Domains: Beyond Missional Meandering

Bob RobertsLast night, David Fairchild and I spent the evening with Bob Roberts.  He had just returned from Hanoi to speak at a conference here in San Diego.  He laid out a vision for how he believes churches will truly change culture, grabbing a piece of paper and pen he began to draw different diagrams of how this connected.  (These diagrams and the ideas will be included in his next book, so I'll leave that alone.) 

One of the larger parts of our conversation centered on the churches ability to transform society through Christians living their beliefs out in the 'domains' of society.  (Something I blogged similarly about in The Church as Movement – Organizing Decentralization and Transforming Cities – The Church beyond the Spiritual Box).  While most of the Western church is talking about being missional through engaging culture, we should be focused on changing culture.  Non-Western countries have been doing domain engagement for a long time.  Bob shared a story of South Korea and how the gospel radically changed that culture.  In both Ghana and South Korea Christians attempted to do mission through crusades and traditional means at about the same time in history.  This failed miserably in South Korea and so missionaries began to establish schools and health clinics.  Later, these became universities and hospitals.  It was through entering these domains, South Korean society changed.  The long-term difference of the gospel change in the cultures of Ghana and S. Korea are starkly contrasted based on this domain engagement in S. Korea.

Bob believes to truly redeem society Christians must engage these domains.  The primary thrust of this is done through community development.  (Kaleo Church has partnered with churches around the country to begin Re:Novo City Group aimed at this very idea.)  Planting churches is the means, seeing cities changed by the gospel is the goal.  

Read more about Bob Roberts Philosophy & Ideas on Mission, Church Planting & Being the Church

BONUS: Bob Roberts may be the Kevin Bacon of church planters/pastors.  Through him we can connect (within a few steps) to everyone in the world.  Here's a few examples of people he knows: 


Ed Stetzer, Bono, Nguyen Minh Triet (President of Vietnam), Condoleezza Rice (Secretary of State) & Abdullah Abdullah (former Foreign Minister of Afghanistan).  I could have mentioned dignitaries, business men (execs at Disney & Facebook), emerging guys, conservative pastors, church planting network leaders and other church planters.  But this guy is a connector.

I look forward to our continued relationship with Bob and his glocal vision. 

  • Ed Stetzer

    November 9, 2007, 10:28 pm

    Love that… I showed Bob on my Blackberry.

    He told me about some of his other friends, but if I told you more, someone might get killed (so says Bob).


  • D. Goodmanson

    November 10, 2007, 9:17 am

    Stetzer – I had to put you in there too, you’re the hardest working guy on the circuit! I looked at your speaking dates and man you must live out of a bag!

  • Michael Foster

    November 10, 2007, 5:03 pm

    In that picture Mr. Roberts could past as Driscoll’s father.

  • Ed Stetzer

    November 10, 2007, 7:16 pm

    Yeah, well, I am trying to slow that down. I am being gone too much.

  • Bob Roberts

    November 11, 2007, 3:33 am

    Drew I had a blast with you and David – I pray for the day when the majority of the church is having the conversation we were having the other night – what a blast!!!!

    Michael – Mark Driscoll? He’s short, I’m tall. He’s skinny, I’m fat. He’s black headed, I’m brown. I’m sexy – he’s not! What do you mean?

  • Michael Foster

    November 11, 2007, 4:43 am

    I meant pass not past…ahh, the joys of a publik skool education.

  • Michael Foster

    November 12, 2007, 1:56 pm


    I thought you looked “similar” in this

  • mike gunn

    December 13, 2007, 3:51 pm

    I totally agree with BOb re: the best thing we can do to reach our culture is to live as Christians serving and loving the culture and incarnating the gospel to those that are neutral or hostile to it! Good stuff!

  • Jeremy Adelman

    April 24, 2010, 12:44 pm

    I am in the middle of listening to a message by Matt Chandler, “A Change in Perspective”, from his “The Path” series, and he mentions that sociologists believe there are 7 different domains to society. Chandler mentions a variety of domains, including agriculture, science and government. I did some looking to see what the 7 domains are, and discovered a few different lists.

    education, church, family, government, business and technology, the performing arts, and the media from

    and Business, Education, Healthcare, Government, Media, Social Services [including other churches] & Marginalized from

    Both different lists, and neither of which list agriculture or science (from Chandler). I know it is probably less important to focus on what the exact domains are rather than learning how to engage, influence and eventual change those domains for Christ, but I am still curious to know where the discussion of this infamous list of 7 domains began. And what truly are the 7 domains, or 9 domains, or 8, or however many there are.

    As I said, less important to ‘argue’ over the exact domains, but I would find it helpful to know what they actually are, as I work through influencing them well.