A Christian Perspective:
The Covid-19 Impact on the Seven Mountains of Influence in America
Since the coronavirus (Covid-19), I have spent time praying and meditating on its impact, specifically on the seven mountains of influence in America. This essay expresses my personal commentary.
Below is an excerpt from Dick Eastman’s book, A Watchman’s Guide to Praying God’s Promises:
“In the mid-1970s God drew two visionary leaders together for a luncheon meeting in Colorado. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission were those men. As they came together each felt the Lord was revealing an important strategy necessary for impacting nations and cultures in such a manner as to initiate true transformation of a society. Little did they know they both had received the same insights. Indeed, a few weeks later in Switzerland, theologian Francis Schaeffer was to receive the identical revelation. The message was simple but profound: To impact all of a culture, people, or nation with the totality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, every major sphere of influence had to be impacted. More specifically, this involved seven clearly defined spheres, or as some have come to define them, the Seven Mountains of Influence. 
The Seven (7) Mountains of Influence are:
1) Religion (The Church, Ministries, and Other Faiths)
2) Family and Marriages (Youth, Children, Marriages, etc.)
3) Education (All schools, Universities, Colleges, and Educators)
4) Business (The Marketplace)
5) Government (Local, National, and International)
6) Media (The Press, Television, Internet, and Social Networking)
7) Arts and Entertainment (Including Sports)
With the spread of COVID-19, here are the questions: How is COVID-19 impacting these seven mountains of influence? Can the Gospel of Jesus Christ impact a culture, people, and a nation to initiate true spiritual transformation?
First, before addressing the above questions, it is important to note that this global pandemic should remind us of our connection as human beings. There is no discrimination. However, the CDC notes disparities with the coronavirus (COVID-19):
Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. The term “racial and ethnic minority groups” includes people of color with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. But some experiences are common to many people within these groups, and social determinants of health have historically prevented them from having fair opportunities for economic, physical, and emotional health.
There is increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Inequities in the social determinants of health, such as poverty and healthcare access, affecting these groups are interrelated and influence a wide range of health and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. 
Although there are disparities, no one is exempt from the virus. If you are a human being, you are vulnerable to this viral disease. Unfortunately, the denial of our human connectedness results in the marginalization of certain groups. These are the evils that plague the Western world. However, tumultuous challenges and difficulties caused by natural disaster should remind Christians especially of the Holy Scripture:
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. (Acts 17: 26-27)
Since the body of Christ (Church of Jesus Christ) is Christ's representative in the earth, impacting the culture, people and nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ should be of utmost importance. Now that we are in a pandemic that has directly or indirectly affected each of the above major spheres of influence in the world, how can we make a positive impact?
Let's consider each of the 7 Mountains of Influence
Religion (The Church, Ministries, and Other Faiths). CDC guidelines placed restrictions on gathering for worship services in centralized locations and buildings. This was a drastic change for parishioners and congregants accustomed to traditional meetings. Since the spiritual climate in America has spiraled downward in recent years, perhaps it was easy to consider gathering non-essential. From a spiritual perspective Covid-19 brought awareness to the need for revival and unwavering faith in the Sovereign Lord. Local churches launched digital campaigns and began using social media platforms to remain engaged with parishioners and reach the masses. Before the pandemic virtual services may have been viewed by some as nonessential. Nevertheless, their online services attracted and reached more nonchurchgoers and unbelievers than before. The digital door was opened for harvest.
Can the religious community regain the influence it had at one time in our nation? Can this pandemic cause a spiritual reawakening? Sure. 2 Chronicles 7:14 was activated as Christians began praying more fervently. In general, worldwide prayer meetings were posted on social media. People were desperate for hope and answers during this health crisis. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the power and authority to influence the culture, people, and nations with the totality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A spiritual awakening is the direct, positive impact Covid-19 can have on this mountain of influence.
