The Fruit of Transformation
Can Transformation be Measured?
"Where's the beef?" A television commercial some years back coined those familiar words which have now become a challenge to show the fruit of one's efforts. It's a fair question to ask of any business, ministry, government, educational or arts company that strives to be a transformation organization. We chose to deal with this question first, because change at the systems level seems so overwhelming that people often disengage, We believe it is vital to understand that transformation not only can take place at high levels, but is taking place – and all over the world. Once we understand how to spot it and measure it, we won't be afraid to tackle it. Understand this: it is God doing the transforming through us. "It is God who arms [us] with strength and makes [our] way perfect," (Psalm 18:32) and, "it is God who works in [us] to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)
(Note: Our thanks to Ed Silvoso and the Harvest Evangelism team for their work on the last of the Five Pivotal Paradigms – The Elimination of Systemic Poverty as the premier social indicator of transformation. It expanded our view and led us to this broader understanding of measuring transformation in systems).
Of course, the primary fruit of transformation is eternal fruit – the salvation of the nations and the individuals within them. The ultimate goal is to restore everyone and everything "under one head" that being Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:10). How do we measure that this side of the end times? While we can't easily measure spiritual outcomes, we can identify proxy measures. We can measure the worldly effects of separation from God and whether our actions alleviate or eliminate those effects. What are they? They are very clear in Scripture.
It all began with The Fall. Mankind made that fateful decision to break fellowship with God. As a result, we would ever after struggle with relationships with each other, and with the entire world of plants and animals that had been provided for us. The earth which was to sustain us became something we had to contend with for food. Weather disasters, crop failures, predators, climate change and more can easily be traced back to this moment in time. The perfect male/female bonding we had was corrupted into something marked by desire, jealousy, shame and blame. (Genesis 3:14-19)
God gave us a means to set things right and established The Law. Turning back to Him in complete obedience and dependence would result in all the blessings of Deuteronomy 28:1-14. Rebellion and attempts to live apart from Him would result in the curses listed in the following verses, 15-68. These included disastrous financial, physical, and emotional outcomes, as well as breakdown in families and marriages.
We were unable to live within The Law, though, and continued to go our own way. Enter Jesus: God's eternal plan to redeem us from the consequences of sin and to open once again the opportunity to share in the perfect fellowship into which He had created us. The New Testament is filled with proxy measures as Jesus and His disciples after Him describe the positive effects of transformed lives. They include:
The provision of all our daily living needs
Matthew 6:33 in the context of seeking first His Kingdom
Philippians 4:19 in the context of liberally giving to others
Matthew 5:6 in the context of striving after righteousness
The removal of the effects of the curse of sin
Galatians 3:13 in the context of accepting Jesus and His promises by faith
Revelation 22:3 in the context of describing heaven on earth
Reconciliation with God, with others, and with all things
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 in the context of living a life in Christ
Ephesians 2 in the context of being saved by faith in Christ
Colossians 1:20 in the context of transferring from the world to the Kingdom
Miraculous healing, signs and wonders
Matthew 5:17 in the context of putting faith in Jesus
Luke 9:1 in the context of having authority in Christ
Mark 16:17 in the context of believing
1 Corinthians 2:4 in the context of preaching in the power of the Spirit
Putting all these together, we can identify numerous systems-level proxy measures for the presence of Transformation. We can measure progress of our co-laboring with God by a change in those measures. Each transformation organization will be called to work in a different area and so, will choose different measures to track. We suggest a few in several categories to get you started in prayer and discernment for your organization.
Reconciliation between groups, individuals, nations, cultures, etc.
Decrease in divorces, family alienation, child or elder abandonment
Improved international relations
Decreased terrorism, wars, etc.
Decreased ratio between "Haves" and "Have-Nots"
Decrease in poverty level of an area, a culture or of a people group
Increased percentage in giving among individuals, churches, corporations, etc.
Healthy, growing economic indicators for a city, state, region or country
Improvement in birth rates and ability to thrive
Decrease in generalized health problems such as obesity, hypertension, cancer, etc.
Increase in supernatural healing and health
Decrease in mental health problems and diagnoses
Decrease in suicide rates
Deliverance from debilitating ancestral and childhood hurts and trauma
Numbers of people accepting Christ
Numbers of people being baptized in the Holy Spirit
Organizations, governments, etc. proclaiming Christ as Lord
Increase in worship attendance
Decreased acceptance of ungodly entertainment and cultural practices
Decrease in graft, corruption, bribes, etc.
