This site was desiged for standard modern browsers. Please upgrade your internet browser to Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Empowered to Influence: Part 3

Lorna Johnston /Monday, March 4, 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.  

Paradigm 3 – Worship that Adds Value to Communities 

Have you ever walked into a church with a different liturgical tradition than yours? It feels a little strange at first to not recognize the patterns that everybody else is using. Now imagine someone who doesn’t have a church background walking into one of our services. What seems normal and obvious to us might feel very strange to them.  

But realistically, most unchurched people wouldn’t imagine participating in one of our events because we are completely irrelevant to them. In this third paradigm, Ken Chua explores the shift in thinking that we, as Christ-followers, must make to have any relevance or attract the interest of those in our community.  

Dissolving Boundaries, Flavouring Communities

Using the metaphor of salt already introduced in earlier sessions, Ken considers the idea of salt in its visible form—in the saltshaker, and salt in its invisible form - dissolved into the food it is intended to flavour. He contends that to be useful and active, salt must lose its form and become active in its environment.  

Likewise, for Christians to be useful and active in our environment, we must lose our ‘churchy’ forms and become integrated and active in the community. We must adapt our behaviours to the patterns and practices, the ‘liturgy’, of the community we are engaging. This doesn’t mean we lost our core identity as Christ-followers, but we do ditch behaviours that don’t serve and benefit our community’s purposes and priorities. 

Only when we are willing to do this, will our spiritual influence become activated. 

Ken points out that all communities exist for a reason - whether it’s a business focused on production and profit, or a strata council focused on building management, or a recreational team focused on fitness and fun. In each case, the purpose and thus the desireable behaviours and rules of engagement are well understood.   

A church community exists for spiritual development; thus, our focus is on gospel themes such as forgiveness, integrity, unity and love. The pastor and the community attempt to emulate the kindness, gentleness, forgiveness and mercy of Jesus Christ.  

But those same behaviours may not make any sense or be of value in other communities. While we must always exhibit Kingdom Values of Righteousness, Peace, and Joy (described in Paradigm 1), we may need to learn to express them in ways that are understood and have a good impact in another community’s context. If we try to live a ‘church culture’ in these other contexts we become unappealing at best and - at worst - may be viewed as a deficit to the community. 

The challenge is for us to put aside our Christian conditioning and examine the practices and priorities of the community in which we are active to discern how to engage it well so that the good that is there is built up, and what is not good is transformed.  

If we are unable to do this, we remain ‘visible salt’ in the saltshaker, critical of the environment, rather than engaging in it. If we can engage, by joining hearts with the people in our communities and working towards fulfilling the goals of the community, then we have become ‘invisible salt’, spiritually active bringing Kingdom Values - Righteousness, Peace, and Joy - to it, and that is very relevant and interesting to them.

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.


Show All Blogs

An Invitation to Pray: Week 7

An Invitation to Pray

As we enter into this final week of prayer leading up to Pentecost Sunday (May 19th), we pray for a disciple movement that is a witness movement among all nations, all generations, and all hearts. Please join us as we lift our hearts to God, seeking His guidance and empowerment in this ongoing prayer initiative.

An Invitation to Pray: Week 6

An Invitation to Pray
WEEK SIX: The Calling and Empowering of the Holy Spirit

Join us in prayer from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday as we unite, focusing this week on the power of the Holy Spirit to impact and lead upcoming generations. As we recognize the importance of mobilizing our youth into God's mission, let's also lift up prayers for our Youth Mobilizers, so that they may be empowered, equipped, and provided for in their vital work. 

An Invitation to Pray: Week 5

An Invitation to Pray
WEEK FIVE: Unity of Mind and Purpose Born Out of Humility

In this fifth week of our prayer focus, we delve into the significance of praying for leaders and pastors to embody Jesus' vision of unity, fostering missional churches. Join us in praying for the Holy Spirit to empower mobilizers in their vital ministry.

An Invitation to Pray: Week 4

An Invitation to Pray
WEEK FOUR: Prayer for Empowered Teams

During the sacred period between Easter and Pentecost, our prayer focus turns to teams trained and empowered by Jesus for their mission. This time commemorates the disciples' receiving of the Holy Spirit, igniting a fervent prayer for modern-day teams to be similarly equipped for their tasks. As believers unite in prayer, they seek the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to guide, strengthen, and boost these teams in their endeavours.

An Invitation to Pray: Week 3

An Invitation to Pray

In this time between Easter and Pentecost, let's embrace the strength of communal prayer. Just as the early followers assembled with one purpose, let's raise our voices in harmony, seeking the Holy Spirit's guidance and blessings. During this third week, let's lift up prayers for the mobilization efforts to flourish, seeking opportunities for collaboration and fruitful partnerships in reaching diverse communities across Canada.

An Invitation to Pray: Week 2

An Invitation to Pray

As we journey through the sacred season between Easter and Pentecost, let us come together, Christians united in faith, to embrace the power of collective prayer. In this second week of our initiative, let us deepen our commitment to intercede for our communities, nations, and the world at large. Let us not underestimate the impact of our collective supplications, for in unity, our prayers resonate with greater resonance before the throne of God. Join us in this sacred endeavor, as we strive to be vessels of love, peace, and healing in a world yearning for divine intervention.

An Invitation to Pray

Join the SM family in Canada in a Season of Prayer: Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday (March 31-May 19)

This Sunday we celebrate Easter, remembering the death, burial, and resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. On that Resurrection Day everything changed. But it wasn’t until the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came, that the power of that change was fully realized in the early disciples’ lives.

We need that same power to be at work in our efforts as the Simply Mobilizing family in Canada to awaken the church, the ‘sleeping giant’.  Our mobilization efforts shifted online during the pandemic, and much good has come from that. But the Canadian context and the Canadian church have changed. How shall we respond to these changes?