed skills and effective ministry models....For many of us, community transformation means a shift in our underlying philosophies, as well as learning new skills [relational skills?].
Signs of Transformation
- ...Jesus himself in the midst of his people... whose presence brings joy, peace, and a sense of celebration...
- ...the preaching of the Gospel. ...the Good News of the Kingdom must be preached to all, especially to the poor ...
- ...exorcism. ...
- ...the healing and the nature miracles....
- ...conversion and the new birth. ...
- ...Christlike qualities... “the fruit of the Spirit”. ...
Transformational Church: Characteristics of the Church as an Agent of Spiritual and Social Transformation in its Community
...What are these characteristics? ...It means a church in which God’s Spirit is free to act so that in it the Word of God becomes flesh. ... More concretely, an integral church is a community of faith which gives priority to:
- its commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord of everything and everyone;
- Christian discipleship as a missionary lifestyle to which the entire church and every member have been called;
- the vision of the church as the community that confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and lives in the light of that confession in such a way that in it can be seen as the inauguration of a new humanity; and
- its use of gifts and ministries as instruments that the Spirit of God employs to prepare the church and all its members to fulfill their vocation as God’s co-workers in the world. 8
Conclusion: Transformation Narrative
...God wants to visit our communities. Indeed He desires to make them His habitation. But He will not be comfortable in our midst until we remove offending spiritual roots and cultivate an appetite for holiness, unity, faith, humility and prayer. ...
The word transformation and its cognates have emerged as an expression of mission throughout the Christian world today. For example, representatives from seventeen Christian relief and development organizations met in February 2004 and agreed on a statement that expresses their vision as a collective association that the whole Church become a transforming and transformed sign of Christ’s Kingdom among all people. ...
Greater unity leads to the cultivation of a transformed and transformational community sensitized to discover, embrace and become servant catalysts on His mission of transformation.
COME AND TRANSFORM OUR WORLD!
Appendix I: A Theology of Transformation
Last Update: June 1, 2004
For two weeks during June 1983, we have come together from local churches, Christian mission and aid agencies at Wheaton College in the USA from 30 nations to pray about and reflect upon the church's task in response to human need. Some of us belong to churches which are situated among marginalized peoples who live in situations of poverty, powerlessness and oppression. Others come from churches situated in affluent areas of the world. We are deeply grateful to our Heavenly Father for allowing us the privilege of sharing our lives with one another, studying the Scriptures in small groups, considering papers on aspects of human development and transformation and looking closely at the implications of case studies and histories which describe different responses to human need. Because God hears the cries of the poor, we have sought each other's help to respond (Ex. 3:7-9; Js. 5:1-6). We rejoice at what we believe the Holy Spirit has been teaching us concerning God's specific purpose and plans for his distressed world and the part the church has to play in them.
As we have faced the enormous challenge before God's people everywhere to alleviate suffering and, in partnership together, eliminate its causes, we are more than ever aware of the liberating and healing power of the Good News of Jesus. We gladly reaffirm, therefore, our conviction that Jesus Christ alone is the world's peace, for He alone can reconcile people to God and bring all hostilities to an end (Eph. 2:14-17).
We acknowledge, furthermore, that only by spreading the Gospel can the most basic need of human beings be met: to have fellowship with God. In what follows we do not emphasize evangelism as a separate theme, because we see it as an integral part of our total Christian response to human need (Mt. 28:18-21). In addition, it is not necessary simply to repeat what the Lausanne Covenant and the Report on the Consultation on the Relationship between Evangelism and Social Responsibility (CRESR, Grand Rapids, 1982) have already expressed.
Facilitator : David Gibbons
Transformation of communities globally must be holistic in approach. The arts, the marketplace, education, health, and other developmental issues are all critical for long term sustainable change and vitality. One piece that is central to radical and revolutionary transformation is the church. Out of all the institutions and organizations in the world, there is only one that Jesus said, "the gates of hell would not prevail against." With this understanding, the church focus group would like to focus it's endeavor in how we can boldly and dangerously become the platform (the servant) to the new priests and prophets (eg. artists and business persons), the community of the beloved, the collaborator of corporations and the church and the catalyst for holistic and revolutionary transformation globally for the emerging generations to come.
Chairman : Theo Mayekiso
Facilitator : Jack Dennison
Systematic study of God's activity in citywide initiatives around the world has enabled leaders to delineate principles, describe processes, and discover practices to increase the Church's effectiveness in transforming cities. God's pathway to revival and visitation and his passageway to spiritual, societal and structural change have become clearer. When interwoven effectively these elements form an overall strategy that guides the formation and healthy development of our collective and collaborative effort to bring dramatic and unprecedented change to the city.
