This "Transformation Covenant" calls Christians everywhere to unite in effective witness to the whole Gospel. The gospel is concerned with every dimension of life. Nothing less than the full-orbed message of Jesus Christ can provide an adequate remedy. We call Christians all over the world to joyfully and compassionately share that “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1:1b).
Transform World is committed to the transformational mission of God that results in the healing and blessing of the nations so that all may experience the presence, power, and peace of God.
Transform World seeks to serve communities of servant-catalysts in motivating the whole body of Christ to bless the nations. This requires that the body of Christ be mobilized for prayer and collaborative action in order to reach all nations with the good news of the Kingdom of God.
The biblical creation narrative asserts that God is Creator and all God created was good. The purpose of the whole creation was to glorify the Creator. Man and woman were created in the image of God and appointed stewards of God’s creation (Gen. 1-2). Satan succeeded in tempting Adam and Eve to sin, thereby breaking their relationship with God. Satan presented himself as rival to God. As “ruler of the kingdom of the air” Satan instigated rebellion against God (Eph. 2:2), but man and woman are responsible before God for their choices. All of human life and endeavor is marked by this struggle between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God. From Genesis 3 through Revelation 22 the Scriptures give an account of God’s ceaseless efforts to redeem humankind and restore his people to their rightful role as stewards of the earth. God’s final initiative was to send Jesus Christ to deliver this world from Satan’s power and call all peoples to accept God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 26:18-20). The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the victory of God over Satan (Isa. 25:7-8; 1 Cor. 15:54-57). All are called to respond to this message and are accountable for their response (Acts 10:42-43). Jesus’ model prayer, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” is a divine mandate for social transformation as God calls us to love God and our neighbor as the summary of all his commandments. Because of the blood shed at the cross, God’s people have the spiritual authority to confront the principalities and powers of darkness and to proclaim the message of God’s work and reflecting his righteous presence, thus moving together toward transforming the world.
The Scope of the Gospel
As Creator, God is Lord of all, and, therefore, his redemptive concern is comprehensive—seeking to heal and restore "all things" by means of Christ's atoning sacrifice on the cross (Gen. 1:31a; Rom. 8:18-23; Col. 1:19-20). The church’s calling is to witness to the kingdom of God in its fullness (Matt. 4:23; Mark 1:15; Luke 4:18-21). To be faithful to the gospel the ministry of the body of Christ must be holistic - encompassing the whole person - spiritual, physical, and social, and all human relationships - with God, with others, and with the environment (Gen. 1:26-28). Anything less than concern for all spheres of life is to misrepresent the all-encompassing Lordship of Jesus Christ over the world.
The Peoples of the World
The kingdom of God advances as individuals hear and accept the gospel by faith, are born again, experiencing inward regeneration and transformation expressed in obedience to “all I have commanded” (John 3:3, 16; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:21; Rom. 1:16-17). However, God's concern goes beyond the salvation of the individual. God’s redemptive plan encompasses all families, tribes and nations (Gen. 12:1-2; Matt. 28:19-20; Rev. 7:9). As the people of God faithfully witness to the love, truth and power of the Gospel in whatever sphere of life they serve, individuals will be touched and transformed. In this way they become the salt and light that transform society, thus fulfilling the mandate to “disciple all nations” (Matt. 28:19).
As the inspired and authoritative Word of God, the Bible provides a comprehensive worldview, revealing God's truth to all peoples about the nature of ultimate reality, the source of evil, the origin and nature of the physical universe, the meaning and purpose of human life, and the goal of history (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:15-18). Christ's disciples are those whose minds have been renewed by actively putting off false worldviews - distortions of the truth used by Satan to enslave individuals and nations - by being transformed by the Biblical worldview (Matt 22:37; Rom. 1:18-23; 12:2; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Col. 2:6-8; 1 Peter 1:13). The discipling of the nations requires that the disciples of Jesus Christ allow the biblical worldview to enlighten and enliven every area of their lives and carry it into each sphere of society in order to set men and women free (Is. 11:9b; Matt. 28:18-20; John 8:31-32).
Application in Life, Family and Vocation
As Jesus was God in human flesh, so the church - as the body of Christ - is to manifest Jesus Christ in human flesh as it ministers in the midst of this broken world (John 1:14; Rom. 13:14a; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 2:5-8). As the watching world looks upon the church, Christ's love, sacrificial service, and humble obedience should be clearly reflected (Matt. 22:37-40; 25:32-46; James 2:14-19; 1 John 2:3; 3:16-18; 4:19-21; Rev. 19:7-8). As the Godhead is a community, so we believe that God's nature and character are most clearly displayed in the world when kingdom life is incarnated in community as the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13; John 15:12-17).
