Leaders deliberately and strategically engage their communities to bring about the desired transformation and realize the dream.
Don’t miss this short video where Werner Joubert shares on his experience of engaging his sports club community and transform it from the inside.
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Observations and Reflection Questions
Context: Paul skilfully engages the elders of Athens, being brought to the rock of Areopagus (their “court room” outside the city) because he was spreading “strange doctrine” which challenged their culture and faith – something which was punishable by death.
- Note how Paul, an outsider, engages this community. Record the references above where Paul engages the community based on their culture and beliefs.
- How did Paul strive to build a good rapport with this community in the text quoted above?
- Paul quotes two phrases from Athenian poets in his defence of the gospel. Why would that help?
- Athenians believed that the Greeks originated from the gods, but other races came up from the earth. Looking at the text above, how did Paul challenge their belief but engaged their cultural narrative?
Application and prayer
In the video above Werner shared an example in how he used principles from Bill Hybels’ book Walk Across The Room which he and his friends used to engage and transform the culture of their local rugby club (Develop a relationship | Discover the stories | Determine next steps).
Consider one community you are engaged in and wish to see Godly transformation in (i.e. family, work, your kid’s school, church, drama or hockey club, neighbourhood watch…)
- DISCOVER THE STORY: Describe the culture of this community – what is good and what should change? What do they celebrate and what do they value? Where does this legacy come from? Pray and ask God to give you understanding.
- DEVELOP RELATIONSHIP: Think creatively how you can engage that community more deliberately, purposefully. Who would you start to engage?
- DETRMINE NEXT STEPS: Prayerfully decide what is your next logical step in achieving the desired community change. What should you do next? Should you pray with a friend, address the leaders, send a letter or make an announcement, or just start a tradition? What about hosting an event to propagate the desired values?