Increased inter-party cooperation
Legislation that dismantles injustice
Presence of God-honoring, Spirit-led professionals in politics and government service
Increased graduation rates
Decreased disparity between access and success of education among people groups
De-politicization of educational systems
Decrease in abhorrent practices such as abortion, slavery, trafficking, child abuse, elder abuse, etc.
Presence of positive role models in the public eye (athletes, entertainers, etc.)
In short, let's measure anything that impacts our progress toward bringing the light of the Kingdom of God into the dark places. To the extent that Jesus, the Light of the World, is admitted into the dark, that is the extent to which transformation can take place. "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." (John 12:46)
Here are two excellent resources that will expand your view of how you and your business or organization can be used in the world:
Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, Amy L. Sherman, InterVarsity Press, 2011
Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor, Robert D. Lupton, Regal, 2007
Sowing the Seed and Reaping the Fruit of Transformation
Now that we can identify the signs of transformation, what do we need to do to bring them about? We refer you back to the Transformation Leadership module in which we introduced this definition and model of leadership:
Transformation leadership, is moving an organization, its people and operations into God's big picture - His plans and purposes in an ever-widening sphere of influence, resulting in perfect alignment with God's eternal purpose.
The task of leadership at the systems level is to engage the systems with which we have some level of influence. Think of it in terms of Exodus 25:13-15 in which God instructs Moses what to do with the Ark of the Covenant, "Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the chest to carry it. The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed." Our job is to position our organizations so that we can bring the Presence of God into places and systems where we have access. To do that, we need to make that Presence portable. It is an ongoing part of what we do, (the poles are not to be removed). In our leadership model, we are constantly engaged in systems change, because we are constantly and intentionally engaging our sphere of influence.
If the previous modules have been about sowing, this one is about reaping. Systems only change when the ground has been properly prepared and the seeds have been sown and carefully tended. Then, when the fields are ready for harvest, it is a matter of sending out the workers to reap the fruit. A lesson on systems theory is beyond the scope of this teaching, but in a nutshell, systems change only when there are three conditions present: dissatisfaction with a dysfunctional system; introduction of a transforming idea; and persistent and patient acceptance and adoption of new behaviors consistent with the idea.
Here's how it takes place. Transformation leaders must be attuned to God's heart and His vision for the systems around them. This should have become clear back in the Spirit-Led Strategic Planning process. We build our organization in such a way as to be an active part of the system, ready to act when the first condition of dissatisfaction becomes critical. Through divine revelation, we hear and share God's solution – the transforming idea – in such a way that it will make an impact. Finally, and this is an ongoing commitment, we give ourselves and our organizations to the adoption of new system behavior. Let's look at each condition and the role of a Transformation Organization within it.
Engaging a Dysfunctional System
The first seven modules of Market 70 have positioned us to be in the right place at the right time with the right tools.
• We have surrounded ourselves with the defensive and offensive weapons of intercession.
• We have cleansed ourselves of anything that would inhibit the love and power and authority of God from flowing through us.
• We have placed ourselves totally in the plans and purposes of the Spirit of God.
• We have built a leadership team that understands how to position ourselves for such a time as this.
• We have trained all of our staff to meet the needs of those within our sphere of influence.
• We have built relationships of trust, sowing blessings into our sphere of influence.
• We have formed an organization that operates at a level of excellence that is visible and industry-changing.
• And we have carefully stewarded God's resources into His hands.
Now it is time for a new level of action.
As Jesus was about to be betrayed – which would set in motion the most massive system change the world has ever seen – He told His disciples, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered. He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. (Luke 22:35-36) And yet, when Peter produced two swords, Jesus dismissed him saying, "That is enough." We believe Jesus was preparing the disciples (and us) to take the battle to the next level – fighting spiritual principalities and powers. These are battles that must be fought with the spiritual weapons of Ephesians 6 and 2 Corinthians 10.
The good news is, you are already engaged in systems change. From the moment you and your organization began praying peace into the "towns and places" Jesus was about to go, you were assaulting the strongholds of the enemy. As people shared their felt needs with you, you became aware of the dissatisfaction of the system and began to identify where the dysfunction is. Now you are ready to introduce the transforming idea.
A Note About Strongholds and Spiritual Warfare
The gear model suggests the existence of systems beyond those we are familiar with or with which we regularly engage. Scripture clearly identifies an entire structure in the spiritual realms that make up a powerful system. Satan operates at that level and his influence is felt throughout our earthly existence. There is no need to be fearful of that system – we have the authority and power to confront and defeat the enemy through the cross of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. However, ignoring the existence of that system is just plain foolish. If we are to have impact on worldly systems we must understand and deal with the spiritual dimensions that have shaped them.
