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?

Values.
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.

Beliefs.
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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Registration closes November 15

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Video 2: Gospel + Church + Culture

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

The Bible tells us about a group of men in ancient Israel who knew what Israel should do because “they understood their times.”

“The men of Issachar understood the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” 1 Chronicles 12:32

The problem we face today is that most church leaders are trained to study God’s Word but they are not trained to study God’s world. Church leaders must be not only a wise interpreters of God’s Word but also a wise interpreters of God’s world, particularly as it is uniquely manifested in the culture that their church is serving.

Do you understand the times?

In this 5-part series you’ll be equipped to:

      • Explain the value of having a Philosophy of Ministry
      • Describe the key components in contextualizing
      • Illustrate common dangers in neglecting a Philosophy of Ministry
      • Define the four levels of cultural transformation
      • Understand how behaviors and worldviews relate to each other

This brief video (7:37) will help you understand the importance of not only being a wise interpreter of God’s word, but also a wise interpreter of God’s world.

Preview New Course: Philosophy of Ministry

Registration closes November 15

We help underserved church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.

 

 

Video Transcript – slightly edited

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

Philosophy of Ministry is a unique set of integrated ministry purposes, values, styles, and strategies embraced and used in gospel ministry by a particular church in its culture.

You must become a lifelong in-depth student of all three, meaning culture, church, and gospel, if you’re to be effective in church planting. You must be not only a wise interpreter of God’s word but also a wise interpreter of God’s world, particularly as it is uniquely manifested in the culture that your church is serving. Most church leaders are trained to study the word well, but they are rarely trained to study culture well.

In 1 Chronicles, chapter 12, some of you do remember, the men of Issachar, they understood the times and they knew what Israel should do. As a church planter, do you understand the times? Therefore, as the New Israel and a manifestation of that in a church, in light of your understanding of the times, do you know what to do?

Think of why most of the letters, the Pauline Letters of the New Testament, were even written. One of the primary reasons that almost all these letters were written was because as the gospel advanced, it faced different cultural context. It faced different traditions, different beliefs, different ways of doing things.

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The Apostle Paul contextualized; you must continue to contextualize.

The Apostle Paul would write a letter to say that we should not be thinking through culture and then responding to it. Can you imagine the Apostle Paul taking that posture when the church’s report back, like the church at Colossae reported back, what most believed was a form of, kind of a weird syncretism between Judaism and Neo-Gnosticism, where they were talking about supernatural beings and different dimensions of spirituality and that was in the culture. What do we believe about angels and things? Can you believe if Paul the Apostle, didn’t seek to understand or respond to those things? It’s why he wrote Colossians.

You’re in a position that just is continuing. As the gospel advances, questions are being raised. Different cultures are being confronted and certain things in them need to be affirmed and those things that are not godly need to be denied and need to challenged. You cannot not contextualize. It’s not possible. If you are not contextualizing, that means that’s how you’re contextualizing. You’re contextualizing poorly.

Christianity cannot exist without culture.

Usually underneath that is this concept that Christianity can somehow exist without culture. It’s not possible. Then you actually just think of the doctrine of the incarnation. Why didn’t Jesus come as an a-cultural human? He came as a very unique cultural person. Most of us don’t realize God is on the side of culture. Culture will transcend eternity. The actual formula, as kind of strange as that may sound, the actual formula is an understanding of the gospel, plus the centrality of the church, plus an understanding and an exegesis of the culture and the ability to integrate these three. Normally, it’s not so formulaic that you can guarantee it, but normally, God shows up. Normally when you see these three components at work, lives start being changed. Cultures start being changed.

In retrospect, as people have studied this, it’s fascinating when people really know the gospel and they have the centrality of the church and they understand the culture and they understand the cultural stances and things we’ll be getting to, there’s a convergence there. It almost always relates and changed lives and changed cities or changed towns or changed villages.

One of the most common sources of conflict in church planting is regarding philosophy of ministry issues.

One of the most common sources of conflict in church planting is regarding philosophy of ministry issues, a unique style of worship, a particular leadership style. You could put anything. An evangelistic style, a preaching style can be the source of significant church conflict that can greatly damage and even kill a young church.

Because philosophy of ministry is one of, if not the top, issues in conflict, we dare not at least touch on this is a common mistake. Here’s the concept. There are four essential criteria that we teach that should be the criteria of your emerging church leaders:

Number 1, True spirituality. That’s 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, characteristics of an elder.
Number 2, Sound theology.
Number 3, Proven track record of effective ministry.
Number 4, Essential agreement, not exact, on philosophy of ministry.

This should scare you. You go into a situation and, as a result of this course, you have an amazing philosophy of ministry statement, and there’s this core group that hears you’ve had this training. They bring you in and they say, “Tell us about our philosophy of ministry.” They look at it and they go, “Wow. This is great. We love it, and you’re hired.” Everybody’s excited until several months in when real ministry starts happening that their real philosophy of ministry began to surface as decisions would arise on what these different areas of ministry were actually going to look like.

Then what happens is all of a sudden the church planter realizes he has significant philosophy of ministry issues in critical areas, like worship, outreach, leadership. These people in the core group with whom he has these differences are in positions of authority already in the core group for making decisions. His chances of survival are very low. What actually happens normally is that it becomes really clear. It’s not a problem with spirituality, not a problem with beliefs, not a problem with ministry gifts. All of a sudden, it becomes very clear. “I didn’t have this in mind for what worship would look like. I just assumed you wanted a Sunday evening worship.”

All of a sudden, you see something like that where the church planter is just going, “We don’t have a real fit here, do we?” The church planter has just seen that this person doesn’t fit the fourth of the four criteria.

Sign Up for the Philosophy of Ministry Course!

Registration closes November 15

We help underserved church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.