Petros Network coined the phrase Redemptive Lift to describe the transformation we were witnessing after equipping and sending missionary church planters to share the Gospel in rural, unreached villages in East Africa.
Redemptive Lift includes three critical streams for holistic transformation — spiritual, social, and economic.
Redemptive Lift Started Small
Petros Network started small in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia. A few simple and imperfect men and women were equipped as missionary church planters and sent into rural villages to share the Good News of Jesus.  After a few months, we would return to the area to encourage the missionary church planters, train them some more, and send them out again.
Miracles, Healings, and Transformation
At each visit, their stories were remarkable. We would listen to testimonies of miracles, healings, deliverance from demon possession, the dead raised. Followed by stories of social and economic transformation in their villages as people lived out the Gospel. Husbands were staying with their wives or marrying only one wife. Switches used to whip the children into submission, were no longer present. Shops began to expand in the marketplace. Where there had been reports of uprisings, violent crimes, and horrendous cultural practices, leaders told us peace and prosperity were moving across the land. Furthermore, the church planters credited when the Good News of Jesus came to a village, everything in the community improved for the better.
A common saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats” became our truth in the villages. For instance, even non-Christians were lifted by the message and activities of redemption. The Gospel became the conduit of Redemptive Lift for all the people regardless of gender, tribe, or religion.
Missionary Church Planter = Transformational Leader
Missionary Church Planters slowly became respected leaders in the community. As they shared about obeying the commandments of Jesus, they also began leading movements of “good” in the community. As the impact of Redemptive Lift continued to soar, they became known as agents of change. Missionary Church Planter became synonymous with Transformational Community Leader.
Petros Network continued to equip these devoted missionary church planters, and faith communities began to multiply, becoming central to the spiritual, social, and economic lift of their villages. Missionary church planters didn’t set out to become social reformers; they just loved and cared for the people and directed them to Jesus. They led with a focus on restoring souls and discovered they were part of God’s divine plan for renewing the world.
Redemptive Lift Proven By Research
In 2012 Robert Woodberry published historical and statistical proof in the American Political Science Review, the discipline’s top journal. The article The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy brilliantly defended his thesis:
“The work of conversionary Protestants (missionary church planters) was the single largest impact in ensuring the social and economic health of nations. Furthermore, (They were the) “crucial catalyst, initiating the development and spread of religious liberty, mass education, mass printing, newspapers, voluntary organizations, and colonial reforms, creating the conditions that stabilized democracy.”</span
Since published, Woodberry has won four major awards, including the prestigious Luebbert Article Award for best article in comparative politics.
Missionaries, a Significant Presence for Change
A few years later, Christianity Today published The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries, summarizing and drawing attention to Woodberry’s research:
“Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.”
Missionaries didn’t set out to change history, but they did! Woodberry’s work undeniably supports the spiritual, social, and economic impact of the Gospel. And, the results of Petros Network’s primary mission, “Creating Redemptive Lift.”
Redemptive Lift in the Bible
In the Old Testament (Genesis 17), God made three promises with Abraham if he and his descendants obeyed God. He promised he would bless him with the promises of land, fruitfulness, and blessings unto the world. If Abraham obeyed God he would redeem him and lift him so that all the world could see and God could be glorified. Furthermore, this same theme is continued in the New Testament when Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10). In other words, there is a promised impact of the Gospel, a Redemptive Lift. Elmer Towns in the Practical Encyclopedia of Evangelism and Church Growth says it well,
“Redemptive Lift is a phenomenon that occurs when a person or group becomes Christian (follower of Jesus Christ) and thereby is lifted out of his (its) former environment and separated from it in social and economic respects.”</span
Redemptive Lift, the impact of the Gospel is God’s transformational solution for you and for the developing world.