How You Can Shift Culture for the Kingdom
What does it look like for you to walk into a room and instantly change the culture of that room?
Why would someone want to even do that? “For selfish reasons” is what comes to my mind first. People like to walk into a room and change the culture to be their own self declared realm of influence.
But what if you walked into a room and shifted the culture to be someone else’s realm of influence? What would that look like?
Matthew 21:12-13And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
Our walk as Christians can be simply defined is fighting back the chaos of the enemy to reclaim people, space and time for the Kingdom of God. Like Jesus, we are given eyes to see, and a heart of discernment to tell when a table needs to be flipped. This sounds like a huge task, and it is, but it can be very simply done, just by viewing every opportunity around us as an opportunity to identify a violation toward the Lord and reclaim it for him.
What does this look like?
It could look huge, like someone with a lot of power and authority dramatically flipping tables to rearrange an entire company, organization or community to glorify God.
But it could also look very subtle, something anyone could do whether they’re a leader or not. All it takes is one topic change, one suggestion, the quiet presence of someone who has a rooted identity in Christ, to start shifting culture and turning heads toward the Lord.
I experienced this once, except I wasn’t the culture shifter in this story. I was with a group of christian adults between the ages 20-30, who should have been more mature than this, but our deep conversation about scars from old relationships, turned into a middle school story swap of first kiss tales. It started out innocent enough, someone had a funny story they didn’t mind telling. But before you knew it, everyone was going around asking everyone for their first kiss story… I was caught up in listening to these interesting stories, completely unaware of the 4 people on the other side of the room who were highly uncomfortable with this topic of conversation.
One of them finally said, “Okay guys, let’s change the topic!” And she instantly steered the conversation away from relationships.
I remember looking at her, highly irritated with what she just did, realizing I was irritated, and mad at myself for having that reaction.
It’s a situation I think often about, because I was actually the leader of this event, and I did nothing to stop this line of conversation that could have easily gone awry. I was blind to its potential because I was caught up in the fun, and in doing so was making other people feel violated.
This girl had the eyes to see, and the guts to put an end to it. Our conversation that night went on to much deeper, eternal and wholesome things which left everyone filled up at the end of the night, time well spent. But it wouldn’t have gone that way if this girl didn’t stand up and say something. She identified an area of chaos, a violation, a dangerous path being taken, and decided to reclaim it for the Kingdom, whether people got mad at her or not.
It can be really hard being that person who isn’t afraid to say something, who stands up for what she believes in, who might be the buzz-kill or the debby-downer… in my particular story, no one was mad at this girl but me. Everyone else realized the error of the conversation and quickly agreed to vere it in another direction, so hopefully if you are among believers this could happen when you decide to shift culture too. They might see you flip a table, and suddenly realize they are in the temple and that needed to happen.
But every now and then you might run into a room full of people like me, who are irritated at the changed course, who liked the self-indulgent path they were going down and want it to be uninterrupted. People who fight back when their table gets flipped. Then you’ll have to ask yourself, “What’s more worth it: everyone liking me for the next 10 minutes, or reclaiming territory for the Kingdom of God?” I think we can all agree option 2 is the right one whether we like it or not.
I’m deeply repentant of my behavior that night, even though I kept it inside and didn’t tell anyone my annoyances, I will always know that in that moment I would have rather made people feel violated for my own fun, than to stop it. That was an experience I needed to have, a moment in which the Lord taught me, “You might not go out drinking and partying, but that doesn’t make you a good person. You still sin and you still need me to redirect your steps. You still need me to lean on and you still need to listen.” Dang. Not an easy lesson to learn but I’m thankful God was so gentle with this teaching opportunity.
Don’t be passive, don’t be an instigator of violations against the Lord or other people, don’t value the fun of that moment over the will of your King.
Be a culture shifter. Be a world changer.
Naomi is the one who taught me this during our podcast together this week, you guys should give it a listen! We talk about things like: her transformative experiences in foreign countries, encountering the goodness of God, discovering ways to be on mission in the ordinary and changing the world through shifting culture.