As the prophet Isaiah declared, “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.” (Isaiah 61:1-2) Family and Marriages (Youth, Children, Marriages, etc.). Ever since the Fall of Man the institution of marriage recorded in the Book of Genesis, the family has been Satan’s target. Sadly, cultural influences and worldly pleasures disdain the sanctity of marriage and devalue wholesome family relationships. According to Ephesians 5:25-33 marriage symbolizes the spiritual relationship between Christ and His Church (universal body of believers). Unfortunately, broken promises, estranged relationships, emotional instability and separation because of irreconcilable differences plague families and marriages. Nevertheless, there is hope for reconciliation, restoration and rebuilding the family structure to reflect the glorious mystery God purposed from the beginning. What had become the abnormal can be transformed into a new normal as family members spend more time together interacting with one another and enjoying family time with the children that have been starving for attention, feeling isolated, misunderstood, and unloved. Although Covid-19's impact on the family unit has caused an increase in domestic violence, ministries and faith-based organizations are working to provide healing and hope. Can the sanctity of marriage and blessings of family in this society be restored? Do you believe in the ministry and word of reconciliation according to 2 Corinthians 5:12-20? From God’s perspective, yes! Just as He asked Jeremiah, “Is there anything too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27). We must not underestimate the power of praying the promises of God and believing His Word.
Education (All schools, Universities, Colleges, and Educators). Education is defined as one of the mountains of influence. Indeed, it is! However, the questions are how has it influenced our communities? Is the education of our children a priority? Are they being protected? Are their lives sacred? Should active shooter drills be the norm instead of focusing on their education?
The increase of school shootings in America is unprecedented. Since 2009, at least 177 of America’s schools experienced a shooting. These tragedies are as diverse as our nation, but the depth of trauma is hard to convey. There is no standard definition for what qualifies as a school shooting in the US. Nor is there a universally accepted database. So, CNN built our own. We examined 10 years of shootings on K-12 campuses and found two sobering truths: School shootings are increasing, and no type of community is spared. Sadly, reports of educators having inappropriate relationships with students is on the rise. The place where children go to gain knowledge and skills to matriculate in life are facing the harsh realities of living in a lawless society.
Of course, we cannot forget the educators and administrators who are committed to the call to teach and sacrifice for the welfare of our children. I personally know educators and principals that realize they have been placed on campuses to serve as God’s representatives. Can this COVID-19 reverse the negative influence we are experiencing in the educational system? Now that schools, colleges/universities are closed parents are facing the truth and hopefully learning to appreciate committed educators. And we pray that everyone involved in the learning process of students nationwide will take time to evaluate the importance of being chosen to lead and shape the lives of children and youth.
Prayerfully, during this time of uncertainty, everyone involved in institutions of learning will expand their influence. Whether in virtual settings or on campus, may they have a renewed sense of purpose and resolve to make a difference by investing into the life of students. In addition, while the children are out of school, I pray that whenever they return to campuses they will commit to applying themselves wholeheartedly. Hopefully, their remembrance of the disappointment of cancelled graduations and proms will be a point of reference that pushes them forward rather than hold them captive psychologically. Hopefully, both parents and educators will be awakened to the importance of making sure children are priority because they are gifts from God. “Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Business (The Marketplace). COVID-19 has affected large and small, businesses, companies, and organizations. The faith that is often placed in the security of the economy is shaken. Many have been laid off and referred to as non-essential jobs, which has spiked unemployment as a resource to meet basic needs. COVID-19 caused panic on Wall Street as fear gripped the major financiers. The game players and shakers in the nation’s economic system scrambled to secure their investments. Giant corporations and businesses reeled as stock markets plummeted. COVID-19 reminded us that this mountain of influence can become a nation’s idol (Psalm 115:4) when its economic system is structured to boast national strength to the world. Man-made systems are not exempt from facing the reality of this truth, that everything belongs to God! “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1, Psalms 24, Ps. 50:10, Haggai 2:8). I find it hypocritical that on U. S. currency and coins says, “In God We Trust.” My prayer is after this pandemic is over, Business (The Marketplace) will be a mountain of influence that trust God as the Source of all resources and will vow to do justly and apply integral principles in business practices.
Government (Local, National, and International). The influential apex of a culture or society is the governing authority of that city, state or nation. It is indeed a mountain of influence that can change the trajectory of that city, state, or nation. That means the culture, the principles and values change based on the intentional influence of its government. Since COVID-19 interrupted the “normalcy” of life, we see the impact on government worldwide, specifically in the United States of America. The devastation of this invisible enemy resulted in global lockdowns that left some in positions of authority unprepared to handle the crisis. When the intentional influence of a government is politically motivated, truth is often ignored or suppressed. Unfortunately, what is meant to protect the people is perceived as a political move in a high stakes game rather than a plan to save lives that are endangered because the government’s perception is distorted by partisanship. How can this pandemic change the outlook on government and all who hold leadership positions on all levels? Is it ironic that the pandemic intrudes in the democratic process of the United States—election year? Coronavirus succeeded in placing American citizens in the middle of a political battle waged by partisanship against citizens’ right to vote! Idealistically, COVID-19 could change the perspective of governing leaders if they submit to the sovereign God of the Bible, His wisdom, and the understanding that they are His servants according to Romans 13:1-5. Therefore, intercession is essential for all aspects of government, and all who serve in positions of authority, law enforcement, firefighters, and civil servants.
