Everything in our culture—from movies to books to social media—contains messages that oppose God’s Word. So how can the church at large have an impact on the secular society we live in today? There are three initiatives churches need to employ in order to equip their members to draw the world to Christ.
The Great Commandments
We’ve all heard of the 10 commandments. But according to Matthew 22:34-40, there are two “greatest commandments” that trump and support the other ten. The first is “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The second is “love your neighbor as yourself.” Joe Godfrey, Executive Director of the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP) says that when believers fail to live out these commandments, the church declines in four areas:
- Worship becomes consumer-driven and self-centered vs. God-centered
- Family gets redefined, broken, and disintegrates
- Lifestyle becomes unrestrained, leading to a lack of respect for life, and a tolerance for evil/intolerance of good
- Substitute authority figures such as gangs, drugs, alcohol, gambling, porn, government, etc. are sought to bring order and stability to people’s lives
Vice versa, when believers obey the Great Commandments, we see a shift, not only within the body of Christ but in society at large.
The Great Commission
In addition to the Great Commandments, Christ has given his followers the Great Commission, which is outlined in Matthew 28:16-20:
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
To fulfill the Great Commission, we as believers are to instruct people in the Word of God, explain what it means to believe, live out our faith, and love people. Making disciples is an incredible responsibility, but we can’t let obstacles like fear, doubt, or lack of experience hold us back. Notice after Jesus gives the charge, He says that He is with us. This means that no matter what insecurities we may have, He will give us the strength to overcome them and help us achieve the mission.
The Great Calling
Finally, in order to make an impact on the world for Christ, the church must not live out their faith in isolation. Matthew 5:13-16 says.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, 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 who is in heaven.
As believers, we are called to be salt and light. Many churches, however, have gotten into the habit of twisting and shaping the Gospel to conform to the trends of modern society in order to reach people for Christ. The fact is, the “saltier” and “brighter” we are, the more we will rub people the wrong way and the more starkly our actions and beliefs will contrast with the world’s.
If your church or association is looking for ways to jump into action, we highly recommend starting a salt and light ministry team.