The Seven Mountains

Perhaps you’ve heard talk about the “Seven Mountains”, or the “Seven Mountain Mandate, or “Seven Mountain Prophecy”. You may be wondering what this is all about. The idea is really quite simple: in our culture, there are Seven Mountains (think of them as “spheres” or simply “areas”) of influence, and the modern church is being called to build influence on each of those mountains.

7mountains

Courtesy of Reclaim7Mountains.com

Where did this teaching come from? Is it biblical?

If you’re looking for it in the Bible, you won’t find the “Seven Mountains”. So in that sense, it is not in the Bible.

However, Jesus did instruct us to be “salt” and “light”, and to go into all the world, and the New Testament is replete with admonitions that we are to influence the culture. And not, I might add, to be influenced by the culture.

In that sense, the “Seven Mountains teaching” is quite biblical indeed.

The first recorded reference to the Seven Mountains that I can find originates with Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade. In 1975, Bright was having lunch in Colorado with Loren Cunningham (who founded Youth with a Mission).

Both men had been given a dream by God, containing a message to give to the other. That message was about Seven Mountains of influence. Francis Schaeffer received a similar message from the Lord at about the same time. All three believed that in order for the church to impact the world for Jesus Christ, it would be necessary for us to influence the Seven Mountains of society.

This is a message of encouragement for those who don’t feel they are called to “full-time ministry”. Even that term-“full-time ministry”-is inaccurate, as it is clear from Scripture that every believer is a full-time minister, a royal priest in God’s Kingdom.

When we say “full-time ministry” what we mean is vocational ministry. Paid staff positions at churches, for example.

In 2009, I reduced my working hours to a part-time basis, and took the year to go to ministry school. I was so naïve, I did not realize at the time that my wife and I had consecrated our lives to the Lord for a year (nine months of class, followed by a three month trip around the US visiting family, revival hotspots like IHOP in Bethel, and ministering to people along the way).

That kind of consecration brings transformation.

When I started ministry school, I felt certain that God was leading me to shut down my business and become a pastor. But as I progressed through the school year, and especially after hearing the message of the Seven Mountains, I felt God was speaking to me, saying: “Ray, I have enough pastors in pulpits. What I need is ministers in the marketplace.”

I did not know what that looked like.  Was I supposed to put the fish symbol on the door to my office? Conduct a men’s group Bible study each week? Increase the amount of my ties from the business? Join a Christian business men’s group?

Sometimes it takes me a while to see the obvious. My wife and I had just spent nine months in intensive training where we learned how to live “naturally supernatural”. In other words, we had learned that God was not a category of activity in our lives, but rather he is the source and the central fabric of everything we do. If we face a problem in our family, our business, our health, or anywhere else, the first thing we do is seek the supernatural counsel of our Father in Heaven.

As I came back to the business world, I realized that it was impossible for me to deal with the questions of clients, the needs of my students, and the challenges they faced, without God. Seeking the supernatural in every area of my life was just… well… natural.

For me, and the people who seem to be attracted to what we’re doing, this is the only way. I don’t feel that we are called to “covert ministry”, where we simply try to be good people and hope someone will notice. The idea behind this sort of ministry seems to be, “let’s not offend anyone and maybe they’ll ask us why we’re so cool. Then we can tell them about Jesus.”

I can’t help but think  of what Jesus said in the gospel of Matthew: “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”

It’s clear to me: if my answer to making big decisions in business is to seek the wisdom of God first, I cannot advise my consulting clients to do anything different.

I should mention at this point, not all of my clients are Christians. Some of them, I’m sure, find my beliefs quite amusing. But they continue to seek my business counsel. And while I don’t make a secret of what I believe, who I follow, or where I get wisdom, I don’t require clients to believe the same things I do.

This approach to business has given me a unique position of influence with many people. I find the combination of loving people, not judging them, and sharing with them the good news that God is for them, attracts even nonbelievers to your side. We shouldn’t be surprised; it worked that way for Jesus. He didn’t hang out with churchy people. He hung out with the people the churchy people held in contempt. Jesus loved people into the Kingdom.

It’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance.

Which brings me back, albeit somewhat circuitously, to the Seven Mountains. Whichever “mountain” you are called to, or find yourself on currently, that’s a place where you can bring the Kingdom of God. You can be a light on a hill.

You don’t have to become a pastor, or join a religious order, or be ordained. You have already been ordained by God himself as a royal priest, and you have been given the authority to administer the Kingdom wherever you go.

