By Stanley Ow Chong Kheng
Stanley is the SVM2 National Lead Facilitator in Singapore.
MacMillan English Dictionary explains society as ‘people in general living together in organized communities with laws and traditions controlling the way that they behave towards one another.’
God placed us in a particular place or country where we are born and raised; learning its culture, habits and norms. Ed Silvoso believes that there are 5 pivotal paradigms that will transform: us, our family, our school, our business and our nation.
Some Singapore Christian leaders coined with its alphabetical order of Arts & Entertainment; Business, Science & Technology; Communication & Media; Disadvantages & Marginalized; Education & School; Family & Home; Government & Leadership.
Some Important Prerequisites
Firstly, engagement of society with the gospel is a spiritual work and not man. Renewal rekindles our first love for the Lord and revival brings about God’s continuous works through His Holy Spirit. We need to continue our abandoned devotion to Him through prayers, intercession, fasting and meditation.
Secondly, we need a clear understanding of salvation. Is it simply being delivered from damnation of hell to eternal heaven? (John 3:16-18) When we accept Christ as our Savior, the nature as a ‘seed’ of God is planted. The seed of faith will grow. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Paul said,
‘My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.’ (Galatians 4:19)
Thirdly, you need to be fully convinced and appreciate the surety transforming power of the GOSPEL. Christianity is having a personal relationship with Christ that transforms lives. This is tantamount as a message bearer.
Paul is totally convinced. Are we? The Message translation of Romans 1:16-17 says,
‘Its news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him… God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith… The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.’
As a former drug counselor with Singapore Teen Challenge, I had experienced God’s transforming power in the countless lives. Some are ministers today. We must experience the power of the gospel first-hand before engaging the society. Let’s move beyond head knowledge to the heart experience of God.
Fourthly, the supremacy of the role of His church is key. Before Christ’s ascension, He released His powers and authorities to His Church in accordance to Ephesians 1:18-23; Matthew 16:18-19. This is a challenge for the local church! As a pastor and message bearer, I am convinced of its role. The local church has an awesome task.
What does a transformational society look like? Again Silvoso termed it as having God’s agenda; the change for the better that is spiritual, overpowering, death-defying and life-giving. It is having a changed society with all its spheres that honors God in everything that we do within the family, home, professions or workplace with a special heart for the needy.
Can a society be transformed with the gospel through each message bearer and follower of God? A key verse is Romans 12:2, ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (KJV). Message translation said,
‘Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed (transformed) from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you and quickly respond to it.’
A recent book “The Missional Leader” edited by A Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk mentioned about the need of ‘Discontinuous Change.’ It highlighted the first ever launch of IBM’s team starting up online business. The overwhelming response was considered as an unexpected response. It was outside their skills and expertise. The organization has moved to a level of complexity that is beyond the team’s skills and ability to address.
The Jews in Exodus experienced a new direction and transformation for Israel when they moved out of Egypt. They became a new kind of people beyond being slaves. Printing press in the 15 century brought about a ‘new’ Europe.
Can we discern God in bringing changes to the 7 spheres of our society with a discontinuous wind of change by His mighty Spirit?