This is an article from the May-June 2015 issue: Transform World

Transform World 2020

A Defining Moment for the Church

Transform World 2020

We are at a kairos moment in world history. As we gaze across the world’s horizon, several issues urgently beckon the church to respond and engage.

Nations are in an uproar, religious kingdoms are shaking, social order is declining, the poor continue to face abject poverty and injustice, and the marginalized—the orphans—are uncared for and unloved. These are some of the many serious challenges facing the church today. It appears as if Haggai is describing our world when he records that God is shaking everyone (Hag. 2:6). It’s therefore necessary to discern, understand and recognize what God is doing, acknowledging that only what he has established will be left standing for his purpose and glory. When a sense of divine appointment captures a Christian minority, the time is right to invite committed servants of God to a catalytic event that will work to bring about transformation in that community, city, nation, region or world. In the New Testament, the word kairos is used in Mar. 1:15, 2 Cor. 6:2, 1 Pet. 5:6 and Rom. 13:11 to signal what Djohan Handoyo says, “We are in an appointed time, a critical ‘set time’ for an inspired move of God.”

The Challenges of Transform World 2020

The mission of Transform World 2020 urgently calls the church to consider the critical challenges of our time. We trust that God’s people all over the world will respond to each challenge through informed, cohesive, prayerful action leading to a godly, Spirit-led movement in the spheres of cultural influence in which they operate and the geographic areas in which they live and move and have their being. Think of our response as looking at Transform World Vision 2020 through quadrifocal glasses that help focus with better clarity on four different areas through four different lenses.

We are asking God to guide, and you to join us, in discovering his response to seven challenges of our day through seven spheres or domains of cultural influence in ten geographic regions of the world through three generations. The seven spheres are the arts (including entertainment and sports), business, church, media, education, family and government. The three generations are the Gen Y or Millennial Generation, about ages 15 to 38; the 4/14 Window, ages 4 to 14; and the older generations (Gen X and beyond). The ten geographic regions and related nations can be found in Appendix H of the Transform World 2020 Handbook.

As we consider these numbers, we recognize our call as members of the Body of Christ to unity in our diversity as John Yates from Perth, Australia has reminded us in an email exchange. John wrote: “In Christ, God has uniquely revealed himself as a Triune life—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The distinctiveness of the three divine persons in their diversity is enfolded in the harmony of infinite mutual love (Rom. 15:30; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 3:19; 1 Joh. 4:8)... My plea would be that we all work together under the Lordship of Christ and accept that mountains, domains, spheres, or whatever we may call them and their number, are adiaphora (nonessentials in relation to salvation). From this premise Christ can bless a united church. Experience teaches me that this is the only way ‘to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Eph. 4:6).”

Mission as Transformation

An effort to define a comprehensive approach to transformation must be “rooted in the theology of the mission of the kingdom of God and seek to express the Lordship of Jesus over every aspect of life: economic, religious, personal and political. It does not give priority to any area of life as an area for mission . . . but this change will be effected whenever people address issues of life directly, rooted in a gospel perspective.”[1]

Transformation is a concept rooted in the New Covenant (see Joh. 4:14, Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 3:18, 5:17, and I Joh. 3:9). The term itself derives from the Greek word metamorphoo which means ‘to change from one degree of glory to another, with ever increasing glory.’ It is the spiritual equivalent of a caterpillar being metamorphosed into a butterfly.

As the head of the church, Christ initiates and his body—the church—responds as one body.

The basic idea behind “transformation coordination” is that not only can we do more together than we can separately, but we move to a new ministry realm that operates on entirely new laws of input and output.

Like the gushing forth of waters, the love of God, through the people of God, unleashes multiple mission initiatives in which divine resources are channeled through willing servants to meet human needs to the glory of God.

Transformation is the progressive and ongoing measurable supernatural impact of the presence and power of God working in, through and apart from the church on human society and structures. In the church, this is characterized by increased holiness of life, reconciliation in relationships, and appetite for prayer and worship. In the culture, this may be characterized by pervasive awareness of the reality of God, a radical correction of social ills, a commensurate decrease in crime rates, supernatural blessing on local disenfranchised and regenerative acts of restoring the productivity of the land.

To this end, a catalytic core of saints typically embraces a lifestyle of persistent repentance, humility, and sacrificial servanthood that attracts the favor and presence of God, and breaks the predominating influences of the ruling power structures of human flesh and negative spiritual forces.

Transformation involves seeking positive change in the whole of human life materially, socially and spiritually, by recovering our true identity as human beings created in the image of God and discovering our true vocation as productive stewards, faithfully caring for our world and people.[2]

According to the biblical view of human life transformation is the change from a condition of human existence contrary to God’s purposes to one in which people are able to enjoy fullness of life in harmony with God (Joh. 10:10, Col. 3:8-15, Eph. 4:13).

