An Overview of the 7 Cultural Mountains

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We are called because we have encountered Him. We are called because we love. We are called because we serve. In whatever field or mountain you find yourself, seek God’s will in everything you do.

The idea of “The 7 Cultural Mountains”, or “The 7 Mountain Mandate" has gotten a lot of attention in the Christian community in recent years. Whether you call them “mountains”, “channels”, “spheres”, or “mind-molders”, it is clear that this idea is not just a trend, and is here to stay. 

Every concerned Christian who wants to be used by God and desires His will, true love, and power to be manifest in all the earth wants to know the best and most effective way to serve Him during our limited lifespan. Many in the world have been burned by the stigma of Christianity, and believe that we are nothing more than a political action group trying to push our agenda, instead of being better known for the love, care, integrity, and selfless servant-hood that our Savior Jesus modeled. The 7 Mountain Mandate gives us a framework to live out what Jesus said when he came to reclaim “that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

In 1975, a man named Gilman Hill, who was a businessman and avid financial supporter of Youth with a Mission (YWAM) felt led to introduce the founder, Loren Cunningham, and Bill Bright, the Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. In 1975, Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham met for lunch.  Loren Cunningham had something burning in his heart that he felt he must share with his friend Bill. The day before, the Lord had given Loren a picture of culture, divided up into 7 spheres—Religion, Arts & Entertainment, Business, Government, Education, Media, and the Family. 

"As we came in and greeted each other, {we were friends for quite a while}, and I was reaching for my yellow paper that I had written on the day before. And he said, ‘Loren, I want to show you what God has shown me!’ And it was virtually the same list that God had given me the day before. Three weeks later, my wife Darlene had seen Dr. Francis Schaeffer on TV and he had the same list! And so I realized that this was for the body of Christ. 

Loren went on to describe the revelation he received from God the day before:

And I said, "These are the areas that you can go into as missionaries. Here they are: First, it’s the institution set up by God first, the family. After the family was church, or the people of God. The third was the area of school, or education. The fourth was media, public communication, in all forms, printed and electronic. The fifth was what I call celebration, the arts, entertainment, and sports, where you celebrate within a culture. The sixth would be the whole area of the economy, which starts with innovations in science and technology, productivity, sales, and service. The whole area we often call it business but we leave out sometimes the scientific part, which actually raises the wealth of the world. Anything new, like making sand into chips for a microchip, that increases wealth in the world. And then of course prediction sales and service helps to spread the wealth.  And so the last was the area of government. Now government, the Bible shows in Isaiah 33 verse 22 that there are three branches of government, so it’s all of the three branches: Judicial, Legislative, and Executive. And then there are subgroups under all of those seven groups. And there are literally thousands upon thousands of sub-groups. But those seven can be considered like Caleb: ‘Give me this mountain,’ and they can be a ‘mountain’ to achieve for God. Or they can be a classroom that you’re going to disciple a nation in. Because Jesus said, ‘Go and disciple all nations. ’And it also can affect us because in those areas we can be changed, transformed by the Holy Spirit to be effective missionaries into the area that God has called us into, and we will see it as not just a job to get money to stay alive, but ‘as the Father sent Me, so send I you,’ Jesus said.

Of course, both of these men have had a significant impact in the world around them in living out their faith in their lives, raising up young leaders in the field of ministry.  

But, where did the ball get dropped? Our generation is the most self-seeking, unchristian generation ever. Our morals are weak. As a whole, we tend to live by emotion, not by principles. George Barna, who began the Christian research group Barna Group, says: 

"We are witnessing the development and acceptance of a new moral code in America. Mosaics (the generation born after 1983) have had little exposure to traditional moral teaching and limited accountability for such behavior. The moral code began to disintegrate when the generation before them—the Baby Busters— (those born between the years of 1965 and 1983) pushed the limits that had been challenged by their parents—the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964). The result is that without much fanfare or visible leadership, the U.S. has created a moral system based on convenience, feelings, and selfishness.

Mosaics are nine times more likely than were Boomers to engage in sex outside of marriage (38% vs. 4%) The younger generation (those under age 25) “is more than twice as likely as all other adults to engage in behaviors considered morally inappropriate by traditional standards.”   

What do we have to do to raise up a generation of passionate, principled Christ-seekers, in media, in entertainment, in business, and in government?

First we have to realize that our lives are not our own. Our lives are not just God’s for two hours on a Sunday, or 10% of our gross income; our lives are His 24-7. There is no divide between our work and our calling. Our work is our calling. Our lives are our calling. Everything we do is worship to Him. Our lives are a reflection of His love and redemption—as we continue to allow Him to do his shaping work in our lives. “To whom much is given, much is required.” Our worldview must match that of the Bible.

Second, we need to ask ourselves whether or not our faith is truly authentic. Are we hearing from God on a regular basis? Are we fellowshipping with other believers? Do we make worship and tithing a regular practice? Are we willing to be mentored, or to learn the “paths” of Christ through someone more spiritually mature and seasoned than us? Are we willing to take risks, influenced by His leading and trustworthy leaders around us? Most often our pride gets in the way of being truly used by Him. But Jesus’ model is that of discipleship. If we are going to disciple nations, the culture, even our own communities, we need to be willing to be discipled ourselves.  

The higher you go up a “mountain”, the more intense it becomes. We need to make sure our foundations are solid and secure, especially in the area of family root systems, in order to ensure we are not taken out by the enemy’s schemes. (1 Peter 5:8)  Living off emotions versus proven practice of principles will ensure our witness will not endure, and prove our root systems shallow.  Many leaders discovered the integrity they began with was not strong enough to keep them on the top of a cultural mountain and were taken out through moral failure.

Finally, how are we different from non-believers? Why would anyone who is not a Christian want to be like us? Do we have a life worth emulating? If we do not have the fruits of peace, joy, and love in our lives, why would people want to be around us? Leadership is influence. The truth is anyone can be a nice person. Anyone can walk in integrity. But, what is our mark of distinction? It is His presence. God’s presence enables us to have influence. His presence gives us favor; it goes before us. Moses said to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15) Moses knew He needed God’s presence to exercise His authority. Those God calls into leadership have the mark of His presence. His presence is the foundation for miracles. It means we have devoted ourselves to a life of integrity and of seeking after Him. If God is not in it, it is man’s manufactured works. His presence gives credibility, but we must also be credible in our field too. We must be excellent. If we are not credible, we lose our Christian witness. It’s as simple as that. Joseph was a Hebrew. He had a Hebrew’s heart. He was circumcised: a mark of his covenant with God Almighty. But, he ate, looked, and talked like an Egyptian. He learned the culture. However, he did not compromise his morals. This is how he was able to remain at the top, and even re-promoted after he was wrongly accused.  

In summary, the 7 Cultural Mountains is a personal journal of encountering Christ in a real, and tangible way every day. It then extends to every aspect of our lives, with whomever we encounter. We are called because we have encountered Him. We are called because we love. We are called because we serve. In whatever field or mountain you find yourself, seek God’s will in everything you do. His desire is for us to excel. He desire is for us to be influencers. But discipleship must happen in our hearts before we can disciple the world around us. People will begin to listen when our love and credibility precedes our message. Reclaiming the 7 Mountains is about manifesting the true love, nature, and character of Jesus in every place in society by living with Him everyday.

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