Implementation through the Body of Christ
The body and bride of Christ - the church - is ordained to be God's primary agent in advancing the kingdom of God (Matt 16:18-19; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:8-11). The present expression of the universal church is the living, worldwide body of redeemed people who have placed their faith in the person and work of Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins, have been adopted as children of God, and have been given God’s Spirit as a pledge of their inheritance and the source of their power to fulfill God’s purposes. The local church is the intentional local expression of the universal church that meets regularly for worship, equipping, fellowship and service, making the gospel credible as the incarnate body of Christ in a particular locale (Eph. 2:14-22; 1 Pet. 2:9-10; 1 Cor. 12:4-13; 12:217-28). At the same time the local church engages in discipling the nations by setting apart for cross-cultural ministry those called by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, 11:19-30, 13:1-3).
The Eschatological Motive
The transformational changes taking place through the kingdom of God on earth should be kept in the perspective of “already - not yet.” Transformation will be completed when God announces “I am making everything new!” from his throne at the return of Christ (Rev. 21:5). In the meantime, we are urged to live transformed lives and look forward to the day of God and speed its coming (2 Pet. 3:11-13). Only then will there be “a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” As the first coming of Christ has motivated his disciples to witness and serve (2 Cor. 5:14) so the second coming of Christ gives urgency to living transformed lives and doing transformational mission (2 Pet. 3:14; 2 Cor. 5:11).
We affirm that creativity and life come from God. Humankind “is created in the image of God” and therefore we humans are creative (Gen. 1: 27). “Skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts” come from God (Ex. 31:3). We acknowledge that the full scope of the arts—including art, sport and entertainment—have transformational potential in the life of a society. Within the church there are various understandings of this potential strength of the arts to transform. The keys to further understanding of the arts need to be revealed, discovered, developed, and shared through collaboration. The arts give cultural understanding to the eternal truths of the gospel and make invisible truths visible. The arts translate the insights contemplated by the philosophers into forms that impact the imagination and emotions of any society, bringing transformation. Motivated by the vision of bringing biblical truth to bear on all areas of life, we must wrestle with the potential of this powerful tool for shaping the values and beliefs of society. Therefore, we covenant together to pursue the light and character of our life-giving Creator God, seeking to glorify God through artistic expressions and activities that create beauty, build community, and clarify identity.
We affirm that Christian transformation is at the core of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our identities, contexts, cultures, and societies are truly to reflect Christ and his kingdom. We also affirm that the pursuit of Christian transformation will certainly face challenges and obstacles that are rooted in culture and context. Religions, worldviews, and systems of belief often have their own visions for the transformation of society, and these visions can run counter to the pursuit of Christian transformation. In order for our pursuit of Christian transformation to be effective and relevant, it is essential that we identify the prevailing beliefs that underline the value structures and practices of our society. Therefore, we covenant to engage with boldness, humility and integrity in a careful analysis of the various components of our societies, identifying the challenges and hindrances to Christian transformation and to develop contextual assessments that assist the church in her pursuit of transformation.
We believe that fervent, focused and united prayer releases the sovereign power of God to transform us into Christ’s image (2 Cor. 3:18) and to manifest Christ’s fullness (Eph. 4:1-6). We believe that extended time in God’s presence results in brokenness, confession and authentic reconciliation (Jas. 5:16). We believe this fullness must be released into families, congregations, cities and nations, resulting in increased holiness, harvest among the unreached, and measurable change in society. Efforts toward sustainable societal change must be centered in seeking God together in community and accountability. We declare and agree to call intergenerational kingdom leaders to regularly seek God in community (Rom. 15:5-7), expecting personal transformation (Eph. 4:22-24), congregational renewal, and social reconciliation and transformation. We covenant to take regular, extended times to wait on God (Ps. 130:5-6), seek his favor (Ps. 27:4) and trust his sufficiency (Lam. 3:21-26), anticipating that he will release prophetic revelation of his plans and means to advance his kingdom in cities and nations.
The church unleashed is God’s primary agent of transformation. God’s mission, reflected in the gospel as a whole and underscored in the Great Commission, is for his people to fully participate in global, holistic transformation, including the arts, the marketplace, education, health, and other developmental issues that are critical for sustainable change and vitality. This transformational process involves a full embrace of the gospel by each local church with its unique makeup and methodology. We boldly and uncompromisingly covenant to be the church rooted in the Word and empowered by the Holy Spirit, becoming the servants - the platform - to the new priests and prophets - that is, professionals, managers, entrepreneurs, artists - the catalysts and bridge-builders for global transformation.
