Some of us may wonder, “What kind of influence can I have for God if I’m not working in the Church?

 

And the answer is, “quite a significant one.

 

B4T and the Great Command

B4T is a unique approach to spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth, as the Lord Jesus commands us to do in Matthew 28:18-20 (the Great Commission). He says, 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (28:19-20a).

 

Ultimately, this is what we’re doing as disciples & followers of Jesus, but this command is also centric to the B4T movement.

 

When we consider the above question of “what kind of influence can I have?”, we can see that people often feel like their influence is limited to what they can accomplish from the church platform. This is a deceitful error in our theology! Our influence was never meant to be limited to a building, which is why B4T has been so powerful. 

 

While B4T technically takes place within the four walls of a business, it also works to transform communities by the power of the Spirit. This Spirit-empowered influence is not something that is contained to the four walls of anything, it was always meant to be a torch carried with you wherever you went.

 

Referring to Matthew 28:19, “go and make disciples”, I consider this verse in light of one way I heard it taught or explained. It was taught that this verse implies a constant “going” and a constant “making”; something that defines this command in this way, “as you’re going about your daily life, be making disciples”.

 

This is liberating! We aren’t limited to loving people or making disciples by only getting them into a church building – we can do that from wherever we are, whenever we are there. This is the power of a B4T (or BAM) system! In creating a B4T platform, we have the means to reach a community without the light of the Gospel and make a genuine impact in the region for God. PS, I’m not thinking foreign only, there are plenty of communities in the US without that light.

 

While B4T again takes place primarily within the walls of an organization, the heart of it, which is the Great Commission, can be taken anywhere you go; and, as you go, you are equipped & able to be making disciples and loving people for the sake of the Gospel. That’s one thing that is channeled through B4T – a love for people and the spreading of the Gospel, with or without words.

 

My Sphere of Influence

When it comes to who & how you can influence, all you must do is look around. We are each uniquely surrounded by people that no one else sees every single day. Pastor Nate Ruch at Emmanuel Christian Center in Spring Lake Park, MN, explained it once this way,

Look at your hands. Now imagine the faces of the people you see every day in the palms of your hands. I bet the faces you see in your hands are not the same faces that the people next to you see. Those are your people – God has put those people in your life so you can influence them for Jesus.”

 

That is probably a horrendously paraphrased version of something he presented beautifully, but you get the point. My sphere of influence is not the same as yours, and yours is not the same as your neighbor’s. God has given each of us a sphere of influence, and we can use that to leverage the work of Christ in & around us, every day.

 

This is a good time to make a brief point to all of us: we should always have friends that aren’t Christians

Different Routes

B4T is one way to create a new sphere of influence in a community. Across the world, there are coffee shops, textile producers, restaurants, CrossFit gyms, English teaching schools, soccer clubs, and many more B4T opportunities that are using their exposure to people to bring life & light from the Gospel into the lives of those they meet every day. 

Imagine the impact of placing the intentional heart of Jesus into a local coffee shop in a neighborhood that has never heard the Gospel or seen a love like His. The impact we can make by loving people far exceeds the impact we can make by getting people to church.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love church. I think it’s a huge part of life transformation and it is a Biblically mandated necessity for walking out the Christian life. However, it is not the only space in which we can love people, show them Jesus, and live out a life that exemplifies His intentionality for all people. B4T is one route to do so.

 

My Sphere

My sphere of influence is made up of the people that God has put around me – friends from Wisconsin that I play Xbox with on the weekends, my brother back home, and the friends I’ve had for years that I’ve known since before I was saved. None of them know Jesus. Those are some small examples of who God has put in my life to allow me to make an impact for His kingdom & glory.

While we all may not run a business, we can always run a display of God’s love for all people wherever we go. And that is the heart of B4T – transforming communities with God’s love by the power of the Spirit.

 

B4T: Transforming Lives Every Day

B4T is a phenomenal gear in the machine of the Great Command today. We are seeing lives, communities, and cities transformed by the small acts of love & generosity that people are doing every day in these settings.

 

When it comes to what you can do, whether you are a B4T practitioner or not, you have the unique sphere of influence that no one else has. There may be some small overlap between yourself and some other believers, but God gives the increase as we all sow & water the seed together. 

 

We are working for one goal: to advance the kingdom of God, and we are following one course: making disciples. However, the specific method in which we pursue those goals will look very different from person to person, workplace to workplace, and community to community.

We are called to be relational, intentional, and contextual to those we meet. We cannot have the luxury of using cookie-cutter methods in the postmodern West or the unreached East – these do not overlap. However, whether in our metropolitan workplace or our foreign mission field, we can see the light of the Gospel spread for God’s glory. Whether as a B4T practitioner serving coffee in India or as a janitor in an elementary school in California, we have the unique sphere of influence to reach people for Jesus and to spread the love of God to meet all people.

 

For more on how to find your story in the greater picture of God’s story, and how to live out the Great Command in your workplace, read Erik Cooper’s book Missional Marketplace.