Going Deeper: Beyond Behavioral Change by Steve Childers

Steve —  November 9, 2018 — Leave a comment

Video Transcript – slightly edited

(From a Steve Childers’ seminary classroom lecture – recorded live)

Jesus Christ changes everything: Behaviors, Values, Beliefs, and Worldviews

  • Level One: He changes peoples’ behaviors (what is done). How?
  • Level Two: He changes people’s values (what is good) that drive their behaviors. How?
  • Level Three: He changes people’s beliefs (what is true) that shape their values. How?
  • Level Four: He changes their worldviews (what is real) that forms their beliefs.

Gospel-centered leaders pray and strive to see Jesus Christ transform not only people’s behaviors, but also their deeper values, beliefs, and worldviews.

In this video, you will begin to explore the first three levels: Transformed behaviors, values, and beliefs.

There are three primary goals of a contextualized philosophy of ministry, as it relates to your ministry focus group.

1. Radical identification with the ministry focus group
2. Effective communication to the ministry focus group
3. Holistic transformation of the ministry focus group as a result of that

Our focus in this session, is on the ultimate goal. Holistic transformation of our ministry focus group.

Gospel-centered churches, transformational churches, are intentionally seeking much more than merely the modified behavior of their ministry focus group. Instead, they are intentionally seeking ways to bring the gospel to bare, not just on behavioral modification. Not just on what you do or don’t do, but you are intentionally seeking to get underneath the behaviors, to understand why.

  • What are the values that are driving those behaviors?
  • What are the beliefs, then, that are driving those values?
  • What are the world-views that are actually underneath those beliefs?

I really want to encourage you to have in your mind, the task of penetrating deeply, to the very core with the gospel. Notice the questions that are now with each of these concentric circles.

The behavior circle: what is done?

The value circle: how they answer the question, what is good?

The beliefs circle: how they answer the question, what is true?

The worldview question: how do they answer question, what is real?

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This is hard mental work. This does not come easy, so if you find yourself, as I now push you, this is what’s done for basic missionary training, where you have to be pushed to begin to think now, about applying these principles to your ministry focus group. Gospel-centered churches, transformational churches, are intentionally seeking much more than merely the modified behavior. They’re seeking to go deeper.

I want you to think of your ministry focus group. Now, we’re actually going to start studying them. We’re going to start exegeting and seeking to understand them, so that in light of our understanding, we might learn with greater clarity and power, what is good news to them. In light of what I was talking about last time.

We’ll look first, at the three levels: behaviors, values, and beliefs.

What is done? What do they do or not do? What is good? What underlies their behaviors? What’s true to them? What do they believe that actually lies at the root of their values?

In the material, you’ll see these three categories. Transformed behaviors. Then if you notice, there are two sub-categories under each of these three areas. For instance:

Transformed Behaviors.
a. What are their behaviors now?
b. What would their behaviors look like if they were transformed through the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

a. What are those values now, that underlie those behaviors?
b. What would they look like if they were transformed?

Normally, you’re developing three to five with your team or with your coach. I want you to just be able to put one down, so you begin to taste it.

a. What are their beliefs now?
b. What would their beliefs look like, that would be transformed, that would be the motivation for these particular values?

See what I mean by hard work? For those of you who have had training in exegeting special revelation, this is usually the time that’s paralleled by learning Greek and Hebrew, and learning hermeneutics and looking at the text and going, well, wait a second, this is not real easy. Exegeting the world is difficult. Exegeting the word is difficult.

I’m basically giving you cultural hermeneutics. I’m going to ask you three baby questions. Let’s just start with this outer circle.

Tell me one thing that they do now, but that if the gospel penetrated this culture, what would it look like that would be dissimilar? What do they value now? What do they believe that’s underneath that value, that motivates it and what would that belief be, that was evidence of the transforming work of the gospel?

Now, I’ll give you just one example. Under behaviors now, I thought of passive men. I think the church today, is plagued by passivity. By men who have gone passive. Passive as fathers. Passive as husbands. Passive in terms of the spiritual development of their family. Passivity. I believe is like a disease, a plague of this generation. What would that behavior look like transformed?

Well, the antithesis of that. This would be somebody who is not passive but who is engaged and active and initiating with the spouse. Initiating, across the spectrum with children. Initiating, in terms of spiritual development. This would be a different behavior. Even in thinking about this, all I could think of is all the years I went back and forth over the Pacific, in Japan and saw an Asian culture where men had just, especially as it relates to anything spiritual or anything related to home, just totally passive. Anything religious is not manly. Religion equals things that women do. That would be an example of behavior. He doesn’t have to illegitimately be seeking vindication from his career, drinking from sewer water, when he could be having vindication that would never run dry.

The third category: beliefs. Most of these guys actually believe that there are no real moral absolutes and that everything is really relative. There’s no real right and wrong. Except, the only absolute is that there are no absolutes. That’s what’s going to be undergirding, a lot of this.

What would it look like if beliefs were transformed? There would be this belief that the scriptures actually give us what Frances Shaeffer used to call, “true truth.” There are rights and wrongs in life and those are not determined by consensus or by cultural vote. We’re not in a closed system, we’re in an open system.

The good news is there’s an infinite personal God and he exists. He has spoken. He has spoken through his Son. He speaks through his word. We can know what’s right and what’s wrong. Our desire would be that that belief that God has actually spoken and that’s how we know what’s right or wrong, would be what this person would believe. See how practical that is?

I want you to think of your ministry focus group. I’ve just given you an example of each of these three. I want you to write:

Behavior now, behavior transformed.
Value now, value transformed.
Belief now, belief transformed.

You need to look at this particular culture and you need to ask these questions.

This is hard work. Normally this cannot be completed alone and you’re just showing your image-bearer nature, meaning your interpersonal by very being. You need to join with others. You need to look at this particular culture and you need to ask these questions. Give it a shot, so you can begin to experience what it’s like to think of your culture and go from the behaviors, to the values, to the beliefs and then we’ll come back later and do worldview.

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