Tag Archives: transformation

Kingdom Transformation: Partnership between Church and Marketplace

By Noel Santiago

“Picture in your mind a world where: the transforming power of Jesus Christ is significantly impacting every individual family, church, workplace, school, government, city and nation. Imagine a Christian church where: every local congregation is acting in unity and partnership with other believers to see their city and nation transformed! Contemplate the future of society if: every Christian understood who they are in Christ and embraced their calling to be “salt and light” to a dark and hurting world?”

Dr. Gregory M. Pagh, Pastor at Christ Church, Elk River, Minnesota

Noel article photo 1 - 6-23-16Ed Silvoso, of the Transform Our World ministry, in his book Transformation, shares some perspectives and understandings to kingdom transformation that seeks to help churches partner with what he calls marketplace ministers. This approach has resulted in the kind of picture noted by Pastor Pagh. Here are some highlights about what is needed for kingdom transformation in terms of marketplace partnerships.

We begin with identifying some characteristics of the congregation: Matthew 16:18-19, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

When Jesus talked about “upon this rock I will build my church” he was referring to ‘ekklesia’ which is a Greek word meaning ‘ruling assembly.’ Understanding the authority and function of the assembly is fundamental to properly implement what Jesus initiated in Matthew 16:18. This assembly is not limited to a church building. It operates wherever two or three are gathered and it’s ruling foundation is love!

Imagine then a river with two banks. One bank is prayer evangelism having to do with transformed living; the other bank is comprised of five biblical paradigms having to do with transformed thinking. Let’s briefly outline what this could look like.

Prayer Evangelism: Transformed Living

Luke 10:5-9 state, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.  Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you;  cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

The first step in prayer evangelism is blessing! As seen in verse five, “When you enter a house, first say, `Peace to this house.'” Peace speaks of blessing. So you start by blessing people — people in businesses, government, education and neighborhoods. Keep in mind that we are blessing people who are all created in the image of God, not unwholesome activities or behaviors.

Step two is fellowship! “Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide” speaks in verse seven of fellowship. Fellowship with those who God brings through divine opportunities as you connect and relate to those around you.

Third step is to meet felt needs! We read in verse nine, “cure the sick” speaking to meeting felt needs. Minister God’s Love as you listen to others stories and pray with them allowing the love of Christ to touch their hearts as well as yours.

Finally we need to share the good news!  Verse nine instructs us to “say to them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you’,” we must proclaim the kingdom by sharing the good news of hope in Jesus Christ.

Five Biblical Paradigms: Transformed Thinking

  1. The great commission is about discipling nations (cities, towns, and neighborhoods), not just individuals. The expression ‘discipling nations’ is at first hard to grasp, but basically it means: “teaching a nation what Jesus taught us for the purpose of causing it to embrace the goodness of God and to reflect the character of Christ” (Transformation p. 123).
  2. The marketplace (the heart of the nation) has already been redeemed by Jesus and now must be tended to by God’s followers through the ministry of reconciliation. The marketplace is most concisely defined as encompassing business, education and government. However, it includes everywhere that you live, work and play.
  3. Every Christian is a minister, and labor is worship. In the beginning, God told Adam to ‘tend the garden’ (work). This would be a core activity that formed part of his relationship with God. The most dynamic word in the great commission is the word, “Go!” When many of us “go,” we “go to work.” The workplace is one of our primary circles of influence.
  4. Our primary call is to take the Kingdom of God to where the kingdom of darkness is entrenched in order for Jesus to build the Church. An expression from a pastor that seems to sum this up is: “What a relief when I finally understood that Jesus builds the church, not me.”
  5. The premier social indicator that transformation has taken place is the elimination of systemic poverty. “The WORD became flesh and moved into our neighborhood” (John 1:14 as stated in the Message).

Partnering for Transformation

The call is for Jesus’ disciples to look around our work places and neighborhoods and to pray blessing for those around us, allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our living; to be present in ways that allow the gospel message of Jesus to be shared personally with each and to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Anointed for Business Prayer Teams

by Noel Santiago, LEADership Minister for Spiritual Transformation

“The boardroom should be to those anointed to serve
in the marketplace what the pulpit is to pastors.”

Noel SantiagoSuch is one of the many thought-provoking quotes found in the book Anointed For Business by Ed Silvoso. Intended to stimulate and perhaps shift our ways of thinking, Ed brings forth a wealth of experience grounded in the Biblical text.

And as this book has shifted our ways of thinking, the prayer ministry of Franconia Conference has partnered with other regional prayer groups to establish prayer teams that go into local businesses and organizations to offer prayers on behalf of their behalf.

