I’m often involved in conversations around the globe discussing whether we should be focused on building the church or on building the Kingdom. I have built the work that we at the Proton Foundation been involved in the last few years on the premise that we should be Kingdom-focused. So, earlier in the year I was speaking at the Activate Churches ChurchplantingSchool in Hamilton, New Zealand, and a good friend of mine was there too. Nick Klinkinberg is a strategic thinker, leader and all-round good man and has been involved in church planting in Europe and New Zealand for many years. We had conversations during the school, and then he sent me some notes afterwards, which I’d like to share a little with you.
The big question that is on every Christian’s mind is how do I live out this faith in Jesus, and that question is underpinned by the notion of being either Kingdom-centric or Church-centric.
In this day and age, there is so much injustice, inequality, poverty, greed, and selfishness. This can affect us in a number of ways, in creating disappointment and disillusionment as to why God has left the world in this state, or at a personal level, we may struggle with that disappointment and the feeling that God has left us alone. The daily grind can bear down on your soul. In this context, we can find ourselves settling for focusing on the church, and only the church and our lives become consumed with all things church, but one day, when we step back from it all and consider what we’ve built. We find ourselves staring at the four brick walls of a Christian ghetto. We think about who Jesus was and what he talked about, and we wonder how on earth we lost the plot. How could we come so far away from his intention for us?
In that moment, it is critical that we face these questions head on as the answers will release us into a new space and the ability to walk, maybe run into our destiny.
It is in this space, that we must ask two questions – Did Jesus come so that we could build the church or so we can build His Kingdom, and is it possible to do both, if so, how?
Nick and I agree that this is not an either/or. We are not diminishing the place of the church; she is the beautiful bride that Jesus is returning for. But what we need to do is realise that we can spend our lives focusing on building the church, that we never build the Kingdom. But in building the Kingdom, we ultimately build the church. It is the best of both worlds. Jesus also makes in clear when he speaks about the Kingdom about 80 times in scripture, but only mentions the church twice. There is something there that we should consider.
Here are some things to think about being Kingdom-centric:
- It breathes a mission and multiplication culture into your spiritual community.
- it is not only for eternity, but the goal is to bring the Kingdom to the world around us today in ways that are meaningful and real.
- It is being involved in a process of redemption, as the road to salvation is a journey.
- It empowers and enables every person to be involved in God’s work in the world, whatever his or her sphere of influence is.
- It means that you will “be” the church wherever you are, and it doesn’t require you to be in a “church”.
- You are able to lead and equip others without the need of any title or position with a church.
- It opens up the world to enable bi-vocational church planters and leaders. You are no longer limited to be a “pastor” or “evangelist”. Those two things merge and it becomes a kingdom lifestyle.
- It is community focused and unlimited.
- It is life giving and it has the potential to unlock and unleash incredible blessing on a city and nation.
This journey for me has taken me to many nations and communities, some days it is heart breaking as you meet beautiful people in destitute poverty, but on other days when I sit with my team, or passionate leaders in the different spheres of society, who are making huge strides to make a difference in the world, it is absolutely inspiring and exhilarating.
So as you think about your life and your community, remember that God’s Kingdom is limitless and you are well able to do all the things that God has placed in your heart.
Remember, the unlimited Kingdom is waiting for you.