As promised, we are beginning a series that explores each part of the IMPACT acrostic. Each post is designed to expand the meaning and usefulness of the actions indicated in the acrostic. It is important to remember that the IMPACT Blog gets its name from a keyword in our FBC mission statement, so as we explore the larger meaning behind our name, we are also exploring foundational goals and values of FBC Hartselle.
Influence the culture
Make disciples who make disciples
Permeate the community
Act according to the leading of the Holy Spirit
Create awareness in the community
Transform individuals, families, and our neighborhoods
So, what does “Influence the culture” mean to you and me? By definition, “influence” means the capacity to affect the character, development, or behavior of someone or something. At FBC Hartselle, we recognize the tremendous capacity that we have to influence our community and culture in ways other organizations may not. Some of those opportunities include infusing Biblical perspectives on current issues like:
the value of human life
the Biblical definition of marriage
the importance of family
the important role of education
the importance of citizenship
Each of us as Christians have daily opportunities to influence our culture. As believers who love and seek to emulate our saviour, Jesus, it makes sense that we should seek to live as Jesus lived and do as Jesus did. Jesus clearly laid out for us the basic way that we should operate in the world; He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22: 37-39).
When we love God and nurture our relationship with Him, people we encounter will sense a hint of His presence. Over time, our actions, and our demeanor will build trust and present opportunities to influence others to become attracted to God. This personal relationship is most influential (or impactful), however, when it is shared.
God has placed each of us into our particular place in life for a reason. The people who live near you or the people you work with or that you go to school with or the people in your family are not there coincidentally. He’s put you there to serve His purposes by being a positive, Godly influence in the lives of your neighbors.
Consider these practical ways that you can live this out:
Commit time every day to be alone with God in prayer and His Word.
Ask God to direct your paths and lead you to people who He’s already prepared for you to influence.
Walk around in your neighborhood and pray for the people in each house as you pass by.
Take time to stop and invest in a conversation with a neighbor. Discover that person’s struggles and challenges.
If someone asks you to pray for them, don’t wait until later; pray with them on the spot.
Listen carefully for an indication of openness to hearing the gospel.
In a recent copy of Christianity Today, one of the writers posed the following questions: “What if we challenged ourselves to shift our focus from self-improvement to nurturing our community? What if each day we woke up with this challenge running in our veins, motivating us to make a positive impact right in our own homes, neighborhoods, and communities?” Although it makes sense that we should not abandon our own personal efforts to grow closer to God, we must recognize the influence that each of us can have on our culture is immeasurable. Influence people and make an impact today.