If you’ve read my post about Jesus’ Kingdom, you have a glimpse into what transformation could look like. Jesus’ teaching transforms individual lives when put into action. When allegiance to his teaching spreads through a community, it produces transformation on a societal scale.
What tenents should a team who yearns for community transformation follow to witness fruit? This is the question I propose, and to which I shall attempt to enumerate an answer.
I derive my definition of transformation from an ancient Greek cognate, μετάνοια; μετά meaning “change” (e.g. metamorphosis) and νοια meaning “(one’s own) mind.” This word summarizes how people ought to respond to Jesus’ message - by changing the way we think and act.
Matthew 4:17 (GW)...
From then on, Jesus began to tell people, “Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near!”
1. Jesus is the focal point of all transformation.
It is only from hearing Jesus and doing what he says that people are transformed. All transformation approaches which hinder individuals from an encounter with Jesus and his living words blunt the power of his presence and obscure the source of their transformation.
2. Transformation is ignited and fueled by fervent prayer.
Revival is a synonym for corporate transformation, and every revival was preceded by uncommon and fervent prayer. No program will remedy the powerlessness of a prayerless community.
3. Transformation begins and is sustained with human relationships.
Private devotion is essential for a deepening love for Jesus and others, but transformation rarely begins in private. People begin the path to change by what they see and hear from people in their immediate relational networks and persevere with the coaching and support of their companions. A call to individual change without persistent relationship is mere information.
4. Transformation happens via discovery.
Humans hold truth at a distance when it’s transferred by an authority figure. At the most generous, instruction from an authority figure may be accepted as truth but rarely acted upon. At worst, truth is rejected because of the speaker. When humans discover truth for themselves, from the source, they are compelled to act. Put the truth in front of people and, if you must teach, do so as a fellow traveler.
5. Transformation happens after obedience.
Much of what Jesus teaches cannot be digested without an attempt to do it, and an attempt to do what he says results in more transformation than weeks of instruction can ever hope to achieve. It’s in the obedience that we discover what truly hinders us from change and obedience completed that we revel in its truthfulness.
6. Everyone is eligible for transformation.
Anyone open, no matter how slight, to hearing from God will be transformed by him. No behavior, beliefs, or background disqualifies a person. One doesn’t need to believe the Bible is authoritative, that Jesus is God, or any other doctrine in Christian tradition to hear Jesus, try out what he teaches, and discover for themselves that his way is life.
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