Engaging beyond the Four Walls

[Published: April 19, 2021]

One of the great contributions that ‘The Seven Mountains of Influence’ has made is that of focusing the church on the task, the task of seeing heaven’s values reflected throughout every aspect of society. Although I do not believe the core values of 7M can be defended, it represents one of the many responses to the understanding that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it’.

[In brief the reasons why I cannot ‘buy’ into the 7M approach is that it is based on sovereignty, that God rules through his power, that we bring about change through rising to the top where we can then enforce ‘righteous’ change. The top 3% of society might well at this time shape the future, for the future is shaped by domination. Money buys position, position brings about change. It runs counter to the revelation of God in Jesus, the one who refused the offer of the ready-made structure of the Roman Empire. It also highlights that the important people are the ones at the top… somewhat counter to ‘God has not chosen many…’ And finally the domination of all of society and of the other mountains is the religious mountain, hence the church has to be at the top of that mountain.]


The ekklesia was not simply a religious club but set aside for the same purpose as the ekklesia of Rome! But ever so different. One was there to make sure that the values and cultures of Rome were present in the city / region; the other had the task of enabling the geography to have some resemblance to heaven. The latter had to resort to prayer… the former when the going was tough could ask for help from headquarters in the form of increased presence of armed forces. The two ‘ekklesias’ could not be more different.

Here are some suggestions with regard to the ekklesia of heaven:

  1. An emphasis that the calling of God is into the whole of life. There is no divide about ‘secular / sacred’. All are ‘missionaries’: commissioned to represent him.
  2. If there are those who focus on ‘church’ they are those that Scripture says live by the Gospel. It does not use the term ‘live by faith’ for those people. We all have to live by faith. This also applies to all, wherever and however they are remunerated.
  3. Character rather than knowledge is the mark of maturity. There should be a fresh emphasis that takes us away from the need to know what is right to being marked by God’s character.
  4. The valuing of people regardless of a ‘position’ they hold. They are not valued if they are nearer the ‘top’ than others. Nearer the ‘top’ people might need more support and also more accountability!
  5. The encouraging of people to pursue their dreams, not simply to be self-satisfying, but to be better equipped in their service of others. If this means they ‘rise’ within a system, the greater the need for them to exhibit kenosis and not power.
  6. Compromise, in the sense of redemptive compromise is understood and embraced.
  7. ‘Inside out’ being a good paradigm for immersion within, even if that place is ‘Babylonish’; with change taking place from the inside out. This being applicable regardless of title or position. Change and influence being primarily relational, from one person to another: ‘what I have I give to you’.
  8. Structural change being also possible, but that there is a priority of people finding who they are (the effect of sin being the blinding of who we truly are) and structural change being primarily in response to accommodating the lives and gifts of those within any organisation or structure.
  9. That the nature of ‘principalities and powers’ is held on to. That at the heart of all structures there is a personality that demands to be served, thus rather than structure being present to release the vision of people, it controls and shapes people to its image.
  10. That terms such as ‘gates’ might well prove to be suitable language to convey the taking of responsibility but not controlling. Taking responsibility for what ‘enters’ and ‘exits’ so that an environment is protected where good fruit can grow.
  11. That no seat is occupied in a way that maintains hierarchy, but is used as a place from which the very seat can be emptied of its power.

In Philippians Paul says that ‘our citizenship is in heaven’, implying that is the place from where we draw our values. All engagement has to align with those values.