Listen to this definition of a stronghold: "A spiritual stronghold is a mind-set impregnated with hopelessness that causes us to accept as unchangeable, situations that we know are contrary to the will of God." (Ed Silvoso, That None Should Perish) As we talk about the difficulty of systems change, this definition explains a great deal. First of all, systems have a spiritual component. We must look at them with spiritual eyes in addition to our physical senses to understand them. Second, this definition helps us understand why people are so reluctant to tackle system change – they have built up a mind-set that it is impossible.
"That's just the way it is."
"It's always been this way."
"We've tried to change and it just doesn't work."
Third – and this is the good news – if the situations are contrary to the will of God, then God wants to see them changed. "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."
If you don't understand spiritual strongholds or spiritual warfare, educate yourself now. Check with your intercessors who probably have a good foundation in this area. Here are a couple of references that may help you get up to speed.
Possessing the Gates of the Enemy, Cindy Jacobs, 1991, Chosen Books, Grand Rapids, MI
Taking Our Cities for God, John Dawson, 1989, Creation House, Lake Mary FL
That None Should Perish, Ed Silvoso, 1994, Regal, Ventura, CA
Introducing a Transforming Idea
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:19)
"You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? 'From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.' ...This is what the LORD says--your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 'I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.'" (Isaiah 48:6,17)
This is one of the most exciting things about being a Christian! God has promised to share His supernatural knowledge with us. He will give us His solutions to problems. He will teach us things we do not know and cannot know without His direct guidance.
Os Hillman of Marketplace Leaders recounts the history of the development of the peanut as a crop in the Southern U.S. In response to a crumbling economy due to poor agricultural processes, God led George Washington Carver to plant peanuts. At the time, there was no demand for peanuts and Carver asked God to show him how they could be used. God gave Carver 300 marketable ideas for use of the peanut and over 100 for use of the sweet potato. As a result, Southern farmers changed their practices and it made a major effect on the economy.
There are hundreds of documented cases like George Washington Carver, all over the world in which God is supernaturally revealing system-changing ideas to men and women who are willing to work with Him. Ask God and he will give you a transforming idea for the system dissatisfaction you have been engaged in. Believe that He will give you that idea. Work through the assignment below at the end of this module and step into the role God has prepared for you and your organization.
There are examples of this kind of system-transforming revelation happening all over the world today!
Francis Oda, an architect in Hawaii, recounts several instances in his career in which He received Holy Spirit guidance to solve seemingly impossible problems. One of the latest includes an idea that came through his team that revolutionizes affordable housing both here and in third world countries.
Poncho Murgilla, a pastor in Juarez, Mexico is being used by God to substantially change the stranglehold of the drug cartels on his city. It began with a plan to take over and rehabilitate the most notorious prison in the country – a prison that is now referred to as a "seminary" because of the dedicated men and women of God it produces during incarceration.
Facilitating Acceptance and Adoption
Now comes the test of how well you have mastered the Leadership Gear model. Acceptance and adoption of a transforming idea is by no means automatic. In fact, you will find extreme opposition to anything that introduces change into the system. There's a great deal to learn here from systems theory, but suffice it to say that on the whole, people naturally resist change. The most effective way of facilitating acceptance and adoption of change is through your sphere of influence. The greater your sphere of influence, the more likely it is that God's transforming idea will be accepted.
You have built a network of like-minded believers with some. You have created relationships of trust with others. You have successfully met the needs of others so that they will look on this solution with favor. With others, you will need to keep blessing and speaking peace into them as they reject or even persecute you for moving outside of what they see as acceptable within their system.
This step is difficult and takes time and patience. Double your prayer efforts and look only to God for your identity and acceptance.
Again, there are both historic and contemporary examples of this phase of the change process. The account of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem is a case study in facilitating acceptance and adoption of systems change. There are many more being chronicled in the literature today. The Juarez transformation is not complete. Hundreds of people are still dying. Transformation leaders like Pastor Murgilla are under constant threat. Entire governments are seeing significant transformation in places like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Mexico. The presence of transformation is unmistakable and measurable, but the process takes patience and persistence.
So, Now What?
Learning about systems change is not an academic exercise – it is a call to action. By this time, we earnestly pray God has given you a specific transformation goal. Engage! Take action beginning today.
Does the task still seem too big? Do you already feel overwhelmed with building your transformation organization? We can help. Market 70 builds Bridges for Transformation which create and foster long-term partnerships between churches, businesses, schools and individuals in one country with like networks in another country to reclaim cities, nations and organizations for the Kingdom of God.