The Anointed for Business Prayer Time is about blessing owners, employees, their families, work, relationships, and engagement as they go about their daily work as worship. We also seek to participate and bless the church, the body of Christ, in order to bring about reconciliation between the church and the marketplace. We seek the Lord and intercede on behalf of the business/organizations/churches so that the transformational values noted below are achieved and that their financial and/or organizational or ministry needs are surpassed to the point where they can give from a place of abundance, even as they continue their giving generously as a lifestyle.

Transformation Companies are ones which embrace and seek to live out the following values:

  1. Intentionally investing in the betterment of its workforce and its families;
  2. Actively pursuing the transformation of its sphere of influence and expertise in the marketplace;
  3. Investing generously and sacrificially in the broader community;
  4. Purposefully connecting with other companies, professions, and individuals to impact the world.

Transformation Churches are ones whose leaders embrace and seek to:

  1. Equip, commission, and release its members to reach the marketplace and intentionally pastor the city/region;
  2. Diligently pursue organic unity in the larger Body of Christ to energize the mission of the Church;
  3. Commit a growing percentage of its resources to Kingdom expansion by sacrificially investing beyond the local congregation to achieve transformation;
  4. Expect the Kingdom of God to be tangibly manifested in cities and nations.

So, here’s this word “transformation.” For us, this means the elimination of systemic poverty in four key areas: spiritually, relationally, motivationally, and materially.

Spiritual poverty afflicts those who don’t know that God is their father and are unable to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9b). They think of themselves as spiritual orphans. They believe that they are all alone, that God has judged or abandoned them, and that no one loves them. When trouble comes, they have no spiritual resources to draw on.

Relational poverty encompasses those whose focus is on themselves at the expense of the community of which they are a part. They may have great wealth but still suffer from a lack of close relationships with family, friends, and associates. They are lacking the “us” and the “our” of “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).

Motivational poverty is a state of hopelessness that engulfs those who have no adequate way, means, or confidence to tackle tomorrow’s challenges. “Daily bread” is exactly that–it’s an ongoing occurrence. When people come under the grip of poverty, even when there is bread today, they have no hope that they will be able to provide for their needs tomorrow. This leads to anxiety, fear, insecurity, and sometimes even greed.

Material poverty is the most obvious manifestation of poverty because it involves lacking the resources necessary to sustain life. In this context, “daily bread” may include food, water, clothing, housing, and other essential resources. Material poverty always compromises people’s ability to focus on a spiritual life, relationships, and motivation, because when you’re hungry, you can’t think of anything else.

One way our prayer teams work at this is through placing Prayer Request Boxes in local businesses and organizations to provide employees of the company or organization an opportunity to submit personal prayer requests. The vision is that if each person employed at a given company or organization is experiencing the power of God in answered prayers in their personal lives, this will then have a ripple effect on other areas of their lives including their workplace.

This is not to suggest that such experiences aren’t already occurring or that the church is not meeting these needs. Rather it is an attempt to work at having the primary location where this impact is most keenly felt be the marketplace, the location where we want to see the transformation occur.

Transformational Churches reach beyond their walls and partner with marketplace ministers to see their city and nation transformed by the message of Christ! Kingdom Companies and organizations apply biblical principles to their “marketplace” and partner with others to see their city and industry transformed. If you’d like to hear more stories, visit Ed’s website at: www.transformourworld.org. You’ll see this is about “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

Do you want to learn more about Anointed for Business Prayer Teams?  Noel would be glad to hear from you.

Waiting for transformation

Jen's koalaby Jenifer Eriksen Morales, LEADership Minister

In an instant, my resin flocked Koala bear figurine was transformed: accidently knocked off my dresser and crushed beneath my cousin’s feet while we played.

Tearfully, I scooped up the pieces and brought them to my Pop Pop.  He gave me a hug.  “I can’t fix this, Jen.  The pieces are too small.  Look—some have turned to dust.”

I cried louder.  Pop took pity. “I’ll fix it.”

Comforted, I waited expectantly for the return of my Koala…at first.  But in typical kid-manner, before long I forgot about it.

A month or so later, my grandparents came to visit and I was surprised when Pop Pop handed me my transformed Koala.  The poor Koala was in one piece but it most definitely was not the figurine it used to be:  it was patched together and disfigured, the hardened and lumpy putty patching my grandfather made was not a perfect color match, and there was no velvety flocking where the patches were.  I pray my disappointment did not show in my face as I politely said, “thank you,” and took the Koala to my room.

Later that day I overheard my grandma talking to my mom. “He stayed up for nights sweating bullets over that crazy bear,” she said.  I was instantly both humbled and excited to realize that Pop Pop would sweat and lose sleep just for me.

The Koala was once again transformed into one of my most beloved possessions.  I was transformed too.  My Pop Pop’s sweat worked like streams in the desert of my life.  He kept his promise and did his best for me, even when I didn’t really care.  I knew that I was loved.

Jen's pop pop
Jenifer with her husband Victor and her Pop Pop on his 100th birthday.