The China Factor
Chairman : Thomas Wang
Facilitator : Lu Sheng
In the China Factor focus group we are considering transformation in relation to three topics, namely, the Gospel Into China, the Gospel In China and the Gospel Out of China. For the Gospel into China we consider how the Church outside of China can make an effective contribution in China . Through the labor of the missionaries and national workers during the past two centuries, the Chinese church has come a long way. It is estimated that 7% of the total population in China Mainland has become Christians. For the Gospel in China a proper understanding of the relationship between Christianity and culture has the potential to meet some of the very important challenges that are emerging in the new China . In the China Factor we explore the nature and implications of Christ transforming culture in China . For the Gospel out of China we are seeking to enable the Back to Jerusalem Movement. It is our conviction that 10 or 15 years from now the church in China will constitute one of the main mission forces in the world.
Chairman : Sang-Bok David Kim
Facilitator : Darrell Bock
Host Country : Chris Marantika
Member : To be announced.
To avoid the tendency of theologians to speak only to each other, during the conference theologian representatives will carefully listen to the discussions and conversations of each focus group to determine the theological issues and themes that are calling for attention. They will take careful notes on these themes reflect theologically thus responding to real as opposed to imagined concerns. Their reflection could eventually be published in an international journal of theology, for the benefit not only of the Global Transformation project but eventually of the entire global Church.
Chairman : NA
SALT Schools and Reformation Summits are only two of the growing equipping approaches of transformational initiatives by transformation associates through transformational centers and along regional transnets.
Chairman : Paul Jeong
Facilitator : Joseph Umidi
Transformational Coaches help people have sustainable, lasting change, live with clearer purpose and greater fulfillment, perceive and process more deeply the dealings of God in their lives, and maximize their formation, growth, and performance. Transformational Coaching is not a set of techniques but a foundational heart posture that empowers and releases people because it is grounded in God’s view of us as the bride of Christ. Coaches listen more than give advice because they see the infinite value of the unique work of the Holy Spirit in the disciple or leader.
Coaches ask more than tell because they believe that this person has such tremendous God-given capacity to love and live the life they have been given. Coaches give responsibility to others because the see the power and privilege God has placed in them of carrying it. Transformational Coaching enables spiritual fathers and mothers to have the Heart of the Father as a lifestyle; resulting in empowering rather than disempowering others.
Transformational Coaching stewards extraordinary conversations (“Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us…” Luke 24) because it transforms the way we look at life, transforms what we listen for, transforms the place we look for answers, and transforms how we ask powerful, penetrating questions.
Transformational Coaching develops authentic relationships that are more real than religious because the transformed coach models how God is processing his or her own life. Because a coach has been transformed into a secure identity in Christ they can call forth the true identity in others.
Transformational coaches deal with the core value level, providing support, encouragement, and accountability to actualize them rather than aspire to them. They find out what God is doing and join Him in the work of edification in others. They build leaders by not fixing them but believing in them [See Scripture below] and helping them take responsibility for their own development. Coaches help emerging leaders to develop strengths to conquer much bigger challenges in the future. Coaches change people from the inside out.
"But Jesus did not commit [or entrust] Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." John 2:24-25
Chairman : Vishal Mangalwadi
Facilitator : Todd Poulter
The whole church around the world taking responsibility to see that...
- Every people group has ready access to the entire Bible in the most appropriate language(s) and media, and are increasingly able to use it effectively - in intercession and worship, evangelism, discipleship, church-planting, works of service, and theological reflection - in this and every generation.
- Each Focus Group has a valuable contribution to make in helping answer two key questions:
“How can the Church be most effective in reaching out to individuals and communities around the world through its ministries of intercession, worship, evangelism, church planting, discipleship and leadership development, works of service, and theological reflection?”
“What will it take to maximize the impact of the Church’s ministries in fostering genuine and enduring transformation in individuals, communities and nations?”
- Members of the Scripture Impact Focus Group believe that an essential element in creating such lasting change is for the Church to incorporate the transforming Word – in the most appropriate language(s), media, and communication forms – into each of its ministries, and to learn to use this Word with increasing effectiveness in these ministries and in addressing contemporary issues.
Specifically, it will take:
The whole Church around the world committing itself to see that every people group has ready access to the entire Word in the most appropriate language(s) and media.
All willing ministries serving in the same region or nation committing themselves to remove known barriers to cooperation, and to invest together in envisioning and implementing appropriate outreach at local and regional/national levels (e.g. through intercession, intentional friendship-building, in-depth interaction and learning, mutual vision-sharing, coordinated planning and outreach).
The Church in every people group and nation learning to use the Word with increasing effectiveness:
In intercession, worship, evangelism, church planting, discipleship and leadership development, works of service, and theological reflection - in this and every generation.