The body of Christ has the value base and heart motivation to seize the opportunity of providing coaching for transformation as a viable, timely, appropriate and biblical methodology to accelerate expansion of God’s kingdom and influence with and through both believers and unbelievers to bring personal and societal transformation. We covenant to advance coaching for transformation, which is the intentional investment in a person that helps them discover Godly values and their God-given purpose, design, and destiny, thereby transforming their perspectives and behaviors and making them effective in releasing God’s influence in their relationships and responsibilities.
God in His sovereign purposes orchestrates and works out everything for His glory, including disasters that devastate communities. But through devastation, pain and suffering, His healing and kingdom transformation can come into many communities that have been closed to Christian witness for generations. At its heart, Crisis Response is the ministry of intercession and reconciliation. Like the Son who left His world to enter into our world to bring healing, comfort, liberty and restoration, we the church, are to go out of our way for our neighbors in their time of need. We therefore covenant to be discerning of God’s "kairos" interventions and bring His love, healing and reconciliation to people in crisis. We covenant also to network for the mobilization of resources to where the needs are in time of crises so that kingdom transformation may come into these communities.
We affirm our need to obey the command of Jesus Christ to disciple the nations for the transformation of individuals and communities. We affirm that biblical discipleship is the foundation of ministry that brings transformation to all facets of life. We covenant to mature as disciples and to disciple all others into the fullness of Christ.
The union between one man and one woman in marriage for life is the first and only institution God established before the fall. Marriage is the most fundamental unit of a family, the church, and a nation (Gen. 1:27-28, 2:21-24). Family is the leading influence in shaping a person, since it will determine an individual’s spiritual, emotional, social, and physical life. A healthy family background fosters greater productivity and personal well-being. The transformation of the family will transform communities, cities and nations. Therefore, we covenant to promote, teach, and demonstrate the wholesome family under God as described in Ephesians 5:22-6:4.
In this diverse world there are many different forms of government. In many governments there are committed Christians who are salt and light in the positions in which they serve. The Christian’s use of power, according to Jesus should always produce a benefit for those who are being served, especially the poor, the fatherless and the widow. We covenant to benefit the people and the State through our allegiance to the King of kings, who establishes and brings down human governments, exercising state and political power in such a way as to enable transformation and redemption among those whom we serve.
We affirm that the abundant life that Jesus brings incorporates all the fullness of physical, spiritual, relational, and mental well-being of God’s shalom. We commit to transformational health ministry in the name of Jesus that heals all forms of brokenness, restoring individuals, families, communities and nations to partnering with God in the celebration and stewardship of life.
Higher Education: Christian
Christian higher education plays a strategic role in the transformation of individuals, the media, institutions, societies and nations. It effects the inculcation of values and contributes to the organization of key social processes in society through the application of Christian worldview. As a continuous, lifelong and creative process, education has an almost unbounded transformational capacity. The fundamental purpose of education is the transforming and equipping of individuals to become Christian servant leaders within their church, communities and around the world (Col. 1:28). The ultimate mission of Christian higher education is to equip people to embrace God’s mission (apostolically), to critically engage culture (prophetically), to bear witness (evangelistically) and to experience transforming knowledge—formatively and didactically (Eph. 4:11-13). This will enable people to achieve a changed life in Jesus Christ and participate in the holistic redemptive and transformative task in church, community and nation. Christian higher education includes two tracks: (1) training for life in society and marketplace; and (2) training for ministry within the church: (a) general Christian education, (b) vocational theological education, and (c) missiological education. We covenant to address this task as participants in the educational process.
Higher Education in the Secular Sector
A Christ-centered, transformational vision for secular colleges and universities is that they will be impacted to become places of blessing. All members of the academic community will have the opportunity to hear the gospel. In that environment, both faculty and students will be won to Christ, nurtured in their faith, and trained in reproductive ministry. Believing students will be equipped to engage their future professions from a kingdom standpoint, while believing faculty and administrators will be encouraged and equipped to eliminate the gap between their professional lives and their personal discipleship. We want to encourage believers to develop a kingdom voice on campus so that the atmosphere of the university will experience transformation, and believing students will leave ready to influence and bless society. Therefore, we covenant, by God’s enabling and grace, to promote transformation on secular university campuses through ministries of personal redemption, professional excellence, and Spirit-led intellectual engagement within the academy.
A transformational leader is a disciple of Jesus Christ who influences people to participate in Godgiven purposes so that kingdom values are manifested in all sectors of society. The transformational leader has integrity, a servant spirit and aligns spiritual values and disciplines with leadership principles. A transformation leader inspires people with a compelling God-given vision that involves them in action that they wouldn’t have done alone. Therefore, we covenant, by the power of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, to seek to follow our Lord Jesus Christ as his obedient servants and to seek to serve his people by cultivating leaders who will seek to transform themselves, their congregations and their communities for his glory.
