In 1980, I went to a ministers gathering in Dallas, Texas as part of a roundtable discussion to get Christians involved in politics and the public square as influencers upon our nation. The arena hosting the conference seated thousands of people and although the overwhelming majority were Southern Baptists, the event had a Pentecostal revival feel as everyone got fired up about our potential impact on politics. Ronald Reagan actually addressed the conference and many well-known ministries joined the effort. Pat Robertson, head of the Christian Broadcasting Network, eventually ran for president himself. Over 34 years later, our nation has descended into a moral abyss as never before because leaders did not lead as God intended.
Time for Revelation on Our Impact
One of the problems is Christians easily confused the role of the Christian as well as the role of the Church. Unfortunately, so do the leaders! Many of the ministry leaders in those days were so inspired by the message of involvement that they decided to get involved themselves. This made the politicians happy because they thought the leaders would bring their groups with them, which was oftentimes the goal of the pastors, too. It is so important that we understand the role of the Church, hence the role of the leaders of the churches and how we are called to influence the world! In the book Ephesians, chapter four, we see the pattern God gives through the five-fold ministry gifts. His desire is a training system within the body for the equipping of the saints “for the work of the ministry.” A significant part of the work of the ministry of Jesus Christ has an evangelistic component to be salt and light to the world. The Church fulfills this call by training people to be just that. However, it is not the role of ministers to be directly involved in the affairs of the public square when equipping the multitudes is the intended purpose.
The Role of the Church
The concept of equipping needs to be understood by the congregation as much as by the minister. Oftentimes, members of the Church will get a burden and think they must ‘bring the Church along” in their effort to impact the world. The shear size and level of resources within the church causes many people to see the Church as a source of untapped potential for their burdens. We must all understand that the Church is commissioned by Jesus Christ for the equipping of the saints to impact the world. Yet, at the same time, we must be very careful to keep the church separate from civil society.
The Church is the place of God’s habitation and should never be seen as a tool for human endeavors, but to be the embassy of heaven on earth. At Mt. Zion, the church that I have pastored for over 35 years, our mission is to train people for the full work of the ministry of Jesus Christ. This is why we have our School of Performing Arts to raise up people in the arts, and Beecher Institute, our collegiate level school, to equip those with a passion to have an increased impact. The greatest impact the Church can have is by being what God has called us to be! We must also be careful to understand our message to the world should be the place where God’s word goes forth to not only our nation, but all the nations of the world. Are you allowing yourself to be equipped for this present hour for your role in culture and everyday circumstances?