Jesus Did Not Come To Change The World! A Must Read For All Leaders!
Dear Visionary Leader,
I remember years ago reading a true, tragic, heart-ripping story about a family who lost almost all of their belongings through a raging fire that engulfed their home. When the fire trucks arrived, the courageous firemen made their way through the home, first looking to see if any family members were trapped inside. When these bold men came out, the frantic Dad said, “Did you find my daughter?”
The fireman said, “I did not know that your daughter was in there! In what area of the house would she be?”
The father responded, “She is just a baby. She would be on the top floor, in her crib.”
The fireman hurriedly climbed the ladder that was now positioned outside the upstairs window. When he climbed through the window, instantly, he found the room filled with fire and smoke, making it almost impossible to see. He could hear the lumber of the home cracking and breaking due to the hellish heat and fire. As he made his way carefully through the room, he bumped into the baby’s crib. The fireman quickly reached into the crib and grabbed a blanket with a baby in it. The baby was not crying or moving.
The fireman made his way back through the window just before the room began to collapse. As he made his way down the ladder, people cheered and the parents fearfully waited to see how their baby daughter was doing due to the fire. When the fireman placed the blanket with a baby wrapped in it, the parents opened the blanket to discover the baby was a baby doll. Their daughter tragically died in the fire! The fireman was emotionally and psychologically crushed and the parents were broken-hearted for the rest of their lives. Their lives were in fact changed forever.
Jesus did not come to change the world, but to save it. I realize some readers will stop reading this article early due to wrongly concluding that the author is just saying more and more about less and less. Yet, in reality they will miss a foundational truth that many have been missing for decades now. I don’t believe the Early New Testament Church missed this transformational truth, or for that matter, the Old Testament Patriarchs and Prophets. Yet, it seems due to our over-confident approach to life or self-sufficient attitude, often Church leaders today often miss this focus when they are establishing their organizational future plans, setting team goals and casting global vision. What is this mind-altering paradigm shift? We have not been called into the world to change it, but to save it.
Our Friends Stretch Us
Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). When leaders believe they can bring life-change on their own, they have already missed the eternality nature of their mission and the depravity of humankind. Several years ago, Leonard, Sweet, Best Selling author and Founder of Spirit-Venture Ministries, Elmer Towns, Best Selling Author and CoFounder of Liberty University, David Sobrepeña, Founder of Word of Hope Church in Manila, Philippines and Calvin Tibbs, Founder of Kingdom Dominion Church in Greater Atlanta and I were ministering together at Bethany Church in Surabaya, Indonesia. While we were driving from an early prayer meeting at the Bethany Church back to the Marriott Hotel, we were having a lively conversation about societal transformation. I simply stated that:
The Lord has not called us to bring societal transformation but to help save the lost. If societal transformation eventually is the result, it is not because we did it, but because Christ saved the people and redeemed the culture. When we read the New Testament, for example, we do not witness the Early Church bringing transformation to any city or nation. In fact, they did not even bring societal transformation to Jerusalem, but were persecuted and run out of the city! Moreover, when you further read journeys of the Early Church, I don’t believe you will find societal transformation in any city or region.
It is time for all of us to have deeply biblical conversations, evaluating our missional approach to ministry in general and our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission in particular.
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The Billion Soul Story: Global Book Release!
The Billion Soul Story is comprised of visionary leaders and history makers, from every world region, who have chosen to double the size of the Global Church in this generation. When you read The Billion Soul Story, you will be encouraged in your heart, enlarged in your mind, and empowered in your spirit. By the time you finish reading this exciting story, you will see the hand of God at work in our world from a new powerful vantage point like never before!
Foreword by James Merritt
Inspiration: You Can Know It!
1. Embracing What God Has Raised Up
2. Getting Ahead of the Population Curve
3. Saving the World One Billion at a Time
4. Mobilizing the Best to the Rest of Our World
5. Utilizing the Internet to Equip Your Global Team
6. Synergizing for Your Future Success
7. Becoming a Reproductive Leader
8. Networking to Finish Your Assignment
9. Connecting Your Mountains of Ministry
10. Going After Your Impossible Dream
11. Conquering Life’s Greatest Challenge
Invitation: You Can Do It!
Afterword by Glenn Burris
Our Future Stimulates Us
In the final analysis, it is not our slogans, branding, marketing and planning alone that make the difference. We are not called to take our “brand of the Gospel” to the world; but to present Christ as the Savior of all ethnicities. Jesus has come to seek and to save the lost! Only Jesus can bring “the saving” and “the changing” to a person and to a people. In Western Culture, pastors spend a lot of time trying to “get people to come to their Church.” Nevertheless, the goal is not to somehow get people to come to church, but to get people to come to Christ, who will also faithfully attend church. When Jesus is lifted up, He will attract people to himself. He is the greatest magnetic force in the Universe! It seems going forward, we should be lifting Christ up in our ministries, expecting Him to draw them to our churches.
Recently, I heard about an organization adopting as their further strategy the “seven spheres of society.” The advertising around this approach has been couched as being a “new” idea but it has been around for decades. In other words, if an organization can impact politics, business, media, arts and entrainment, education, the family and religion, it can then usher in societal transformation. Please don’t get me wrong. Christ loves this world and is deeply concerned about what takes place in it everyday. This missional approach called “the seven mountains of culture” by some and “the seven spheres of society” by others, to my knowledge, has never been accomplished by any organization to date.
In the fall of 2008, Leonard Sweet and I were have dinner together in Madison, New Jersey, before going to his class at Drew Seminary. He asked me the poignant question that became the basis of this article, “What do you hope to accomplish with your life in the years ahead?” I carelessly answered, “I hope I can help change the world.”
Len next responded with another question and a statement: “What do you want to change it into?” Jesus didn’t call us to change the world, but to save it.” I have never forgotten this! These words have rung in my mind and spirit and have gotten louder over time. The late Adrian Rogers, Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church and three-term President of the Southern Baptist Convention, used to say, “If I can change the world, then you can change it into something else.”
The Coast Guard does not teach men and women, how to change lives. These brave and courageous leaders are trained how to save lives. If I was walking by a river and saw and heard a person drowning it, he or she would not shout, “Come and change me!” He or she would scream, “Come and save me!” We are not called to change the lost but to save the lost.
As we march forward in an unfamiliar timeframe and landscape in this world, it is time to realign with the mission of our Savior, who has come to seek and save those who are lost. In the last ten years, it is estimated that 700 million people have been saved throughout the world. Christ is saving more people today than ever before!
When Jesus left His throne in Heaven to come down the starry spangled skies of Glory, He came as a lowly, poor baby of a teenage girl. How did He seek and save the lost? Jesus came from holy place to a hellish place, from a heavenly place to a hopeless place, from a sinless place to a sinful place, from glory to gory, from majesty to misery and from the never world to the need world! Jesus came to save the lost and as a result billions have discovered their character and soul changed forever! It is not you or I who change people, but Christ who saves first and reveals the change forever. Let the celebration begin! Blessings.
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James O. Davis
Cofounder / Billion Soul Network
Cochair / Global Networking