TARGET SPHERE MISSIOLOGY: Mission targeting the seven spheres of societal influence
Target Sphere missiology discusses missionary transformation of societal structures. By 1975, the focus by Apostolic Reformation and Pentecostal Churches in America shifted to an alternative missiological paradigm of targeting what was designated as the *“seven spheres”* or agencies/structures of the society *(faith, family, education, government, business, media, and entertainment).* These are called the Seven Spheres/Pillars/“Mountains” of Society often associated with Isa 2:2-3/Mic 4:1-2).
But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
This alternative target sphere approach arose when it was realized that in the modern world setting, these Seven Spheres exert powerful influence on every person in every society and culture. Loren Cunningham of “Youth With A Mission” (YWAM – a worldwide missionary movement founded in 1960 to train and send missionaries worldwide), was the first to begin the Seven Spheres approach to missiology in 1975 as pillars on which the Church should target her mission in order to take over the cities through social transformation.
The strategy here is that Christians in every sphere would not merely see themselves as people only blending in to make a living, but engage with targeted mission to make a difference toward godly transformative impact against all odds – through proficiency, integrity, humaneness and resourcefulness. Reality is that crookery and freakery, avarice and vice, vileness and violence are the order of the day in every facet of life today, so the Church member who is also a Christian citizen owes the society a divine duty to bring on the light and salt influence of best practices and recommend best practice alternatives (sublimely inspired by heavenly wisdom) to societal problem solving.
Nevertheless, this modern alternative approach which complements the older missiology often seems to rather seek for activist *invasion* with innovative strategic methods to *take-over* the society by targeted sphere *domination* – which has not yet had enough time to have much success with the Church. The older Church had rather sought for ethical *infiltration* with the divine Truth of the Gospel as light and salt (Mat 5:13-16) to *make-over* the society by Church Planting and *reformation* – which has had some success in the past until the Church began her backsliding. One caveat in missiology is to watch against unbiblical conversion and syncretic methods of contextualization which would turn out to be counterproductive.
Whereas the Church has not had much success with the recent target sphere missiological approach, it has been borrowed by New Agers and Postmodernists who have applied this idea with much legalization activism and cancel-culture propaganda to counter the Church’s influence which has bandwagoned the world into today’s postmodern paganism. It is important to notice the subtle difference between the earlier process missiological approach of evangelistic proclamation for societal make-over, and the recent target sphere missiological approach of activist invasion for societal take-over. In a pluralistic society a make-over approach would be more conversational and harmonizing, while a take-over approach would appear more confrontational and polarizing which requires more sensitive strategic responsiveness to ameliorate.
I. U. Ibeme