Experience is proving the NGC model works, but will sceptical Christians accept it?
After presenting the NGC model to a large church leadership team and several home groups I was feeling reasonably satisfied that the model was being well received. I was due for a rude awakening.
I had been presenting the model and the strategy that stems from it in a logical developmental sequence culminating in the 12 Reforms. By the time I got there my audience understood why the 12 Reforms were the basis for an evangelism strategy and not a political platform.
A week ago (19/12/18) I ‘pitched’ the NGC model to a small group of Christians from an evangelical church in Warwickshire, U.K. I had decided beforehand to conduct an experiment by introducing the 12 reforms first. I knew it was a risk but I wanted to see what would happen. Several people immediately fell into a typically secular world view (WV) mode and objected to some of the 12 Reforms such as the one concerning tax reform. Then another person, when I got to the 5 core Christian WV principles behind the reforms, claimed that free will was not part of being made in God’s image.
I was not surprised by this response because it has been my experience over several decades that Christians, untutored in a Christian world view, as most are, default to the secular world view, overlaid with either a right or left wing bias. This is a major hurdle facing the future success of the whole NGC enterprise. Christians need convincing they must shift their focus on some key things:
· Accept the Christian world view as the sole basis for their thinking about the times in which we live; putting aside conditioned secular left-right suppositions. I discuss this in my books and reduce the CWV for clarity of focus to 5 core principles.
· See the 12 Reforms as a transformational response to our times that counter-culturally sets a local NG church apart in its community. That community, now confronted with a church standing boldly in the public square, will want to ask questions which the church’s evangelists can leverage off to take an enquirer to the 5 core Christian principles behind the reforms, before pivoting to the gospel.
· Recognise the NGC model re-aligns a NG church with God against the things he hates (c.f. Prov 6 and Is 59), bringing the weight of biblical truth against the two anti-Christian ‘giants’ of liberal atheism and global (materialist) corporatism. It does so ‘prophetically’ by pointing to what is wrong in western societies and how those things can be put right. This is the process God used through his prophets – point to the things that anger God and then clearly say how they can be put right. The 12 Reforms address what is wrong both practically and spiritually with western societies.
· See that the NGC strategy is not dedicated to the actual implementation of the 12 Reforms because the Church’s primary role is individual spiritual transformation. But, because we must love our neighbour we want what is best for people too. The 12 reforms are underpinned by the Christian world view and their adoption, were it to occur, would take a western society back to its Judeo-Christian origins and destroy the forces allied against Christianity. Those forces; the two giants of liberalism and corporatism have to be pushed to the margins of cultural relevance if western societies are to survive and the Church is to grow in strength and purpose. Here is a lot at stake. Western societies have already become post-Christian and now they are fast becoming post-western. Once that happens the West will have returned to a perverse and venal paganism.
I now know that I have to present the entire context for the 12 Reforms as a tool for evangelism and church growth, not politics, before I expose people to them. I’ve done this in past presentations and met far less resistance. I’ve got a prominent church couple lined up now to test this on. They are very focused on evangelism and maintain, rightly so, that people come to faith on hearing the gospel. I explained to them last night that the NGC strategy is to get far more people aware of the church in their midst because it is advocating a transformational agenda for a better society based on the times in which we live. Then their job on the streets, in their communities and in their workplaces becomes easier because people will come up to them curious about this agenda. They can leverage off this to the 5 core principles and from there to the gospel.
I did this with a guy the other night. He got into current affairs in Britian, so I added my views to the mix, insisting major changes were necessary. This prompted him to ask what I would do. I said 12 major reforms were necessary to bring in real change and went through 5 of them. He found it a bit of an eye opener and said it amounted to a revolution. I agreed and then pivoted to the 5 core CWV principles pointing out that the Christian WV lay behind them. From there I got into the role of the Church re the culture and was about to transition to the gospel but had to draw it to a close because his mother (we take her to church on Sunday evenings) was tired and it was midnight. Next time I see him I will hopefully be able to take up where I left off.
Three days later I was at it again. Assisted by the ‘prominent church couple’ mentioned above we shared our testimonies with another chap. So hopefully he will eventually come to faith. The conversation grew out of a discussion around the 12 reforms. Experience is proving the NGC model is a powerful evangelistic tool for the times in which we live because it pivots off people’s real concerns about what is happening around them. By showing the Church has a viable set of transformations offering a clear path away from the problems they see is besetting their society they are primed to take Christianity and the gospel seriously. They can see its relevance after decades of being told the Church and the Bible have nothing to offer.