As Duane Litfin has observed, Christ’s church has often found it difficult to find and maintain a proper biblical balance between word and deed.[3]  At times the pendulum has swung toward words at the expense of deeds as the church has lost touch with its social conscience. At other times our concern for justice and mercy has led to a benign neglect of our verbal witness. But both of these extremes must be avoided. According to the Bible, the proclaimed gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). This verbal witness is indispensable and nothing can replace it. On the other hand, our deeds constitute the crucial framework within which that verbal witness is heard. Our deeds have the power to “adorn” (Tit. 2:10) that gospel or bring it into disrepute. As the Apostle John put it, “let us not love merely in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 Joh. 3:18). In Transform World 2020 we are committed to a biblically-based mission of transformation the Jesus Way, by word and deed.

Transformation is a reference to two points of time in a city’s history: where the city is now and where it once was. For a growing number of cities, the language that best describes the degree of societal change occurring between those two historic points is transformation. Deep and profound change is possible in human beings and is equally possible for the social organisms that we call cities and communities.[4]

A comprehensive movement to bless the nations includes many emphases. Transformational leadership engages a new generation in participatory leadership with current leadership.

A transformed world is a place where the power, the presence, and the peace of God are experienced by all. The power of God is unleashed. The peace of God rules. Shalom-Salaam is embraced. The presence of God fills the earth.  

[1] Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden, eds., “Introduction,” Mission as Transformation, (Regnum, 1999)

[2] Ibid

[3] Word versus Deed: Resetting the Scales to a Biblical Balance (Crossway, 2012)

[4] Jack Dennison

Principles of Mission as Transformation

Building the process to achieve the vision for transformation in response to the challenges before us.

Relational Priority

Fueling momentum for ministry through loving relationships. Reconciling, forming, and developing relationships of mutual love, respect, and trust enables leaders to work together for the common good of
their communities.

Spiritual Vitality

Laying a firm foundation for vibrant ministry through corporate spiritual growth. Experiencing the holiness of God with other leaders results in repentance, humility and a deeper life commitment to Christ and his mission in the world.

Compelling Vision

Aligning all transformational efforts by maintaining vision for the completed task. Ongoing clear, compelling and comprehensive vision casting involving everyone in the project brings about shared vision, values and strategy, a common language and goals, urgency to act, and a bonded team.

Thorough Research

Increasing understanding of the current realities of one’s community. If the church wants to be relevant and effective in the community, it needs good information that describes the community’s people and needs, condition of the church, and the spiritual forces which influence current reality.

Empowering Leadership

Identifying leaders and initiating a workable process for community transformation. Empowerment thrives from growing a base of committed leaders and removing barriers which keep them from doing a good job.

Effective leaders shepherd people and help put together structures and strategies to carry out God’s vision. Strategy results from the prayerful planning of leaders who recognize the activity of God in the community and make the large-scale adjustments needed to join him in that activity.

Intentional Learning

Maintaining a fresh commitment to the necessary individual and corporate-wide learning, developing needed skills and training in effective ministry models.

Loving Service

Enacting Spirit-led high-leverage opportunities to minister to the community. Building bridges through acts of service and kindness establishes relationships of trust and credibility with the community. People open their lives to those who genuinely care about personal and community needs and more often will open their hearts to the One who empowers loving service.

The Beginnings of the Transform World Movement

The term “transform world” was chosen by Iman Santoso and Djohan Handoyo for the first global transform world event called Transform World Indonesia 2005. On May 5, 2005 the launch of the Transform World Connections took place at the main stadium in Jakarta at a prayer rally with simultaneous link to 54 satellite locations hosting prayer for transformation events throughout Indonesia. The term Transform World Connections (TWC) was used to describe the mission of connecting people and nations who shared the vision of mission as transformation as well as describe the TWC office which has functioned ever since then in Singapore. Djohan Handoyo serves as chairman and Harun Lie as General Secretary of TWC. Board members are from Singapore and Indonesia. A seven-year initiative in response to seven global challenges called Transform World 2020 launched at the Transform World Global Summit (TW GS 2012), November 6 to 10, 2012 in Bali, Indonesia.

Transform World was born out of a prayer movement and in pursuit of the question: “What is God saying to his servants around the world?” Iman Santoso was leading a movement of prayer in Indonesia which began toward the end of the 1990’s.

The World Inquiry was a “venture in the listening mode” to hear God’s voice through His servants—especially those who are now emerging onto their local, regional and national scenes in the Majority World. The Inquiry became a movement, engaging many local national servants of God around the globe from more than 700 cities.


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