Illumination: How Seth Godin Said The Best Thing About Ministry I’ve Heard For At Least The 100th Time

As I read the words, rays of light danced inside my head and then–boom! My heart sank into my gut. Like a trigger pulled back and then released, there was a click. It was as if the two hemispheres of my brain had collided for a mere millisecond and a light switch turned on in my spirit. What’s that called? Illumination.

It wasn’t the first time I had read similar words or heard this particular concept articulated but the arrangement of the words somehow lit up inside me as I read them. Are you ready? Here they are:

“You can’t change the world. But you can change five people. Why don’t you just change five people today? Because if you change five people today, you might be able to change six people tomorrow, and then you’re on your way–because most people change nobody. The way we change the world is with the smallest possible group. Change them. Repeat. You’re probably surrounded by people who say they are holier than you, or they’re more qualified than you or more authorized than you. But you don’t need a permit to change someone. You just need to care.” –Seth Godin, Excerpt from an interview with Relevant Magazine (

As I read these words, flashes of the varied encounters I have had with church politics raced through my soul. Church politics are a destructive dance to maintain a false sense that one person is more authorized than the other. It’s amazing how consumed we are with power, tradition and keeping up appearances while the world continues its steady course to hell and destruction. In other words, what Seth Godin’s words reiterated to me was this: You don’t need a title or the authorization of the Sanhedrin to change a life, witness to an unbeliever or mentor a young person in search of purpose. Jesus already authorized you.

He modeled how to change people, beginning with 12 men and a few dedicated women who had primarily been in the marketplace (outside of the religious system). In Matthew 28:18-20, he gave us the necessary authorization:

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (The Message Bible)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this passage of Scripture–hundreds of times, I’m sure. But it never range quite so clear until I considered them in the light of Seth Godin’s words. We don’t need any special privileges. We just need to care that people are dying and on their way to hell. I’m sure he didn’t intend to preach the great commission in his interview. But God used Godin's words and turned them into the best thing I’ve heard for at least the hundredth time. Can we just start with five people? Perhaps we can just start with one.

Lenita Reeves is an author, speaker, wife, mother of four children and is hooked on all things purpose. She spends her time interceding, writing, speaking, blogging and conducting seminars on discovering and maximizing purpose. Remember to subscribe to all her blog posts at and visit Amazon for information on her books.

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