In addressing systemic contemporary social, economic, religious, & political issues in a winsome, credible, and compelling way.
The Scripture Impact Focus Group looks forward to cooperating with others of like mind to stimulate individual, community and national transformation through the above outcomes.
Four inter-related factors have informed the Scripture Impact vision:
1) The Whole Church: The recognition that responsibility for carrying out the Great Commission lies with the whole of the world-wide Church, requiring the full, respectful participation of churches and para-church agencies from all geographical regions.
This is coupled with the tremendous growth of the Church in the South and East in recent decades, and its particular vision, commitment and sense of urgency for carrying out the Great Commission.
2) The Church in Community: The growing readiness of ministries within the worldwide Church to enter into transformational relationships with each other to enable them to live and work in authentic community – joining together in prayer and fellowship, seeking God together in shared discovery, planning and resourcing, and carrying out holistic ministries as part of coordinated local and national movements. The world has yet to see what God can do through such movements.
3) The Preciousness of People Groups: A fundamental belief in the value of every people group and the contribution that each of these groups can make – as transformed communities – to the worldwide Church, to Kingdom-building, and to societal transformation at all levels.
How else will these groups be able to make sense of their world from a Biblical perspective – the practical work of theology – and have a positive impact on that world, without a first-hand knowledge of God’s Word that speaks to their minds and hearts through the most appropriate language(s) and media?
And what better way to “cultivate indigenous worship as an expression of each culture of the world so that there will be a wonderful harmony when we gather from every tribe and people around the throne to worship God.”? (Adapted from Transform World: Indonesia 2005 Worship Focus Group statement.)
4) The Transforming Word in the ministries of the Church: The growing recognition by the worldwide Church that accessible and understandable Scripture is essential for effective ministry among the almost 3000 people groups and language communities still without such access, and for stimulating their awakening and transformation.
“We must proclaim and disseminate the Holy Scriptures in the heart language of all those whom we are called to evangelize and disciple… [removing] all known language and cultural barriers to a clear understanding of the gospel on the part of our hearers.” (Amsterdam Declaration, 2000).
The Word of God in the language of the heart has the power to shape positive moral values, restore broken relationships, build community, stimulate works of service, promote good governance, and fostering healthy, productive societies.
The five objectives of the Scripture Impact Focus Group are:
1) To initiate and stimulate on-going interaction, cross-fertilization, in-depth learning, and coordination among those involved in the same region in ministries of worship, intercession, evangelism, church planting, discipleship and leadership development, works of service, and theological reflection, and B) to remove any known barriers to such cooperation. This will include sharing tools and processes to support this effort, as well as identifying teams to develop new tools or processes to address as yet unmet needs.
2) To link up with other Focus Groups whose vision and/or ministries overlap in significant ways in order to create synergies and multiply Kingdom impact.
3) To identify specific countries or regions of the world where local or national movements such as those characterized above are already underway or the conditions are promising for initiating such movements, and to find ways to support and encourage their development, as well as to learn from their experience. This includes identifying and supporting credible, competent transformation / Scripture Impact champions in various regions as well.
4) To stimulate the on-going documentation and dissemination of the impact that mother tongue Scriptures have on the effectiveness of each of the ministries of the Church, as well as on the transformation of communities and nations.
5) To create the nucleus of a growing community within the worldwide Church who are committed to seeing transformational Scripture Impact-based ministry underway in every people group on earth in this generation, as the first step in the awakening and transformation of these groups.
SIN, SALVATION AND SOCIAL REFORM: A NEW MAN IN CHRIST : Faith in a personal Creator sets the philosophical framework for ¨ faith Faith in a personal Creator sets the philosophical framework for ¨ faith in an objective, rational creation, whose laws are both ¨ discoverable as well as harnessable by human rationality because man ¨ is made in the image of a personal God. Societies which substitute ¨ faith in a personal Creator for faith in chance or impersonal energy ¨ or consciousness, eventually lose a concept of rational creation ¨ altogether and are forced by their own logic to deify the forces of ¨ nature as well as to consider the objective world as somehow unreal, ¨ merely a projection of consciousness. /The eleventh-century Hindu philosopher Shank-aracharya, for example, ¨ has been the most influential thinker of India. He taught strict ¨ monism called Advaita Vedanta. According to him, the diversity or ¨ plurality of the world is Maya (illusion) or dream of Brahma (Universal ¨ Consciousness), who is the only reality that exists. .../The stream of Western thinking which gave up faith in the infinite ¨ personal Creator is now being forced by the logic of its unbelief to ¨ give up faith in a rational creation, too. ....The true key to shalom lies with the quality of life the people lead. ¨ It will help us to see the relationship of salvation to social reform ¨ if we see the necessity of relating justice to righteousness.