In 1975, Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham met for the very first time. It just so happened that God spoke to each of these leaders that very week about the importance of the seven cultural spheres, or mind molders, as Bill Bright called them. "If we are to affect the culture for Jesus Christ, we must affect these seven areas for Christ: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, family, education and religion."
Unfortunately, their efforts did not really produce much change because their attempt was done through the religion mountain instead of the business mountain that affects all of the other six areas. We've lost significant ground in all of these areas since that time.
These leaders raised up young people as missionaries for evangelism, but failed to raise up business leaders or leaders in the other six spheres. I believe another reason for the failure was that the faith@work movement had not yet taken place. It was not until the mid-90s that God's Spirit began to move among men and women in the marketplace to see their work as a ministry and calling, worthy to be embraced as a spiritual calling. Many ministries were birthed in the mid-90s, including my own. Yet, sadly, the combination of all of these ministries probably affects less than 1 percent of those believers in the workplace.
It would not be until the year 2000 that a re-emergence of the seven-mountain message was re-awakened through Lance Wallnau. In 2005-2008, there were international conferences on the seven mountains hosted by Lance and me.
The name "Seven Mountains" became associated with this movement based on Isaiah 2:2-3:
In the last days, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall go and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths."
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
We have also realized that it only takes 3-5 percent of a leadership operating at the top of a cultural mountain to shift the culture's view of an issue. The best case study of this is the gay- rights movement. This group has literally shifted culture's view of their issue from being a moral issue to being a civil issue by infiltrating top positions in entertainment, media and government to embed their people with their worldview.
They began writing scripts for sitcoms and movies to have gay characters seen in a positive light. Over time, they have seen the culture become desensitized to the negative aspect of a destructive lifestyle, and it has now become mainstream. Their latest ploy is to get culture to see them as a discriminated class like the civil rights movement, which has really angered leaders in the civil rights arena. Christians can learn from their strategy.
Since it's 2019, we now need to ask some hard questions about this movement.
What is the next step?
- How can this movement make a difference, which we must admit has had negligible impact so far? True, we have shifted the mindset of many business leaders, and there are some pockets of early adopters who are making a difference.
- How do we identify those who are embracing this strategy and connect them to create a larger leverage point? We want to impact the culture as William Wilberforce did with the Clapham Group in England who achieved 69 world-changing initiatives by working together, not the least of which was the abolishment of slavery.
- What outcomes should we expect if we mobilize God's marketplace leaders around the seven cultural mountains?
- What are the tactics we should employ at this time?
- How do we fund worthy projects that can make a kingdom impact on our culture?
- What would success look like if we were successful?
The answer to those questions will seek to be answer at the 2019 Culture Shapers Summit March 28-31, 2019. Over 45 culture-shaper leaders will be presenting their ideas about what we need to do to be salt and light in the culture that can lead to greater influence. Check the Summit website out here.
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