How do you Impact Culture?

Impacting Culture for Christ…what exactly does that mean?

Let’s start one word at a time. First, IMPACT. Impact is a pretty powerful word. Sometimes, we think that in order to impact culture we have to take it over.  It may elude to imagery such as all the Christians owning all of the television stations in America, or a swift force led by bibles and fanfare, causing drug lords to give up their deals and begin attending church. On the other hand, we may also see incredible, God-fearing individuals such as Mother Theresa or Pope John Paul II doing extraordinary acts of mercy and saying the most eloquent things.

So, how does one get their ideas and words of wisdom printed on bumper stickers, written about in books, and filmed for the big screen? Perhaps, we should take a lesson from one of the biggest cultural icons of the 20th century, Mother Teresa. She once said,  “It takes humility to recognize the greatness of God shining through us…Great humility arises when we recognize that it is God’s kindness and His greatness that shows through our hands, our work, and our love because that is the simple truth. Jesus is the Truth that must be shared.”

The word impact may sound daunting at first, but it is not a head on force. It is gradual change that may take years or centuries to accomplish. It doesn’t start on a massive scale, but within your own circle of friends, family, co-workers, professors, and even the person you meet in the grocery store line. Impacting culture is a mutual relationship where the giver and receiver are sharing something of value.  Take for example, Jesus, who made quite a bit of a stir in the history of humanity. Rather than raising the dead to life in his youth and distancing himself from the community as someone special, Jesus instead went about a normal life.  He met friends for dinner, worshiped in the temple, built quality furniture for customers, fished for dinner, hiked in hills, and shopped at the market place.  If you notice from Scripture, Jesus enjoyed parties and people loved to invite him to their homes, weddings, and other gatherings.

Thus, CULTURE starts right in our own homes and families. When we impact culture, we are  sharing our gifts, our minds, our love, our kind words, our laughter, our jokes with others around us. Until relationships are built, we have not created the environment for our ideas to germinate and take root. Trust and genuineness  are probably among the most important tools one should carry with them at all times AND keep sharpened.  Until we have built up relationships that matter, no one will listen to what we have to say or express interest in what we have created. People have to accept us before they will accept what we have to offer.

Culture is complex, full of various spheres, created by people over thousands and thousands of years. As Jesus’ example so clearly taught us, the most lasting impact on culture does not happen overnight. He lived life normally for thirty years and then for  three years finally worked miracles.  We can’t expect to do anything different. The grand ideas come later, but first we must ask, what impact are we making right now in our classrooms, homes, cubicles, gyms, military bases and other places where we gather and communicate with one another?

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