Transformation: A Unifying Vision of the Church’s Mission

Last week I was privileged to finally see an early draft copy of the book on Transformation I helped Luis Bush with a couple years ago, based on the Transformational Covenant they developed in Indonesia. This version came out of the second Transform World Conference (India 2006), and it mentions that the “final” version should be available in a few months. I can’t wait to start buying copies for people I know, both ministers and theologians, as I believe this really does represent God’s heart (“missio dei“) for the church in the 21st Century.

Some excerpts and summaries below…

[Drawn primarily from the Foreword by Joseph D’Souza and the Preface by Luis Bush].

John Stott aptly reminds us throughout his various writings and sermons that the scope of God’s salvation is total and includes the redemption of man’s soul, his body, the creation he lives in, his community, society and in fact the whole of creation.

Within this premise, Jesus commands us to Total Discipleship of all people — a discipleship which encompasses all parts of a believer’s life.

Seeking the Kingdom of God results in personal and cultural transformation which has emerged as a unifying vision for the mission of the Church at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Mission as transformation is built upon four foundational pillars of truth:

1. we are living in a broken world
2. individuals are being called to be conformed to the image of Christ
3. churches are being challenged to be renewed and reformed to align with God’s greater purposes
4. cities, communities, peoples, and nations are being transformed

Five Transformational Streams

1. Revivalist, characterized by divine visitation and renewal
2. Church Growth, permeating every segment of society with the love, truth, and saving power of Jesus Christ
3. City Reaching, to mobilize apostolic people with an apostolic mission to transform peoples, places, and the cultures within with the Church lives around the world
4. Transformational Development, creating a better future for the poor through community development
5. Marketplace Redemption, business, education and government — the heart of a nation — must be transformed for a nation to be transformed

A New Paradigm: Mission As Transformation
As we begin the twenty-first century, mission as transformation has emerged as a new paradigm.

A Biblical Perspective on Transformation
Transformation is the progressive, ongoing, measurable, supernatural impact of the presence and power of God working in, through, and apart from the Church on human society and structures. It involves seeking positive change in the whole of human life materially, socially, and spiritually, as we recover our true identity as human beings created in the image of God and discover our true vocation as productive stewards, faithfully caring for our world and its people.

Transformation Initiatives to Bless the Nations
A comprehensive approach to transformation must be “rooted in the theology of the mission of the Kingdom of God and seek to express the Lordship of Jesus over every aspect of life[:] economic, religious, personal, political. It does not give priority to any area of life as an area of mission… but this change will be effected whenever people address issues of life, rooted in a Gospel perspective.”

Commitment to a nation or community requires a comprehensive scope that includes all peoples, problems, and conditions that affect community or national life.

God is Lord of all, and therefore, His redemptive concern is comprehensive — seeking to bring healing and restoration to “all things” by means of Christ’s blood shed on the cross. The Kingdom of God advances to the extent that local churches reflect God’s comprehensive, redemptive concern for the whole of creation. Therefore, the ministry of the church must be holistic — encompassing the whole person (spiritual, physical, and social), and all of their relationships (with God, with others, and with the environment).

Conditions Leading to Transformation

a. Spiritual Vitality – Laying the foundation for transformation and ministry through corporate spiritual growth
b. Relational Priority – Fueling momentum for ministry through loving relationships
c. Compelling Shared Vision – Aligning transformational efforts by maintaining vision for the desired results
d. Empowering Leadership – Identifying leaders and initiating a process for community transformation
e. Thorough Research – Increasing understanding of the current realities of one’s community
f. Loving Service – Taking advantage of key opportunities to minister to the community
g. Intentional Learning – Making a fresh commitment to individual and corporate learning around needed skills and effective ministry models

Signs of Transformation

1. Incarnation
2. Proclamation
3. Liberation
4. Repentance and Regeneration
5. Koinonia (community)
6. Humility and acts of Reverence and Love
7. Suffering

The Transformational Individual
Typically, a transformation process begins with a catalytic core of saints who embrace a lifestyle of persistent repentance, humility, and sacrificial servanthood. This both demonstrates and attracts the favor and presence of God, and breaks the predominating influences of the ruling powers of human flesh and negative spiritual forces.

The Transformational Church
A church that is moving towards its own transformation and the transformation of the community in which it serves gives priority to living out its identity as God’s redeemed and renewed people in:

* Complete commitment: to Jesus Christ as Lord of everything and everyone
* Comprehensive commitment: discipleship as a missionary lifestyle to which the entire church and every member have been called
* Community commitment to inaugurate a new humanity
* Ministry commitment: …to prepare the church and all its members to fulfill their vocation as God’s co-workers in the world

Transformed Communities
In this sphere, transformation may be characterized by pervasive awareness of the reality of God, a radical correction of social ills, a commensurate decrease in crime rates, supernatural blessing on local commerce, healing of the brokenhearted (the alienated and disenfranchised), restoration of the productivity of the land, and visible expressions of kingdom righteousness.

The Process of Community Spiritual Transformation

* Spiritual Beachhead: Petition, Principles & Desperation
* Spiritual Breakthrough: Response, Presence & Strategy
* Spiritual Transformation: Destination, Product & Maintenance

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.