We have over the years been schooled into an understating of Kingdom, which has brought its own challenges. Each of us comes from a reality into which we have been educated, instructed and worked, all of these paradigms groom our thinking. Many of us are still coming to terms with what we call “KINGDOM” the scriptures and the revelation of God regarding what we call the central message and only message of Jesus, The Kingdom of God is still unfolding. It would be dangerous to state I know it all, have it all, and be the fount of all knowledge, as there is the breath of God which is ready to unpack yet more.
Kingdom in itself is different to every other kind of teaching, it has a life in itself, it has within it, the voice and the message of the King. Teaching can be taught and returned to within a teaching cycle but this Kingdom message once introduced will allow the rule of the Father to flow into every area of function and practice. In essence once introduced it has a way of touching into areas not previously considered. We can talk about the rule of God and the implications of that manifesting in my finances but before we know it Kingdom is working and marriages come under scrutiny, parenting, relationships, etc….. The Kingdom of God seems to have a life of its own, the rule of God invades our lives at every level.
I would even go as far as to say that the Kingdom of God ‘deconstructs’ everything, practices, theology and functions to bring the rule of God to bear. Everything we do is deconstructed, but not in the way commonly accepted, deconstruction has had a negative connotation attached to it in some circles, but what we see is the Kingdom deconstructing in such a way that anything that is not representative of the Kingdom of God is challenged. The Spirit then works to bring about change to enable the Kingdom to flow. Therefore we should expect that how we live on Sundays, or Mondays to Fridays will all have to come in line with this Kingdom.
Jesus, John the Baptist, and the apostles went about proclaiming the kingdom–not the church (Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 10:7; Acts 28:30-31). The influence of the Kingdom is through out all creation, the rule of God holds all things together, within this rule we have the Church, Church and the Kingdom being one yet one word describes a called out people under the rule of God – Church and the term the rule of God over all and in all creation – Kingdom. So we then say ‘although the church is in the kingdom, it is not the entire kingdom”. When my children were very young there was a British children’s program called ‘Playschool‘ in the middle of the 30 min program they would be asked a question regarding the topic under focus “Which window shall we look through children?” was the question, a round open window, a square one, and a third shape were then all displayed. Through one of three windows a view of the world would be seen. Life surrounds it self with similar views, we choose to look at life’s issues and practices through our own reality windows, this is so plain to see regarding the understating we live by in regards to the Kingdom of God. That is, if you and I see through a Kingdom of God shaped window/reality we see the Kingdom and the Church as one, they are synonymous, one movement of God which cannot and must not be separated, are seeing through the Kingdom or the Church shaped window is the foundation of our world view, our perceive paradigms.
I have come across some folk who use the excuse, “well I am given to the kingdom” – meaning they want the liberty to be independent rather than live and understand the structures of the church, yet a Kingdom understanding makes the Church and Kingdom one in such a way that it cannot be separated, one being the product and the other continuing the proclamation etc. Then you have those who look only through a church window, a local church window and see a conflict between the two, the church and the Kingdom. Watchman Nee had an impact on some of the separation of Church and Kingdom, I would suggest that was unhelpful, as they are one and the same, the Church is in the Kingdom, but the Kingdom and the rule of God is greater. We must not see separation but see only one message, one Kingdom, one people of the Kingdom and one message proclaimed by the people.
So be careful and ask yourself the question, “what window am I looking through?”
“Kingdom” denotes the rule of God over the whole cosmos, not just one single entity here on the earth, like the church. In spite of this, most preaching today has as its goal, to get people to make a weekly two-hour commitment to come to a building on Sundays and give tithes to support that building! This is because a spirit of religion has captivated the church and blinded the minds, so that we now have a very limited church mindset, instead of a kingdom perspective. This has had a negative result and the Spirit is again addressing a change so that the Kingdom message can have its full and ultimate effect.
While considering this let me suggest the following contrasts between these two mindsets:
A kingdom mindset will release all saints/all people of God, the called out ecclesia, as ministers in the marketplace, empowering them to make a radical, foundational transformation in that community. A church mindset trains people to serve in its church structure, especially on a Sunday, Sundays are solely an implication of the chosen expression decided upon, in this format we work on getting worship teams, stewards, children’s and crèche workers, catchers, etc, etc, these may be necessary due to the choice of shape we have decided upon rather than being the true ‘works of service’ to our world and communities.
A Kingdom mindset will work and believe to create wealth, to transform a community and ultimately a nation. A church mindset motivates giving to build our own church programs.
A Kingdom mindset is a holistic approach that integrates the gospel with politics, economics, and public policy. A church mindset insulates the gospel from politics and public policy.
A Kingdom mindset will see the Bible as a blueprint, as a guide to structure every aspect of society that brings us to realize that everything in life is spiritual. A church mindset views the Bible merely as a book that enables us to escape the world, enter heaven, and be spiritual.
A Kingdom mindset enables the church to embrace and love their surroundings the un-churched communities. With a church mindset churches only embrace converted individuals within their faith communities, and see a big separation between the church and world, staying with a siege mentality and retaining their separation.
A Kingdom mindset will train people and prepare them for all of life. A church mindset trains people for church life and activity.
A Kingdom mindset nurtures leaders who are world changers and “culturally creative” who articulate truth to society. A church mindset nurtures leaders who speak religious language relevant only to church people.
A Kingdom mindset speaks of the rule of God over the entire created order. Church mindset speaks of the rule of God through church offices and gifts, deacons and elders over those in a church congregation.
A Kingdom mindset Ministries of God will release people to their vocational callings in the marketplace. A church mindset controls people by marginalizing their marketplace callings and emphasizing only their Sunday ministries, ministries within their structure.
A Kingdom immerses people into their world, that they become influencers at every level to their world, enabled to be effective in society and every walk of life. A church mindset involves a spirituality that separates from the natural world, it keeps us thinking of escape from a fallen world rather than be partakers of the Restoration of the Cosmos that God so loves.
A Kingdom mindset is a working toward a Restoration of a world where Christ fills all walks, all ways and the whole of creation. Those with a church mindset merely strive for a particular expression, stream, denomination, and structure of Christianity to be filled.
A Kingdom mindset churches equip 100% of the saints to fill up all things in every realm of life (Ephesians 4:10-12). Those with a church mindset have as their primary goal to equip the 2-3% of the congregation called to be full-time church pastors, ministers, and missionaries.
YOU have a Kingdom message, a Christ rule, to bring the ultimate intentions of God to bear on the whole of the cosmos “God so loves the cosmos (world) he gave” Kingdom is the giving, taking root and affecting the whole of life. I have written these to provoke further discussion, enable us to discover what God is still bringing to us in our understanding of the Kingdom, these thoughts are not conclusive stances necessarily they are listed to provoke debate so come and talk. Neither must I say are they statements made between any particular shape or model of church function (mega, simple, home, celebration, cell, the list is endless) it is an attempt to grapple and consider a biblical grasp of Kingdom and Church of our century.