The church, it seems, is being made ready to assume its missional role in the world and to acquire the understanding necessary for its faithful participation in the larger redemptive mission of Christ. As most observers are aware there is a dearth of consciously Christian worldview knowledge within the church—meaning: How does the biblical revelation serve to inform every aspect of life and culture? A Barna survey in 2004 showed "just 9% of all born again adults and just 7% of Protestants possess a biblical worldview." The same study also revealed, "only half of the country's Protestant pastors—51%—have a biblical worldview" (Barna Update, 2004). More recently, figures demonstrate some slight improvement. In 2009, Barna reported, "less than one out of every five born again adults (19%) has a biblical worldview."
Of course, it must be said that the criteria (seven questions) used to define "Biblical worldview" were so rudimentary as to represent nothing more than the most basic tenets of the Christian faith, so the need for education remains enormous. Fortunately, there has been some progress on this front. There are today numerous ministries and resources available to equip the church with a consciously Christian understanding of reality. For example, The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, of which I am a part, is an incredible resource. Nonetheless, there does remain a practical disconnect between worldview theory and application. Because the church is so deficient in this area, we're often still addressing the foundations of the Christian life and worldview, unable to advance toward application. This condition has led me to launch the Kingdom Project™, a boots-on-the-ground discipleship/training program for applying the Christian worldview, producing tangible cultural transformation through the advance of the kingdom.
While there is, indeed, much more emphasis today on "Christian worldview" than there was fifteen or twenty years ago, I would argue that most of these programs remain academic. In other words, most worldview education—due to the aforementioned deficiency—remains at a 50,000-foot level, centered largely on the historic role of Christianity in shaping Western civilization. Other approaches serve to illuminate the contrast between the secular and biblical views of morality and life issues. While this knowledge is certainly important, and provides an essential foundation, it is often unable to proceed toward ground-level application.
After more than eight years of writing, teaching, and speaking on the subject of Christian worldview from a similar academic level, I now feel it is time to roll up my sleeves and personally begin to help others apply these principles so they can both experience personal transformation and become transforming agents themselves. The specific goal of the Kingdom Project™ is to help Christian business/institutional leaders discover how their vocational gifts and their enterprises can tangibly advance the kingdom of God.
Why the emphasis on business, you may ask?
Because the corporate culture in America is perhaps one of the most challenging arenas for modern Christians to effectively live out and apply their faith. Is it also one of the most influential contributors to the creation of culture in twenty-first century America and therefore should be claimed under the lordship of Christ.
Historically, it was distinctly Christian ideas and principles that gave birth to free-market capitalism, established work as a noble calling, created the means of finance, and encouraged the concept of capital investment. Christianity—believing human beings were made in the image of God—prioritized the development of human potential as expressed in one's vocation and ignited unparalleled entrepreneurialism, creating the largest economy in the history of the world. These consciously Christian economic principles have fostered more human flourishing—lifting more people out of poverty—and proven more beneficial to humanity than any other political or economic enterprise in all of human history. What may be surprising to note by many Christians today is that this historic activity was not seen as collateral to the Christian faith but actually an integral part of God's redemptive, liberating kingdom come into the world.
In the post industrial-revolution era, there is perhaps no more important sphere of American life and culture than business to transform with the gospel of the kingdom. For most of human history, predominantly agrarian societies were the cultural context into which the church carried its mission. Commercial enterprises existed on a smaller scale, touching far fewer people. Survival was a much more pressing concern than "career development." This is clearly no longer the case. We now live in a culture shaped, in large part, by global corporations and powerful business interests. Therefore, the church must seriously consider this new context in light of the mission of God (missio Dei). Despite more than a century of experience, the church has yet to develop a successful response to modernity. I am convinced that the Christianization of corporate America offers one of the most effective solutions for pressing the kingdom of God in the modern era.
As a side note, does anyone believe that the American business culture is not in need of reformation? The only real question is who will do the reforming—the government or the church?
I will be sharing much more about the Kingdom Project in the weeks ahead. If you are interested in starting your kingdom project, visit www.MyKingdomProject.org to learn more and apply for this one-of-a-kind, no-cost program.
S. Michael Craven is the President of the Center for Christ & Culture and the author of Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity (Navpress, 2009). Michael's ministry is dedicated to equipping the church to engage the culture with the redemptive mission of Christ. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture and the teaching ministry of S. Michael Craven, visit: www.battlefortruth.org
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