The 7 Key Areas that Define Our Culture
“I believe that one of the next great moves of God is going to be through the Believers in the workplace.”—Billy Graham
Billy Graham made this statement in early 2000. But seeds of this began as early as 1975 when Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth with a Mission, both evangelism ministries to students, met for the very first time.
It just so happened that God spoke to each of these leaders that very week about the need to equip leaders in 7 key areas of business, government, arts and entertainment, media, education, family and the church. God said to these leaders, “These are the areas that most define the culture. You must raise up leaders in these areas if you expect to shift the culture.”
Some leaders call these gates “mind-molders” or “mountains” based on Isaiah 2:2: “And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” It does not matter what you call them. They are simply places of the greatest influence in culture.
Why Haven’t We Seen More Fruit?
So why haven’t we seen more fruit from this vision? That’s a good question. I believe the reason is twofold:
1) Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham sought to fulfill the vision by equipping young people who were missionaries living on support who had little ability to impact the culture beyond evangelism. They were raised up from the church mountain instead of the other six mountains where cultural influence is greatest.
2) A second reason I believe we have not seen greater fruit is men and women in the workplace did not see themselves as “marketplace missionaries” called to impact the culture through their vocations until the last 15 years. It was not until the late 90s that a move of God began in our nation and world that became a trumpet call to the spiritual calling through our work life. It was called the “faith at work” movement. Dr. Henry Blackaby, Peter Wagner, Billy Graham, Ed Silvoso and many other Christian leaders began to say, “I believe there is a move of God taking place in the workplace today.” Many of the most prominent workplace ministries birthed in the mid-90s.
During the late 90s and early 2000s, more and more conferences began to take place around work, calling and community transformation. Over 300 initiatives can be cited today that have birthed in communities with a goal of community transformation. Conferences on the seven cultural mountains were hosted by Lance Wallnau and me for several years in a row in the mid-2000s. Many other faith-at-work conferences were held around the nation. The Billy Graham organization invited me to consult with them about what they were seeing as a “move of God in the workplace in early 2000.” We co-hosted two conferences with the Billy Graham organization in 2004 and 2005.
Impacting the Cultural Mountains
During the last five years, we have been hearing more and more stories of Christian leaders making a difference in the seven cultural mountains. There are many Believers on the Fox Network representing Christ on the media mountain. There are many Christian voices in the mainstream media gaining greater influence. We are seeing more and more Christian-themed movies on the arts and entertainment mountain. There are many Believers operating on the government mountain in Washington, DC. Our current president is very influenced by Christians who are in or close to his administration. There are new initiatives taking place on the education mountain.
One initiative being launched on the education mountain is a curriculum based on the seven cultural mountains for Christian high schools. Another initiative involved the creation of a textbook on how the Bible has influenced culture that is being used in many schools in America and other nations. Pastors are beginning to understand the importance of equipping marketplace leaders to see their work as a calling. There is an entire organization that was birthed focused on this for pastors called “Made to Flourish”.
Adopting Intentional Strategy—Imagine What Christians Could Do!
The reason this move of God is so important is that men and women who operate in places of influence have the greatest ability to impact culture through their influence in these six areas. They often have access to financial resources and places of power needed to make significant impact. We have learned that it only takes 3-5 percent of a leadership operating at the top of a culture mountain to shift that mountain.
We have seen this in the gay rights movement, which is a big case study of this fact. This group represents less than 2 percent of our population. Yet, through a strategy to influence culture through the seven cultural mountains, they have shifted America’s mindset about this issue from being a moral issue to being a civil issue. Just imagine what Christians could do, given we represent more than 40 percent of the population in our nation, if we adopted an intentional strategy to impact culture.
There will be a major Culture Shapers Summit in Washington, DC in 2019 that is featuring over 40 top leaders who operate within the seven cultural mountains. This will be the most significant gathering of leaders focused on the seven cultural mountains in the last few years.
The army is gathering to prepare for the next great move of God.
Os Hillman owned and operated an ad agency from 1984-2001. His company won many prestigious awards from the Direct Marketing Industry such as the International Echo Award, Direct Marketing’s highest achievement for excellence in direct marketing for specific ad campaigns. He has spoken at Harvard University and was a visiting professor at Regent University for a season. Os also attended Calvary Chapel Bible School. Today Os Hillman is president of Marketplace Leaders and Aslan Group Publishing, and is involved in several entrepreneur ventures related to publishing and internet marketing. He is an author of 18 books, a speaker, a consultant and a recognized authority in the role that faith and ethics play in the marketplace. He is married to Pamela, and has one married daughter, Charis. He and his wife live in Cumming, Georgia.