Church & Culture
Want To Make A Difference? Forget What’s Popular And Work The Fringes
When it comes to impact, the more popular something is, the less likely you are to make a difference in it.

No one has ever made a bigger impact on the world than Jesus.

You don’t even need to be a Christian to see the obvious truth in that statement.

Because of this, I’m convinced that it’s in the DNA of Jesus’ followers to want to make a difference, too.

It’s also in the Great Commandment and Great Commission. Wanting to make a difference is embedded in the heart of every disciple.

But how do we do that? With so many competing voices, so many areas of need, so many ways to approach this, how do we clear away the clutter and find an area of need where we can truly make a difference?

We need to go narrow, not wide. To the edges, not the center. Work the fringes, not the mainstream.

Impact Is Not In The Mainstream

If everything you love is in the mainstream of the culture around you, it’s very unlikely that you’ll have much impact upon it.

If everything you love is in the mainstream of the culture around you, it’s very unlikely that you’ll have much impact upon it.

We have enough self-esteem books. We’re overwhelmed with church growth ideas. We don’t need any more personality tests. We need something else. And you might be the one to help us find it.

Instead of trying to get in on the action of what’s hot right now, find something you love that’s on the fringes. Something important that no one else (or very few) are paying much attention to, then shine a big, bright light on it.

This is where impact comes from.

It’s not that you can’t like things that a lot of other people like. If you’re an MCU movie fan, that’s fine. Keep liking it. But don’t let that define you.

Find Impact On The Fringes

Even within Christianity, if the believers around you all love one style of music or one type of church service, feel free to enjoy it and be blessed by it.

But look to the fringes for impact.

Find a forgotten corner of need, of worship, of leadership, or of ministry, and fall in love with the people in it. Then learn as much as you can about them, work as hard as possible with them, make them the focus of your prayer life.

You can have a huge impact if you focus on a forgotten, but important corner of ministry rather than being just one more voice speaking from the mainstream to the mainstream.

From Your Healing To Their Pain

But here’s the key – you can’t do it just to take advantage of an overlooked market segment. It has to be something that you truly have passion for. Something you love. People who matter to you. Something that breaks your heart.

Find the hurting, the forgotten, the disenfranchised, the neglected.

How? By looking into your own areas of hurt, betrayal and pain.

If you’ve been hurt there, others have been hurt there.

If you’ve found healing from it, others can find healing from it. And you can help them find that healing. You can have impact. You can be used by Jesus to make a real difference.

Your pain can help heal others.

From Your Pain To Their Healing

When it comes to impact, the more popular something is, the less likely you are to make a difference in it.

The more forgotten it is, the more likely you are to make a significant difference.

The more something has hurt you, the more likely it is that Jesus will use it to help others through you.

The more something has hurt you, the more likely it is that Jesus will use it to help others through you.

If you truly want your life to have an influence and impact for the kingdom of God, don’t entertain the masses, heal the hurting.

Go to the neglected, not the marketable.

To the narrow, not the wide.

To the deep, not the shallow.

Lean into the painful, not the popular.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

April 04, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Join in the conversation about this post on Facebook.

Recent Posts
Include results from Christianity Today

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters

More Newsletters ...