Last 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.
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.