And just what is this Kingdom we are administering? When Jesus walked the face of the earth as a human being, wherever he went he healed the sick, released people from demonic oppression, and then he told them, “The Kingdom of God has come near you today.” Elsewhere in Scripture, we are told that the Kingdom consists of righteousness, peace, and the joy in the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Paul made tents. Peter was a fisherman, as were James and John. Matthew was a tax collector. Cornelius worked in government. Each was a key influential leader in the church, yet none were vocationally in the “full-time ministry”. They all did their Kingdom work in the Seven Mountains.

It seems like a good idea for you and I to do the same.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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19 thoughts on “The Seven Mountains

  1. Ray,
    Great post. I admire your blend of “ministry” into your business. We just had a group of people here for our Coaching with Excellence conference and the questions about doing ministry and still having a profitable business were endless. I love talking with people about that. Thanks for being so forthright about where you stand – and for sharing the Seven Mountains history.

    • Thanks Dan. I’ve learned a lot from your podcast and books on this subject. Sounds like I need to get to Nashville for a Coaching with Excellence conference!

  2. Ray,
    Great observation of “covert ministry”. It really is boiled down to not wanting to offend people so one day maybe there might just be a tiny possibility they will ask you why you’re so cool. The only problem with that kind of ministry is you lose your cool points to moment you mention Jesus. Bummer…

    In my opinion, if God has called you to the business sphere, you have a very special opportunity. This sphere is special, much like being a talented athlete. It affords a lot of influence and people are willing to “put up” with your spiritual views. (think of how many people buy John Maxwell’s books that do not believe in Jesus). One could really leverage their business talent to influence a wide array of people for the Kingdom of God…if only they were willing to lose a few cool points.

  3. Ray… you really do communicate this line of thinking very well. A couple of years ago I tallied up how many people I’ve led to the Lord by speaking in businesses and how many in churches and the amazing thing… I’ve prayed with more people in business than I have in churches. Maybe it’s because I’m not the best preacher? 🙂 but I think honestly I’m going where people are hungry.

    Using spiritual gifts in the marketplace is our unfair advantage. When people ask about my marketing strategy it involves prayer, commissioning angels, and hearing from God. Going into these mountains, learning the language of their mountain, and influencing the kings of these mountains has been like walking on water for me! How fun is it to really partner with God and see the kingdom grow!

  4. Hi Ray… I have been to a teaching session led by Lance WalInau in the past, and was doing some additional searches on this ‘7 Mountains’ subject when I came across your article here. First let me say that I agree with you at the heart of the matter that we as Christians are called to be useful to God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ in whatever sphere, mountain, or even valley that we find ourselves in. However, you are incorrect in stating that the Bible doesn’t speak of the “7 Mountains.” In fact these are mentioned in Revelation 17:9 as the great prostitute’s seat. They indeed are prophetic symbols of power and influence in this world, as they are also used to symbolize earthly kings in history, and in time to come in verse 10, all astride the beast in John’s prophetic vision. In such, as a Christian, and pastor, I am very hesitant to ascribe the “7 Mountains” teaching itself as to be from God for Christians to take and receive to heart for a couple of reasons. First is that it gives an unbiblical impression that the coming Kingdom of God is in some way dependent upon man’s action, imperfect men/women at that, more so than God’s ordained action that will unquestionably bring His kingdom forth in all its fullness one day. Secondly, being that the prostitute is considered to symbolize false religion, and is shown to be seated over these prophetic symbols of power attached to the beast’s influence, I would say this should certainly peek our “wise” discernment of any religious teaching that would encourage God’s people to climb into that seat of illusionary power no matter how fine-sounding or plausible it may appear (Col 2:4). Finally, we are provided a role, but that role is not in gaining the world, but in being useful to God in gaining disciples for His promised kingdom, and considering such, in light of Jesus’ words at Matt 7:13-14, the “7 Mountains” teaching sounds more in-line with wide gate theology that will draw a crowd hungry for power and influence they can justify through Jesus, rather than with the teachings of Scripture that will lead those few through the narrow gate that are ultimately hungry for Jesus alone. Blessings in Christ.

    • Bryan, I share your sentiment on this. We are called to go and make disciples, to bring people into the Kingdom of God, which is His way of doing things (not ours). I believe that we can make a difference in this world, but we were never told to go and change the world through our efforts but preach the message of the cross. As you know, the people of Jesus day thought the Messiah was going to come in and overthrow the Roman government and establish His rule on the earth, but Jesus said His government is not of this world. Jesus never went to Pilate (or the earthly government) in an attempt to make the world better for the Jewish people. He wanted to deal with the heart of the Jewish people, but He was rejected. Is Jesus being rejected again today because we want to somehow change the world to fit what we want; when Jesus wants something totally different? Thanks for your post.

