Let’s Create a “Christward Culture”!
It’s the Ultimate Hope of America.
It’s the Mission of ChristNow.com.
This past week, David French, the bold and thoroughly evangelical social/political commentator and TIME magazine columnist, took a fresh look at crises rising inside the Church in America.
In his essay titled “Character Is Destiny,” I noted especially the words at the end of his opening paragraph, in which he wrote about the Southern Baptists, the largest Protestant denomination in the US:
Their divisions reflect the divisions in the broader Evangelical church. Their culture reflects the culture of the church. And the culture of the church continues to shape the culture of this nation.
Cultures reshaping cultures
Now let’s imagine those three sentences reversed. Let’s imagine that French reports the opposite instead—so that later this summer his column might read:
By reawakening to the greatness and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and by giving him his rightful place in their life together, the Southern Baptists (as the largest Protestant denomination in the US) have set in motion a whole new trajectory for the entire evangelical movement.
In doing so, this radical recalculation has begun to significantly change the overall culture inside much of the Body of Christ. In turn, this is starting to transform the culture—spiritually, morally, socially, politically—of the entire nation.
Increasingly, it appears, everything—inside the Church and therefore in the life of our country as a whole—is moving consistently, more and more, in a Christward direction.
THAT, in fact, is the outcome I’ve held fast to all these years as I’ve called for and taught about and resourced an emerging “nationwide Christ Awakening movement.”
THAT kind of spiritual revolution, fervently focused on the person and reign of God’s dear Son, is really the only true hope America has left to it today—whether such a reformation begins with Baptists or Pentecostals or any other group of believers.
THAT is the vision that has driven me all these years—especially as we founded ChristNow.com. Our whole existence is to empower such a movement to arise and spread.
As if it were already done
Even now, I can clearly envision such a movement unfolding—one that is thoroughly grounded in Scripture, in a biblical Christology, and in the promises of God fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
To be candid with you, as I’ve openly confessed over the decades, in my spirit I can actually “see” this nationwide Christ Awakening movement AS IF it were already here.
Such a mighty, Christ-exalting reshaping of the Church’s culture is as real to me at this very moment as the keyboard on which I’m typing. I believe this certainty is a gift from the Holy Spirit to keep me focused and pressing forward in all my efforts to foster such a phenomenon.
That is why this month, in the face of financial threats to continued existence of ChristNow.com, I’ve been praying daily regarding the future of our ministry using this simple, threefold prayer—lifting it to heaven with all my heart and soul. Others are praying too.
(A prayer for ChristNow to keep on going and growing)
(A prayer for financial underwriting to ensure that we can
complete ChristNow’s mission for the cause of Christ)
(A prayer to uncover every possible opportunity
to take Christ Now’s digital ministry
into every cell of the Body of Christ)
I’m praying this as if our future depends on it—because it does.
But even more importantly, I’m praying this because I believe that to some degree our mission impinges on the future of America. Let me explain.
Christ is destiny
About two-thirds of the way through his analysis, French suggests that the hope for the renewal of the Southern Baptists—or any church fellowship, for that matter—is to recognize that in the end, “character is destiny.” French writes:
And to compound the challenges facing the SBC, it’s in the midst of a long-term membership decline. It’s lost 2.3 million members since 2006, including more than 435,000 last year alone [emphasis added]. Watching the drama unfold, three words come to mind for me: Character is destiny.
I fully agree, except, for the moment, I would substitute “character” with the word “CHRIST.”
Why? Bottom line, for now and for eternity, it is Christ who defines our destiny. He is our only destiny—individually and as the people of God. Who we are, where we’re headed, how we get there, and what we accomplish of any value along the way—ALL of it is encompassed in him.
Therefore, how we respond to Christ, one way or another, determines destiny—not just for unbelievers, but even more so for every believer as well as for the Body of Christ in any specific generation.
