by Andy Bunch
The marketing guy inside me makes me go for an attention grabbing title. In truth this is a pretty controversial post. My hope is that people who are attracted to my blog will be cheering by the end as opposed to embarrassed.
The Subtitle of this post is, “We are all Influencers.”
I firmly believe that being created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27) means we are given Body, Soul, and Spirit. We know something separates us from animals and it’s been said they don’t have a soul or that they have instinct instead of morality. I see animals have emotions and I see them do selfless things and express empathy often. Animals don’t have authority in God’s name.
God put man over them and gave Adam and Eve authority and responsibility on Earth. Only humans can travel to heaven, see what God is doing and partner with God to do that on Earth. We are built to be a conduit of something into the Earth.
Jesus prayed that the Father’s will would be done on Earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9-13). Why would he pray that as an example to his disciples if they didn’t have authority to do likewise? Adopted Co-Heirs in Christ have their authority restored to partner with God and be a conduit of his Kingdom to Earth. I believe we are all conduits of the supernatural either the darkness or the light. We are actually never neutral.
But all that is aside from my main point–that two camps of Christians have formed. Those who drive folks away from God and those who draw them into Christ. Driving away, I call Negative Evangelism. This camp could be called Churchianity. When I was a kid, adults in the church talked about Cultural Christians as though the worst thing you could do is claim to be a Christian but live an untransformed life. Then if you busted them doing something terrible they’d say, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”
Well, I’ve got news for yah. Grace means God no longer sees you as a sinner, He sees you as a child learning how to be better. Being transformed is about something much larger than going to church weekly, keeping the rules, and paying tithe–which is what most Christains thought it was when I was a kid.
The group who really draws people to Christ are the followers of the Kingdom. Those who embrace the transformation of their hearts and let their lives be their testimony.
Churchianity folks tell you the Gospel. They force it upon you while ignoring their own issues. Kingdom folks hardly have to say the name Jesus because by the time they do they’ve earned the respect of those they’re speaking to. Group one folks might spend more time doing good works, but group two folks are able to do small acts of kindness where they work so they are witnessing 40 extra hours a week.
In one sense this is the least revolutionary post I’ve ever written.
This has all been said many times. So here’s the part I think is really rebellious…growing up, the denomination we belonged to believe in holding themselves apart from the world. They believed that by hiding, not being noticed, and not offending anyone they would impact the world. They disfellowshipped members for getting famous outside their own little circle. I distinctly recall them pulling the ordination from a pastor who got an acting job–as a pastor on TV. What if that actor slipped up? What would people think of them?
In the small sense they did unspeakable evil to members who God built to be exceptional in a way they deemed unacceptable. They robbed them individually of the chance to shine in an authentic way, the glory God shined on them. If you were born to dance you’d better hope you weren’t born in that denomination because they believed dancing lead to impure thoughts.
In a larger sense they robbed the world of positive role models. Why is Hollywood so dark? Why are so many billionaires now getting busted for child sex abuse? Because Christians didn’t go there and bring light!
I have a Confession to Make:
I am convicted that I am to be an influencer. The thought of taking selfies of me with duck face or getting sponsored to wear something I find so repulsive I almost missed the true meaning of what was on God’s heart for me.
The way to have influence is to ascend a cultural mountain to a place where people want to do it the way you are doing it, because it works better. The reality is that you climb the mountains of culture by showing up in excellence and applying Kingdom principles in partnership with Christ in a way that’s authentic to you. That’s a writer-downer!
“You climb the mountains of culture by showing up in excellence and applying Kingdom principles in partnership with Christ in a way that’s authentic to you!”
When you are showing up with God, as you, you will have creative solutions to problems. You will handle people the way they’ve hoped others would treat them.
- You will show up on time..
- Work till the job is done…
- Volunteer for tough assignments…
In other words, you’ll be a great employee.
We’re actually not allowed to just work for a paycheck. Money is not the measure of how well you are doing at work. Your mission is to bring value to work, not to sell them time. There are no small jobs. The bottom is the top, and the last shall be first. There is nowhere that God can’t use you. In fact, the path to working in a way more close to your heart may well be to better steward what you are doing now.
Shameless Self Plug:
This is where knowing yourself, finding God’s vision for you and developing a life plan that leads toward that vision really comes in handy. I call it finding your life Adventure. I’ll write more on that topic in the weeks and months to come, but I wanted to get this message out there.
Where you are now is just as useful to God as where you want to be (which is most likely where he’s trying to take you).
Don’t despair. Change your lens. See yourself as a work in progress and embrace the challenges before you for the growth opportunities they really are.