Christ has purchased people from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev. 5:9). We look forward with anticipation and joy to a time when the body of Christ from every group stands before the throne worshiping God (Rev. 7:9). We accept God’s mandate to fulfill the Great Commission for each people group to finish the unfinished task. In seeking to reach the least-reached, we must be living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1-2, John 12:24) as we allow God to transform our lives and churches at any cost. We covenant together with the Body of Christ to seek, pray for, and serve the leastreached through our communities as we minister incarnationally in wider holistic witness and deeper discipleship.
This is a season for the Marketplace. Business is ministry. Business people are ministers who serve people through what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. Business is a calling and business people are stewards not just of the assets but also the calling of the corporation. The chief end of business is to glorify God and advance his kingdom and we do this through the identification and meeting of needs through goods and services, generally at a profit. The Marketplace can empower people to create new businesses and expand the kingdom through the creation, replication and deployment of businesses to and for the healing of the nations. Business involves reclaiming the essence of work which was lost by Adam and Eve, but redeemed by Jesus. Work is sacred, a pre-fall reality, and doing work God’s way equips us for responsibilities in eternity. Business is a practical way in which creation is reclaimed. Business people carry the “ministry of reconciliation” so that “all things” – not just people – are realigned with God’s principles. The Biblical imperatives for both character and competence must be embraced and lived out in the marketplace. Business people are called to live prophetically in the marketplace. Our commitment is to carry this renewed thinking to any group in our sphere of influence not aligned with these truths – marketplace people and church leaders alike.
God created the earth and all that is in it and mandated humankind to be fruitful and multiply, tilling and tending the land (Gen. 1-3). In doing so, God gave human beings the capacity to generate wealth in order to meet their needs and live in communion with him and with one another. God intended that all people would have opportunity to be productive, fulfilled, and live without want. Contrary to God’s intention, today half of the world’s six billion people live in abject poverty—subsisting on less than $2 per day, unemployment, disease, and illiteracy. They lack access to fair credit and related opportunities. Christian micro-economic development (CMED) is committed to providing financial and other services to the poor that will enable them to create employment and generate income in sustainable ways. CMED is rooted in Biblical principles and motivated by the compassion of the Lord Jesus to equip people to meet their basic needs (Matt. 25:33-40; Luke 4:18). CMED goes beyond conventional micro-economic development (MED) by following a holistic approach that promotes development that brings about economic, social, political, and spiritual transformation. We covenant to equip and strengthen the Church to engage in socio-economic development as a means of extending the Kingdom of God.
Mission is a movement of transformation that is flowing all over the world, and we need to be part of it. We are seeing new evidences of Holy Spirit vitality and innovation. Mission initiatives from many churches, particularly Latin America, Africa and Asia, are engaging least-reached groups within their own nations, as well as going to other parts of the world. Insider movements are emerging in situations that have been resistant to the Gospel. Other urgent challenges include lack of church unity, affluence and consumerism, religious plurality, fundamentalism, and persecution, children and women at risk, and HIV/AIDS. Churches need to discover the meaning and practice of mission in these new contexts. We covenant to engage our churches to urgently obey the Great Commission.
Because…”All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations (Ps. 22:27-28): (1) We believe that God has a redemption plan and prophetic future for every nation; (2) We believe God desires for every nation to be built up in him, fulfilling its God-given potential, and reflecting his nature of justice, mercy and compassion; (3) We believe that nation-building is the privileged role of the church, the primary responsibility of every born-again believer, as God’s salt and light community among the nations. Therefore we commit to: (1) put God first and honor his ambition and agenda in nation-building; (2) depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to holistically build up nations in the way of God; (3) model the scriptural injunction in Matthew 5:13-16, being salt and light in a depraved and darkened world in our respective sphere of influence; (4) network and synergize efforts with likeminded servant leaders called by God to live out the vision of nation-building in every domain of society; (5) be a life-long learning community and document nation-building stories and scenarios to inspire generations to come toward this same noble goal of nation-building.
We recognize that the Lord has entrusted the poor to his church and understands that every believer has been commanded to love and remember them, and provide for their needs both spiritually and physically. Therefore, we covenant to transform mindsets, integrate assets and synchronize initiatives to stabilize urban poor and develop rural communities.