Of course, this does relate to character—because what we do with Christ truly shapes the character of a believer or a company of Jesus followers or a whole denomination. In that sense, then, we could say:
Christ is and forms our destiny. Becoming
Christlike in character is part of our destiny.
To say it another way: Both Christ and Christlike character shape the destiny of any nation—including America—in which the Body of Christ resides. As Christians manifest his praise, share his gospel, serve his kingdom, and become more like him, we profoundly shape the culture inside our congregations and then among our fellow citizens.
In desperate need of such a “Christward culture”
At the end of the day, what the Church in America as a whole is in desperate need of—what a God-given Christ Awakening movement promises to unleash within us—is a way of life that we might call a “Christ culture.”
Or maybe better still: “A Christward culture.“
A “Christward culture” is one in which everything we exhibit as believers in worship, preaching, teaching, discipling, ministry to the poor, serving one another with our spiritual gifts, raising a family, by our involvement in the community or the marketplace or the political arena, plus all our efforts in evangelism and missions—everything we do and say as believers—should be measured by one overriding standard:
How well our efforts
move us and others around us
toward the glorious person, the saving power,
and the redeeming reign of the Lord Jesus Christ—
as well as toward new ways of
discovering and entering into
more and more of ALL he is and all he gives.
Like Paul tells us in Colossians 3:
Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God . . . And, whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
You could almost call that approach “fanatical”! That is, we’re becoming fanatically wrapped up in Jesus! Paul is calling us to be “Christward” with all our heart and mind and soul and strength.
This should come as no surprise to his followers, however. After all, such fanaticism will mark the consummation of the age and all ages to come. We read, for example, in Ephesians 1:10: “And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” In other words, the entire creation will forever move “Christward.” Fervency is also our destiny!
This is precisely why ChristNow.com exists.
It is for this mission—to help shape a Christward culture among his people—that God has raised up CHRIST NOW.
By using every tool, every platform, every delivery system available to us in the digital space, our team’s goal is to penetrate every cell in the Body of Christ with fresh vision and passion ignited by the wonders of the greatness and glory of God’s Son today.
In other words, we’re seeking to help nurture a Christward culture in every believer and every church in America—and nothing less.
By the way, the potential for doing so is unlimited—not only for achieving this grand goal but for doing so sooner than later.
Specifically, we’re prepared to accelerate our mission by posting an invitation to join our Christ Awakening movement—to begin exploring with us a Christward culture—on every single Facebook page of an estimated thirty million Christian Facebook followers in America before the end of 2021.
The fact is this: If WE don’t do it, probably no one else will.
That’s because there is simply no other ministry in the digital world that has taken this on as their exclusive calling—none that offers the themes, the varieties, and the impact of all the resources and social media found at ChristNow.com—all given to God’s people everywhere for free.
Pray for us. Our very survival, financially speaking, is at stake this summer.
But please, don’t let your prayers be simply for us to survive. Call upon the Father to cause us to THRIVE—that we might fulfill our destiny in Christ.
This challenge also means that your online donations of any size will make a huge difference this month. So, please pray about that too. You can donate here.
A Christward culture: one biblical snapshot
Let me end by paraphrasing and combining Habakkuk 2:14 with 2 Corinthians 4:6. It’s a snapshot of what a Christward culture could look like if it were prevailing among us right now:
For America shall be covered
with the knowledge of the glory of God
like the waters cover the seas—
when the God who brought light out of darkness
shines into the hearts of his people
in powerful new ways
to saturate us with a vision of what his glory is all about
by reintroducing us to Jesus Christ
as if we were meeting him face-to-face.
Just try to imagine THAT!
To read more of David’s vision for a nationwide Christ Awakening movement in America, read his message to 300 pastors in New York City:
The Hope at Hand:
The Ultimate Answer to All of Our Prayers
Is Drawing Near
Access it here.
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com. Enjoy his regular CHRIST TODAY podcast.
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