I love the season of advent when we look forward to Christmas, celebrating Christ’s first coming and reminding ourselves that Christ is coming again—indeed He comes to us continually.  With Isaiah, I am filled with vision and hope as I anticipate the blooming of the desert, the strengthening of the weak, and the everlasting joy and gladness that will come to God’s people as they travel on “The Holy Way” (chapter 35).  Oh, what transformation the people of Israel hoped for and oh, what transformation is to come!

At the same time, we live in a world experiencing constant transformation.  Sometimes transformation is expected and welcomed.  We watch it unfold like spring or healing after a long illness: the blooming of the desert.  Other times we watch with horror as transformation comes, like when hurricane Haiyan stormed through the Philippines.   In the aftermath of such tragedy or injustice, there are times when we, like Nelson Mandela, are challenged to notice and work toward transformation.  I once heard someone say, “It’s wonderful to watch a miracle unfold, but it’s even better to help a miracle unfold.”

Mary and Elizabeth helped their miracles unfold. As I live in the “already and not yet” of this advent season, I am inspired by the gospel of Luke’s portrayal of these miracle-bearing cousins.  Though I am sure their lives were not easy, the courage and faith of Mary and Elizabeth remind me that I am humbled and called and blessed to participate in the already and not yet plan of God.  With Isaiah, Mary, and Elizabeth, I look forward to the transformation promised in fulfillment of what was spoken by the Lord.  I also wonder how God might be calling me and others in Franconia Conference to participate in the miracle of transformation in our relationships, community, or world.

I pray I will not get so caught up in the busy-ness of life that I forget to keep my baptismal promise as Christ’s disciple to convey the life and love of Jesus—Immanuel, God with us. May I, like my Pop Pop, help the miracle of transformation unfold by sharing God’s love in simple and practical ways with hearts that may not even be fully aware they are waiting.

Waiting for the day of Jesus

John M Stoltzfusby John Stoltzfus, Conference Youth Minister

I am confident of this: that the one who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.

As a parent, I often impatiently wait for the next stage in my children’s lives. As in, I can’t wait until they are peeing in a potty rather than on the carpet or I can’t wait until they move beyond the thrashing-on-the-floor-tantrum stage!  In other words, I can’t wait until they grow up. Parents of older children tell me to cherish every stage. I sometimes wonder if their memories are faulty!

The season of Advent is filled with exhortations to wait. We remember the waiting for the coming day of the promised Messiah. We practice the discipline of waiting for the day of Jesus Christ. We seek to live into the holy rhythms of Kairos time, waiting for the right time of God’s appearing, rather than Chronos time, a calendar of our own agenda.

The Advent text of Isaiah 40:3-5 repeated by John the Baptist speaks of “preparing the way of the Lord” and “making straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Our journey of transformation into mature Christian adults sometimes feels like a never ending highway construction project.  We all know the joy of waiting through road projects: first there is anticipation as road signs appear, indicating that one can expect traffic delays beginning on a certain date. Then lanes are diverted, flashing lights are hung, rough pavement develops, and we endure months and months of traffic jams, bumpy roads, and alternate routes. It is a laborious process frequently overrunning the initial deadline, costing many resources and much patience.

What if we were to view our own lives and our life as a faith community as a continual road construction project? I sometimes wonder if all of our churches should have a large yellow sign at the entrance reading: Caution: Never Ending Reconstruction Work Ahead. This holy mess is church. Writer Ed Cyzewski recently tweeted: “That’s church. Just gotta pick which HOT MESS is your favorite.”

I confess that I get impatient with the never-ending work of transformation in the church; I tire of waiting for more of Christ to be revealed in us.  Everywhere I look, I see places that have yet to experience the salvation and peace of God: divisions in the body yet to be reconciled; relationships yet to be mended; forgiveness yet to be released; welcome yet to be extended; brokenness yet to be healed; addictions yet to be kicked.

Sometimes I fear that God will lose patience with me. I am prone to wander. I am prone to doubt. I am prone to move forward without acknowledging God’s presence. I am like that road rebuilding project which has a completion date that keeps on getting delayed. Yet we are to regard God’s patience with us as our saving grace. Yes, the work is slow, but we are invited to continue to imagine a different future.

The writer of Philippians imagined with a long-term view: “I am confident of this: that the one who began a good work in you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.  This involves a patient and faithful waiting. In view of God’s grand salvation story, we have the courage to embark on the long road of repentance and change where we tear up the old and lay down the new. At the same time, knowledge of the tender mercies of our God gives us the grace to cherish and accept each other today, even in our unfinished state.

In this time of waiting and anticipation, we do know what is required of us: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God and one another. If we say that we can wait with one another today, then can we wait with one another tomorrow, and the day after, and the next? And, if this is so, can we wait with one another until the day of Jesus?

As we wait together, this is my hope and prayer:

“By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79