Have you ever been to a market place in the Middle East? I have. And I love it!
At such places there are people everywhere who want to sell stuff to you. Fancy a new watch or a new cell phone? Compared to prices in Europe, you pay crumbs for these items with “brands” like Nokia and Omega. Of course, most of it is faked. That’s part of the deal. You know what you get. Your new Omega watch may last for three months – if you’re lucky.
Being in the capital cities of Europe is like being at a market place. People are pushing stuff onto you. However, the big difference from a Market Place in Amman and the city of Oslo is what people want to sell you.
In the capital cities of Europe, ideas are for sale!
There are agendas, and they are all over us. Different people want to push their ideas – politics like environmental-friendly thinking, sustainable living, or same sex marriage. It may be the latest trendy clothing brands, or even more seriously, their worldview. You may not be aware of it, but you are a target for someone’s mission.
Remember the early ’90s when you were surprised to see men holding hands?
Where is change taking place? We can divide a society into seven spheres of influence: Politics, Religion, Communication and Media, Celebration and Culture, Family, Education and Business. All of these layers of society have their own ‘missionaries’ that intend to impact you to think, buy and act according to the worldview they advocate.
In the big picture, I believe change of society today really takes place within the sphere of Education and Celebration. New ideas are shaped at our universities, as well as by celebrities. They are doing new things in new ways (It’s a bit like how YWAM is supposed to be!). Remember Madonna kissing Britney Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003? I do. Back then it created major headlines around the western world. Today, I believe a similar incident would hardly the headlines at all. Why? Because the boundaries have been moved. In this case, it was two female celebrities kissing on a public stage.
While new ideas and trends are shaped at the universities and among celebrities, media communicates these to the masses. Down the line our politicians make these new ideas and trends legitimate by voting for them in our parliaments. And the rest of us? We act according to what society deems normal, allowing the world views of the world to impact us, instead of us impacting them.
What am I saying?
The shaping of culture happens in the capital cities. This is the place were new ideas and trends pop up. Firstly, in the underground and at the fringes; next they will be in the mainstream. Revolution never happens in the corridors of power. Have you ever heard of a revolution starting at the top of a pyramid of power? I haven’t. Think of the French Revolution! Or the Russian Revolution! Or the abolition movement against slavery! It started in the fringes – in the capital cities.
What is our calling?
YWAM is called to disciple nations. Change happens in a man’s heart. When enough hearts are transformed, transformation of society happens. Like this, we can impact and influence ideas and eventually the world around us.
From a human perspective, it may look like we as the Church of Christ are losing: It is tempting to believe that we are not able to transform societies. However; in times of unbelief, have we lost our faith in God – what he can do and who he is? I believe God is the X-factor. Throughout the centuries God has invested so much in Europe and I believe He has not yet received a full payback from his investments yet. God wants transformation much more than we do. And he is to be trusted.
What can we do?
What happens in Oslo today happens in the rest of Norway tomorrow. I believe it is time for YWAM to focus on the capital cities. By being involved in our capital cities we can by God’s grace be a part of shaping the things to come. Like this, Europe can turn back to its roots of trusting God and his Word.
This is my motivation for why I am involved in mobilising and training young YWAM pioneers to establish fresh expressions of YWAM ministries in our capital cities. During the last years, we have established teams in Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Reykjavik and Tallinn. These are five out of eight capital cities in our region. (YWAM operates in Riga and Stockholm already.)
Let’s pray for the only capital city without YWAM presence in Northern Europe: Vilnius in Lithuania (http://www.ywamne.org/eyeon2014). Pray that young leaders will rise up to the challenge and take on this ‘giant’ as well. Let’s also pray for the pioneering teams in these five cities and for the existing teams in Riga and Stockholm.
This article was written for YWAM Europes prayer network.