The founding father of Campus Crusade for Christ (of which Agapè is the Dutch branch), Bill Bright, wrote a number of books during his lifetime. One thing that he was very good at was choosing the title: Revolution Now! is my favourite, but I also like the one that heads this post. It came to my mind last weekend, while discussing the future of our movement with some colleagues from different countries.
Among many other things, we talked about the question what we are actually here for. As most of you know, Agapè exists to help people find Jesus, grow in their faith and help them to reach out to others as well. But that is only one way to put it. Another way is to say that we’re here to ‘help fulfill the Great Commission in our generation’. Now, this might come closer but probably still has not the same appeal as Bill Bright’s motto ‘Come, help change the world’. I believe this is what Bright had in mind, and nothing less. And I believe he was right in that: we’re not here just to save individual souls, but to change this world. (Note that by now, I’m not just talking about Agapè but about every follower of Jesus!)
This started me thinking. What does it mean to change the world? Is this just a matter of evangelising every person in the country? Or should we work the other way around: infiltrate the United Nations and work from there? My answers and thoughts are far from complete, but there are a few things I am convinced of. First of all: it all starts with the individual. ‘Integrity is not in systems’, as I once heard a professor say. Making this world a better place implies changing people’s attitudes, values, behavior. And secondly: it implies changing things ‘between’ people that cannot be dealt with on an individual level. I’m talking about relationships, culture, systems – that sort of things. An example: I have experienced that even when changing the people in a certain setting, the ruling culture remained. It is even more obvious for political, economical and judicial systems. They don’t change by itself when the people change.
I tried to visualize this in the picture below: Starting with the individual, we want to see his or her values changed – repentance. This impacts relationships with the effect of reconciliation. When we see a community impacted by the gospel, it can influence the structures in a local society; cities start to change. When this happens, the systems of justice, politics, economics in a country are touched and in the end the entire country will see reformation.You could even extend this thinking a few levels more, with ultimately Creation being changed through redemption (Romans 8).
Let me know your thoughts…