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Empowered to Influence: An Introduction

Lorna Johnston /Thursday, January 18, 2024

 

Empowered to Influence is an 8-session video-based course intended to be offered using the normal structures of a local church, e.g. Sunday School, small group Bible study, etc. This blog series is to explore the paradigms that are explored in the course.


'You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.’  -Matthew 5:13-16

What does it mean to be salty or light-filled? This is the core question that is explored in the Empowered to Influence course. Salt is a preservative and flavor enhancer. Light dispels darkness and illuminates the way. How is saltiness and illumination expressed by Christ-followers in the community—at home, at work, in the neighbourhood? What does this mean as the ‘Church-scattered’ is throughout the community during the week?

The foundational premise of Empowered to Influence is that when the Church is living out Kingdom Values by living lives of true, biblical worship every day, the world will be powerfully impacted—salt and light will have their good and powerful effect.

Ken Chua, the author and presenter of this material, is a Singaporean businessman who has wrestled with the dichotomy between ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’ as a result of his own journey as a Christian in the business world. He contends that as the Church lives as salt and light in the world the result is transformative: moral values are preserved; people can experience meaning and joy; justice is promoted; and people can clearly see how best to navigate life. This positive influence spreads from family to community to society and beyond.

Empowered to Influence explores 7 paradigm shifts that must take place in Christ-followers’ thinking in order to be ‘salty’ and ‘light-filled’, living out Kingdom Values as an act of worship in everyday life.

Paradigm 1 – A Correct Understanding of Worship

Genesis 22:5 is the first scripture reference to worship. Embedded in the story of Abraham’s journey to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God’s command, the concept of worship is firmly intertwined with the idea of sacrifice. Abraham’s worship of Yahweh will mean the death of dreams and promises, hopes and plans.

Paul mirrors this concept in Romans 12:1 where we read,

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Worship and sacrifice/service are firmly intertwined. True worship will result in our lives being completely and continuously offered in service to God and His Kingdom coming. This kind of worship is only possible because of the abiding presence of Jesus Christ in a Believer’s life; this ongoing worship is holy and acceptable to God.

If worship is continuous and ongoing throughout our days, then what is the purpose of a ‘worship-event’ such as a Sunday morning church service? Ken contends that its purpose must be to equip for the ongoing lifestyle of worship that is expressed in our daily lives. The evidence that ongoing sacrificial worship is being offered to God will be evidenced by the presence of Kingdom Values in everything we do.

In Romans 14:17 we read,

“For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Kingdom Values, the fruit of sacrificial worship, are Righteousness, Peace and Joy. These are what will be expressed, and experienced by those around us, as we live lives of sacrificial worship to God.

Righteousness

Righteousness is defined by Ken as integrity in our character through the discharge of our duties to Christ and man. We read what duties God requires of us in Micah 6:8

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Justice – Respecting, giving consideration to, dutifully serving, and if necessary, defending the rights, interests, honour and dignity of the people around me and those whom my actions affect.
Kindness – Expressed spontaneously in response to needs that arise around us as an outflow of Christ’s abiding presence in our lives.
Humility – Christlike humility compels us to enter into the world of those around us and feel what they feel. The degree of justice and kindness expressed for others is in direct proportion to our humility before God and men.

Peace

Rather than being concerned with ‘inner peace’ this is actually about peacemaking. Strife and disharmony in the community and workplace are often rooted in people’s insecurity about their future. Sacrificial worship expressed in peacemaking will work towards healthy communities where all thrive and where broken relationships can be mended.

Joy

Happiness depends on events and circumstances, but joy in the Holy Spirit is an outcome of our relationship with Christ. This Kingdom Value is expressed beyond our current circumstances and is the tangible evidence of Christ in us.

When these Kingdom Values, the fruit of true, sacrificial worship, are lived out in the sight of all in our community, it is compelling evidence of the powerful transformation of the indwelling Christ in us. We are salty and light-filled, and the community is impacted.


If you are interested in running the Empowered to Influence course in your church, please contact our Simply Mobilizing team by filling out the form on this page:  Empowered to Influence 

 We'd be glad to help your church congregation run the Empowered to Influence Course!


Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams -- Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC) and Loving Muslims Together (LMT). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.



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