Media (The Press, Television, Internet, and Social Networking). If I were ranking these national influencers, the media would be at the top. There are pros and cons with the Media, which includes the press, television, internet, and social media platforms. And I might add, there is no shortage of social media platforms. Unfortunately, many believe what they see and read as the truth, regardless if it is from a credible source or not. While the Media is necessary, it can also be a negative influence when there is bias, and the content is demoralizing and numbs the senses of the sanctity of human life. We live in a culture where opinions rule and fact-finding is frowned upon. How can this pandemic have a positive impact on this mountain of influence in this new era? For sure, the quarantine/shelter-in-place and social distancing worldwide has resulted in much more time devoted to the media. That alone can either impact positively or negatively depending on the content. At the same time, since religious gatherings and traditional church services are now via social media, Internet and social platforms, there could be a spiritual awakening that results in a digital harvest. Could it be the strategy the Lord revealed in the mid-1970’s for a global revolution? It was a simple but profound message to impact all of a culture, people, or nation with the totality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, every major sphere of influence had to be impacted. Think about it! NOW the media is the primary means for broadcasting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bible study and prayer services are reaching the masses via social media platforms thanks to COVID-19.
Kyle Idleman’s RightNow Media® teaching, “Redeem the Screen” is a thought-provoking presentation for Christians. He raises the questions concerning our motives for using our screens. What kind of power do we give to our screen? Are we using our screens to help with our calling, or does our screen distract from our calling?
This pandemic gives us the opportunity to reevaluate the impact our devices (screens) have on our culture, our calling and our Christian principles and moral values. I recall this passage Apostle Paul wrote about Jesus in Colossians 1;15-17, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
Arts and Entertainment (Including Sports) –Next in rank would be the arts and entertainment industry, which includes sports. In Western culture, the arts and entertainment and sports are the driving forces. However, it may be said that these major influencers are experiencing the greatest financial impact based on this article: Nationally, financial losses to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations are an estimated $5.5 billion as of May 18, 2020. They also have lost 210 million admissions due to cancelled events, resulting in a $6.7 billion loss in event-related spending by audiences at local businesses (restaurants, lodging, retail). The economic impact of these losses is $2.0 billion in lost government revenue and 348,000 jobs no longer being supported. Findings are based on 11,500 survey responses.
· 95% cancelled events.
· 67% expect this crisis to have a “severe” impact on their organization.
· 30% reduced artistic workforce.
· 24% reduced staff (40% are “likely” to reduce staff).
· 10% are “not confident” that they will survive the COVID-19 pandemic (a potential loss of 12,000 organizations).
In addition, sports leagues and federations across the world have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak by suspending seasons and canceling play. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed and rescheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021. Wimbledon has been canceled. So has the Little League World Series. All major North American sports leagues, including MLB, the NBA, MLS, and the NHL have suspended the playing of games as the virus spreads around the world. The NCAA canceled March Madness, and many other major events, including the Masters, the French Open and the Boston Marathon, have been postponed. The British Open has been canceled.
The arts, entertainment and sports industries and events are America’s celebrated pastimes. Not only has the athletes been impacted, the die-hard fans have also. Can there be a new norm in the sports industry, arts, and entertainment after this pandemic? Of course, if the Christian influencers in these arenas seize the opportunity to positively influence the many boys and girls needing role models. The need to refocus, rethink, and redefine their purpose and position can have a moral impact and set a standard for the industry that draws attention to a culture that is losing the moral fiber in this society.
Despite the challenges, I am confident that all hope is not lost! I passionately believe that, for the Church of Jesus Christ, this is an Isaiah sixty-one era. Although we have experienced great loss in our personal lives—death, pain, grief, and sorrow, we can expect restoration, reconciliation, and revelation when the body of Christ speak truth to power, stand firmly on biblical principles and live according to the moral standards mandated by the God whom we profess to be in relationship with.
In the midst of a pandemic, we have the greatest opportunity to impact all of a culture, people, or nation with the totality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that every major sphere of influence is impacted to advance the Kingdom of God.
 Eastman 2012, 2015