    • Bryan.
      I agree with you to a degree, that the 7 mountains are not mentioned in scripture. I like the concept, because the Kingdom’s of this world have become the Kingdom’s of our Lord and of His Christ, Rev 11. Yet there is a hesitancy for me because I felt there is something missing from the teaching, something so foundational, that if not taught from a proper foundation cannot stand no matter how good our intentions are. So I am now getting ready to write on this, and hope sometime in the not too much longer will be able to do so.
      The ideas that came our of the work of Loren Cunningham, and Bill Bright in this area, came out of a spirit of excellence to impact the world, but sometimes we are only given part of the picture, then Father brings along someone that can add to it.
      It is like the teaching on prosperity, which is good and biblical, providing it is not wrenched out context of the purpose, and that being the expansion of the Covenant/Kingdom.
      The teaching on the 7 mountains in Revelation are also so perverted that we make all sorts of false theories, because so many claim that the city is Rome, but forget that Jerusalem, that apostate city, also has 7 mountains, Rome was never in covenant/married to God and therefore could not be a whore in the biblical sense, which is a woman who is married that prostitutes herself. Jerusalem was which is why there must of necessity a New Jerusalem, which Abraham saw, whose builder and maker is God.

  5. Ray, you are exactly right, all are in ministry. A few years ago I was speaking in a large church which I visit when I am in the area, and am given the freedom by the pastor to be active in the service, usually if he does not have a guest speaker he will ask me to do so. That night when I was asked to get up and speak, I asked the question, ‘how many here tonight are in the ministry’ a bout three hands went up. I asked again, and a few more were raised because they have gotten used to me, and if I ask a second time they seem to catch a challenge.
    I then said, did you know that you are all called to the ministry, and by the way, your Pastor isn’t. Seeing the looks that some had, I said your pastor is not called to the ministry, he is called to the ‘equipper’ service, to train each of you for the ministry.
    When I was a younger pastor, I said to a very successful businessman, brother have you thought of going into the ministry, to which I had a check in my spirit, He already is! From that time my focus has been about equipping people for their Kingdom assignment.
    In fact I told the church I was serving as an interim pastor in VA, in one of my Sunday teachings. “I do not have a vision for this church” getting some shocked looks I clarified it by saying I am here to equip you to fulfil your vision”, as five families were in business, which was a large group in that small church, I also said If we have special services at anytime I expect you to be about your Fathers business, but if you are free we want you to be part of it. In other words for me it was far more important that they be faithful stewards of their God given business, rather than just filling a pew in ‘church’.

  6. Appreciate this article. Not wanting to be a part of another closed group, realizing we are called to be light , knowing that light shines best and is better appreciated in the darkness, this article has encouraged me.

  7. Excellent prose about the presence of God @nd his power to use the Church in such a powerful strategy to be fully equipped to serve the Lord for his glory…

    When I was first exposed and introduced to the 7 mountain strategy it was a shocking reality and a refreshing confirmation of what God had been speaking to me about for years while being a business woman and feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit on my heart saying he wanted me to influence the environment around me and wanted to use me boldly in the marketplace as many if my counterparts were keeping their relationship with Christ a secret so-to-speak.

    The ministry of Christ our Lord and Savior was smack dab in the center of the market place ministering, preaching, praying and healing lives. And it was there also in the marketplace totally open faced where he was crucified…so why wouldn’t we believers desire to do as he did. Ministry happens in the walls if the church no doubt, but aren’t we to take what we learn and use it as God uses us as tools to build his kindgdom in every aspect of life? We must pray for any and everyone who doesnt catch this vision so that they too can yield to the power of the Holy Spirit to be used of God’s might to infiltrate the utter most parts of the world. I can clearly see how Satan would want to keep Christians from this knowledge…we must not just learn to influence but to acknowlege that our election is sure so they we all can influence for good in the earth.

  8. Dear Ray

    Thank you so much for such a succinct explanation of the seven mountains.

    If I read Revelation 17:9, and I contextualize it with the preceding 8 verses, I do think this is the seven mountains being talked about.

    Blessings
    Barend

  9. Exodus 19:6
    and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

    Deuteronomy 28:13
    The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

    Revelation 5:10
    You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

  10. I dont know why it has taken me long to appreciate/realize what am doing at my workplace. Now i know better and i can be able to defend that we must influence wherever we are even though we are not pastors

    Thank you so much for enlightening me and God bless you

  11. Thanks for your insights!

    We’re just starting a series about the seven mountains of society. I wanted to learn more about it so I can find my role in it all.

    You did a great job here. It clear and easy to understand. I feel informed. I pray you continue to shine and influence in your sphere of calling — for the glory of God. 🙂

    Thanks again!