Market 70 acts as a bridge, teaching and consulting with partners and guiding the relationship toward the stated ends. Networks in each country contribute time, talent and resources in committed relationships for the purpose of marketplace transformation. The partners support and hold each other accountable, while resourcing each other with the wealth inherent in each other's network. Taking the spiritual authority flowing out of such a partnership, each side intercedes and prays for the other. They share training and resources delivered to each side with the other to strengthen their existing networks and expand them.
This is what God has been preparing you for. "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations." (Isa 42:1) Jesus is in you. This is what He said His (and, therefore your) mission is: "to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19).
The reward is beyond measure in light of the peoples, systems, cities and nations that will come into the Kingdom as a result of your obedience. "You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. (Isaiah 58:12)
We challenge you to step boldly into systems change. Work with the Holy Spirit to identify the systems in which there is need for transformation – places that are experiencing dysfunction and dissatisfaction. Prepare the way for the light of Christ to be able to illuminate injustice, poverty, immorality, cultural atrocities, etc. Open yourself and your organization up to receive divine revelation of God's transforming idea for that system. Position yourself to introduce that idea, and to overcome its acceptance and adoption.
God will produce fruit, reaping transformation through your willing and obedient hands.
Reaping Transformation Assignment 1 – Engaging a Dysfunctional System
Revisit the materials you produced from the Strategic Planning, Leadership and Marketing modules.
Pray over records of "felt needs" you and your staff collected. Look for dissatisfaction and dysfunction in the system. This is where you are likely to identify true systems-level problems.
Pray and network with others in the system to expose dysfunction. Even as you build these networks, you are creating a base of like-minded believers who are willing to position themselves for co-laboring with God for transformation. Harvest Evangelism's experience is that a cohesive core of a few, dedicated believers is more important than seeking agreement and unity of everyone who could potentially be included.
Write out the problem as clearly as you can. Take care to identify problems, not solutions at this stage, or you may find yourself squelching Holy Spirit creativity. (See the Practical Considerations section for some guidance).
Reaping Transformation Assignment 2 – Introducing a Transforming Idea
Pull together your intercessory team (and those of the other like-minded people and organizations in your "cohesive core") and set a time to earnestly seek the Lord.
Go once again through all the steps of repentance and cleansing to be sure you are a receptive vessel.
Present the problem statement and pray over it
Reaping Transformation Assignment 3 – Facilitating Introduction and Adoption
This is an ideal time to explore Building Bridges with others - either through Market 70 or through other networks you have in your sphere of influence. True systems change rarely happens alone. Pray about whom God might want you to be walking with in unity.
Ed Silvoso offers an excellent strategy for acceptance and adoption. He suggests five steps. (That None Should Perish, Ed Silvoso, Regal, Ventura, CA)
Establish God's Perimeter. Silvoso describes this as seeking out a "faithful remnant" – a cohesive group of strong, fellow believers who are secure in their devotion to transformation. (We have included these first two steps in assignments 1 and 2, above).
Secure the Perimeter. This entails breaking down every stronghold that sets itself up against the acceptance of the truth of God. The entire remnant must be cleansed and righteous through repentance. Silvoso writes, "God will not release His supernatural resources until we are broken before Him, until we have acted on His word and His word alone. The miracle will not take place until the natural resources are spent." We must be totally reliant on God, trusting in Him alone. Encourage all the participants to go through the Personal and Corporate Purity module.
Expanding God's Perimeter. You will begin finding favor with others when they see your righteousness and your steadfastness. In other places, Silvoso advises building this unity only after you have built cohesiveness.
Infiltrating Satan's Perimeter. This is the step of bringing spiritual warfare to the enemy, as we have seen in Luke 10:1-20. That None Should Perish describes this from a church perspective, but we believe it is equally effective in the marketplace.
Destroying Satan's Perimeter. Once the enemy's influence is broken, it must be replaced with the transformational idea. In marketplace terms, this means nothing less than a system-wide marketing blitz opening the eyes that have been blinded by the system that is now being toppled. (See 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Acts 26:17-18). In spiritual terms, it means releasing the captives with the light of the Kingdom solution.
In addition, stay "prayed-up." Facilitating introduction and adoption of a transforming idea can be draining. You and yours are very likely to come under attack as the enemy tries to distract you from staying the course. It is vital that you and your intercessory team remain vigilant, but also that you remain on the offensive for as long as it takes.
Keep track of all of these assignments, journaling as you go. It will help future participants in your sphere's transformation movement to understand and accept what God is doing.