Thursday, August 11, 2011

Transforming Society (3) - Challenge

The collapse of society presents huge opportunities for the gospel and the Kingdom of God. Those who understand their times and know what is happening can make a huge difference, if they know what to do. It is too late to start planning when the crisis comes. Those who make plans in advance and get prepared will be the ones with influence ( See Ambush).

Christians should start rebuilding their local communities from the bottom up. Jesus taught that we should love one another and the rest of the New Testament is full of One Another Stuff, so we should be experts at building communities.

As the Kingdom of God advances, society will be transformed from the bottom up, as local communities are restored to peace and unity. The Holy Spirit is also an expert at building communities, but he works household by household. When Jesus commissioned his disciples, he sent them to a particular place, and urged them to focus on one household (Luke 10:6,7). The good news can spread from house to house through an entire community.

The basic building block of Israelite society was a group of ten families living close to each other (Deut 1:15). These families would sometimes be related, and they would care for each other. They provided protection and social support for their community.

Several of these groups of ten would join together for defence, dealing with crime, or economic purpose. If a serious attack, was threatened, a large number might form together to form an army. Authority passed from the ten, to the hundred, to the thousand by voluntary submission. If the leaders of the tens withdrew their submission, the leaders of the hundred and thousand lost their authority. Authority flowed from the bottom to the top, with no loss of freedom.

This contrasts with the pattern in the world, where authority flows the other way. The group at the top of the hierarchy has control and power and authority flows from the top by force.

Christians should take up the challenge of restoring their local communities. Belonging to a church is not enough, church tend to stand apart from the local culture. House Churches are a step in the right direction, but their impact on society is limited, because Christians are still scattered thinly throughout their cities. We have to become villages that change the world.

In the next few posts I will tell a story that explains how this could happen.


Ron McK said...

The riots in England are an example of what can happen when community is destroyed.

Many people are calling for a stronger police presence and Prime Minister Cameron has committed to doing whatever it takes to bring order. The problem is that police forces can produce order, but they cannot create community.

Other commentators are calling for stronger social development programmes. The problem is that stronger programmes cannot create real community.

Who knows how to build community? Christians should be expert community builders.

Charlotte said...

hello again Ron, after reading your article I read a quote frm Russell Brand (cant remember if hes well known in NZ but hes a bit of a 'bad boy' celebrity.)
he said....
"These young people have no sense of community because they haven't been given one. They have no stake in society because Cameron's mentor Margaret Thatcher told us there's no such thing.

If we don't want our young people to tear apart our communities then don't let people in power tear apart the values that hold our communities together."

you may be interested in this as well from the Telegraph...

very much enjoying your postings at the moment