We affirm that the Bible is God’s authoritative revelation given for our salvation that includes individual transformation into the image of God and our collective transformation into the kingdom of God. Therefore we care deeply for those who have little or no access to God’s Word. We affirm the need to equip and mobilize the whole church to revere God’s Word and to love, study, teach and submit to it and to ensure that it is readily accessible to every people group on earth. We covenant to be people of the Word ourselves and do whatever it takes to enable others to encounter the transforming power of God’s Word.
We declare that God is creator and Lord and so everything in heaven and on earth belongs to him; that wealth and honor come from him (I Chron. 29:11-12, Deut. 8:18) and that we are mere stewards. We acknowledge that we are sojourners on earth and believe we have a glorious inheritance in eternity (1 Pet. 1:3-5). As disciples of Christ we are called to live faithfully by God’s stewardship principles in every area of our lives (Luke 16:12). Recognizing that God has entrusted to us time, talent and treasures, we will seek to equip every believer to learn, apply and teach God’s stewardship principles so that they may know Christ more intimately, be free to serve him, bring his presence and glory to our world, and to fulfill the Great Commission.
Witness in Society
Christian witness will have power as it is rooted in practical ministry in Church and society. All believers are called to participate in this task, not just “religious professionals.” This will require believers in every single domain and infrastructure of society to be salt and light. The new frontier is across vocations, not just geographic boundaries and organizations. This is where believers and non-believers interact on a daily basis. There is opportunity, for example, for believers to work with non-governmental organizations in promoting liberty in education, and developing local institutions to meet the basic needs of the community. This calls for a new kind of disciple characterized by personal radical inner transformation. We covenant to be salt and light in every aspect of life, through every avenue of vocation and service available to us individually and corporately, in our communities and on the frontiers where the gospel is yet to be proclaimed.
Women in Transformation Leadership
The biblical account of the creation of woman makes it clear that man and woman were created in the image of God. According to Genesis 2:18 (Amplified Bible) “woman was created to be ‘a help meet’ (suitable, adapted, complementary)” for the man. We seek to provide an overarching call towards intimacy with God and spiritual growth, realizing and utilizing spiritual gifts, service, nurturing relationships, and developing into women of excellence (Prov. 31) in the Body of Christ. This calls for a paradigm shift to transform the hearts and minds of both men and women if we are to see women fulfill their God-given call. According to 1 Corinthians 12, the nine spiritual gifts are given for all believers and are not gender specific. This is a day for the WHOLE BODY of Christ to arise together - every laborer is needed. Therefore, we covenant by God’s enabling power, grace and love to promote transformation of the hearts and minds of both the man and the woman to understand this powerful truth and to equip and empower women to their full potential in God.
Worship is the ultimate expression of our devotion to God. Because worship is rooted in relationship, we are to be rightly related to God as those who worship him in Spirit and truth (John 4). We can observe that the Lord is raising up a generation of worshipers who have the great opportunity to network with each other for encouragement and equipping with a view toward modeling for the emerging generations what it means to be in a vibrant worshiping relationship with God. The transformational impact of this worship relationship will bring worshipers into their God-oriented purpose and destiny (Isa. 6), enabling them to participate in the transformation process of their home, church, community, nation and world. By the grace of God we covenant to be true worshipers to model for the next generation, and to network globally to learn from one another, to serve and encourage each other, and to work together for global events that will usher in the glory of God among the nations.
We crave communities of youth living in an uncompromising relationship with Jesus Christ and igniting a Spiritual Revolution that pierces the darkness. Mentored in relationships, grounded in God’s Word, and empowered by the Holy Spirit we do ordinary things in extraordinary ways to see the Great Commission fulfilled, even in the face of persecution or death. We believe that: (1) every agegroup should be trusted and empowered to evangelize, disciple, lead and fulfill the Great Commission; (2) authentic faith is lived out in genuine community, mobile in structure, networked together, socially relevant and connected intergenerationally; and (3) Christ-like character is expressed in bringing real transformation and raising up leaders, not by size or notoriety.
We believe God is doing something new through the Body of Christ as we go forward into the 21st century. The Holy Spirit is leading us into fresh forms and fields of ministry. The rising generation is seeing the vision of God’s mission to the world and its place in that mission with new eyes. The People of God are permanently in the missionary situation wherever they are. The call to mission has never been more compelling and urgent. Our challenge is to claim all the resources of the Gospel for the task at hand and then to go forth in faith, hope and joy, witnessing to God’s love and compassion for all people.
Note: Many people have contributed to this Transformational Covenant: the planning and coordinating committees, focus groups, and advisors. The drafting was begun in 2004 and completed during Transform World, May 1-5, 2005, Jakarta, Indonesia. The drafting process was facilitated by the Covenant Committee: Wilbert R. Shenk, chair; Remi Lawanson