Thursday, November 06, 2008

7 Ways To Bring About Change



Innovation, renovation, reformation, renewal, revival, transformation... it's all about 'change'. We all desire change, yet are so little able to bring it about... even in our own lives. [Sorry to say, I speak from experience. Thus I've become a student of the topic over the last twelve years, in search of accelerated change.]

Being born-again is about radical change and life-long sanctification through God the Spirit, and into the image of God the Son.

"...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
for it is God who works in you to will and to act
according to his good purpose." (Phpns 2)


So whether you're Barack Obama -- our Christ-professing U.S. President with a mandate for change -- or you're a church-leader working for the transformation of lives in your neighborhood... or you're even just an individual Christ-follower anxious to see radical change in your own life in the coming year... we all have the same basic question...

"What are the key drivers of change?"

Let me propose 7... and you tell me how to improve this list...

  • 1. Humility, repentance & prayer. Profess Jesus as Lord. Confess the ways we have failed Him and each other... individually and corporately. Communicate with Him accordingly. Come boldly to the throne of grace. Lay the foundation that it will be GOD who gets the glory for change. "We are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Pray regularly for your community & leaders.

  • 2. Adversity & Diversity. God sharpens us as we persevere in faith. He calls the body of Christ to be together. We cannot begin to know the fullness of Christ if we segregate into self-serving homogeneous groups. John 17 commands us otherwise. Our harmony is a testimony to our testimony. The multicultural church is the only church we read about in scripture. The parts of the body are given to benefit the whole.

  • 3. Study, Research, Learn. The Bereans were called 'noble' because they went home daily and searched the scriptures. Do you read & re-read God's Word? Cover to cover? Over & over? He equips 'teachers' to make things clear -- do you listen? Do you read existing research? If not, chances are you're quite content being unaware that we, the Church, are only 4% effective in this country.

  • 4. Goal-strategizing. Set your heart on things above. Lord, teach us to number our days aright. The apostle Paul always had a plan, and adapted as necessary. Do you have a plan? If you aim at nothing, you're sure to accomplish it. Are your goals measurable? If not, you've built-in your own loophole. Pastor Rick Warren intimates that if your mission isn't measurable, it's just a PR piece.

  • 5. Train for gain. Self-discipline. Train yourselves to be godly. Sharpen one another. Stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Be prepared to make the most of every opportunity. Spread the good news rapidly. Learn new tools. Try new approaches. Test everything -- hold onto that which is good.

  • 6. Mentoring & Accountability. Seek wise-counsel. Get a mentor or coach. Change won't occur naturally -- the human heart hates accountability. Commit to report your progress (or not)... to others. Then do it. Btw, Paul commanded Timothy to be a mentor to others. Are you mentoring others? Bonus: Teachers always learn more than the students.

  • 7. Extend yourself. Partnering... it's a great way to effect change in our ministries & community endeavors. Are you sown into the citywide tapestry of believers? They'll help effect change in your life too.
Sharpen me. Your thoughts?


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[visit the 'Change' topic in the CityReaching wiki]

7 comments:

NEO, SOC said...

The change has to be the church who says "Christ is all"! Too many believers looked to Obama as their messiah. He will do many egregious things against the church and it will be too late. Oh well, Lord come quick!

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Neil, I have posted my own steps to creating change, and they are at http://tutormentor.blogspot.com/2008/05/more-shootings-in-chicago-this-weekend.html

Dan Bassill
Tutor/Mentor Connection
Chicago

Melanie Reed said...

As you say, we need to consider that the real transformation (change) needed is done at the time of true conversion by Christ. Thank you, Neil, for reminding us of that important foundation. The Bible lovingly gives us a truthful warning about this and is clear about the cultural climate of confusion we find ourselves in today: a culture that looks like an "angel of light" in its capacity for assistance or is often crying out "there is the Christ", or promotes "wolves in sheep's clothing" that wind up ravaging our spiritual relationship with our Lord and leading us away from the His church. But we also need to remember that no one can come in and harm the flock of God unless two things happen:
1) The flock has been careless and put themselves into a position of reproach on a few crucial areas so that an attack can come that way. And
2) Once at risk (because of giving into the sinful practices of selfishness and greed), faith wavers, and forgiveness and repentance are abused. Then the flock out of morbid (not godly) fear begins to look to "Egypt" as the sole answer to their present difficulties.

When the flock does this, looks to mankind's solutions entirely as their sole protection from this life's hardships and tragedies, we place ourselves into the hands of the world's philosophies as well, and they are philosophies that are a mixture of the wrong with the right, the lie with the truth. And just enough so of a mix that the unwary, the weary, and the fearful of us begin to rationalize away the spiritual danger of this. An example of this is to mix the wrong of racism (which is an erroneous idea) with the wrong of homosexuality (which is a practice of sin) Please view the following response on this topic by Dr. Ravi Zacharias: http://tinyurl.com/6ejsck

Now think about how the enemy (who does not have anyone's best interest in mind and is a master of confusion and deception) has positioned these two topics together so as to sneak one through with the other. Yet the truth still stands when we remember how the Christ instructs us about both by acknowledging their separate sacredness so as to know the truth.

So what do we need to remember that the Christ has already taught us? The real change needed is this: learning to separate the wheat from the chaff, the truth from the lie, to so thoroughly know the truth (Jesus) that when false arguments are suggested under the guise of what we know to be true and right, we will not believe what is false and be taken into sin - even if the liar (whoever that may be that the enemy uses to confuse us) tries to subvert our thinking as to what real love is. Real love IS patient...but it also "...does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth." This is the truth, the gift that elevates our thinking, so as to enjoy communion with Jesus as His clean and adorned bride. That is the change that we are aiming for, not the country, but the individual human heart that is upright with the Lord Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Separation of church and state unless a child killing democrat says it? Too Many people look to other people for salvation. Hilter did the same thing, Professing Christ just to get in power. I am still not convinced that he is not a Muslim, I am convinced however that he is not a Chritian.

Jerry said...

"Seven" is a perfect number. I don't know how I could improve on your thoughts. Good job, brother.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like the begining of a great book.

brokensoulforchrist said...

AMEN AMEN AMEN! The heart has to DESIRE change and DESIRE to become like Christ! Christianity is a LIFESTYLE not a duty. If your life is based around and focused on Christ you can accomplish change through Christ.

One other thing that I think is VERY important is surrendering. Every day I wake up and surrender my day, life, mind, soul, heart, and thoughts to God. Every day I fail. Every day I am covered by the grace of God and I am restored and made stronger for the next day. Failure is part of the Christian life because it only brings glory and recognition to our loving heavenly Father who proves that only HE is faithful to restore us and forgive us. There is no shame in our walk with God, only forgiveness and restoration!